A Co. Tyrone farmer has been fined a total of £1,515 after a sewage tank on his farm overflowed into a nearby river.

Keith Russell (54) of Camderry Road, Dromore, Co. Tyrone pleaded guilty to the offence and was fined £1,500 plus £15 offenders levy at Omagh Magistrates’ Court.

The court was told that on November 9, 2020 a Water Quality Inspectors (WQI) acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) responded to a report of pollution in a tributary of the Owenreagh River.

The inspectors observed extensive sewage fungus across the bed of the stream. They continued upstream to a farm on the Camderry Road.

A tank on the farm was discovered to be overflowing with farm effluent which was flowing over an adjacent field and into the waterway.

In accordance with procedures a tripartite statutory sample of the active discharge was collected and analysed and found to contain poisonous, noxious, or polluting matter which was potentially harmful to fish life in the receiving waterway.

Effluents of this nature enrich fungus coverage on the bed of the watercourse which may lead to the destruction of fish spawning sites, as well as starving river invertebrates, on which fish feed, of oxygen.