A Dungiven farmer pleaded guilty and was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay a £15 Offenders Levy, when he appeared before Limavady Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, charged with pollution.
Before the court was Paul O’Kane, of Gortnagross Road, Dungiven. Co Londonderry, who was fined on a charge of making a polluting discharge into a waterway.
The court heard that on 26 June, 2014, water quality inspectors, acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, inspected the Gelvin River adjacent to the Gelvin Road.
They found that the bed of the waterway was covered in a grey fungal growth.
The polluting discharge was traced to farm premises on the Gortnagross Road owned by Paul O’Kane.
The Inspectors observed farm effluent flowing through a storm manhole on the farm. A dye test confirmed the effluent made its way to the waterway. The Inspector estimated that 750 metres of the waterway was impacted by this discharge.
The Gelvin River is in an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI).
The polluted watercourse is a tributary of the River Roe which supports a population of Atlantic salmon which are of international importance.
A sample taken at the time of the incident confirmed that the discharge contained poisonous, noxious or polluting matter which was potentially harmful to fish life in the receiving waterway.
A Department of the Environment spokesman said pollution incidents can be reported using the Water Pollution Hotline on 0800807060.