‘Grey discharge’ left River Foyle ‘grossly polluted,’ Court told

Scales of Justice
Scales of Justice

Donegal County Council has been fined for polluting the River Foyle at Lifford in 2011.

The case brought by the Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Light Commission heard the treatment site at Lifford that caused the leak of pollution is in need of a multimillion euro upgrade.

Prosecution solicitor Kathleen Maloney said the charge related to the discharge of waste water in Lifford on October 26, 2011.

A Loughs Agency Fisheries officer attended the scene and observed a “grey discharge” from a pipe situated near Lifford bridge.

A biochemical oxygen demand sample returned a reading of 155 milligrams per litre while a “suspended solids” reading was 133 milligrams per litre.

Normally for a healthy river the reading would be under 5 milligrams per litre of water the court heard and this discharge left that section of the river “grossly polluted”.

The Council have twelve previous convictions for similar offences on water ways around the county.

Defence solicitor Patrick McMullin said the council has now made measures to improve the situation including installing an “automatic screener” to deal with the suspended solids and they are also shipping material to the Letterkenny plant regularly for treatment as the Lifford plant needs to be upgraded.

Judge Paul Kelly asked if there was a time scale for such works to be carried out. Mr McMullin stated Killybegs and Bundoran were listed as the next plants to be upgraded.

Judge Kelly said there was a “certain peculiarity” for one agency of the State to take action against another, adding there was a “level of unreality in the penalties in cases like this”.

He fined them €1,000 with costs of €2,059.11.