The Loughs Agency says black oily sludge dumped by fuel launderers next to the River Ness last week ran straight into the waterway endangering young fish.
A spokesperson for the Agency said: “On Thursday, May 21, 2015 the Loughs Agency received an anonymous phone call regarding numerous Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) having been dumped on the banks of the upper River Ness.
“Upon attending the scene, Lough Agency Fishery Officer’s discovered eight 1000 litre IBCs three quarters filled with black oily sludge and what appeared to be laundered fuel.
“Quite a few of the IBCs appeared to have burst when they were dumped, this oil and sludge mixture then ran straight into the River Ness.
“Given that this dumping was located in the upper of the River Ness, there was a significant risk to juvenile fish and aquatic life so Fishery Officers acted quickly installing booms and absorbing pads in trenches to stem the flow of the leaking fuel into the river. Fish were observed actively avoiding the polluted areas.
“The incident was passed on to Northern Ireland Environment Agency and the Environmental Crime Unit. This is a very serious incident and if anybody has seen a vehicle with these IBCs driving around the Baranailt Road area, please do not hesitate to contact the Loughs Agency investigating officer on 07736374134.”
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan described the dumping of the toxic waste as totally irresponsible.
He said: “I have been keeping a very close eye on developments here. As soon as we became aware of the incident, NIEA acted immediately. Our contractors are on site to provide additional containment of the oily waste to ensure the river is protected.”