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Thousands of fish killed by farmers’ river pollution

TWO FARMS have been fined over £4,000 between them for a pollution incident that killed thousands of fish in the Tempo River last year. 
The Elliott farm at Carrowkeel Road, Carrowkeel, which belongs to Samuel Elliott (78), and the Rivercool Farm on the Cornafonnoge Road, Collnagrane, which belongs to John Armstrong (80), both accepted responsibility for the polluting the waterway. Solicitors for each farm entered guilty pleas on their behalf at Enniskillen Magistrates Court last Wednesday. 
On July 27th, 2018 the Envionrment Agency received a report of pollution and dead fish in the Tempo River, near the Belfast Road at Maguiresbridge. The agency sent out an inspector who followed the dead fish a few miles upstream where he found strong smelling effluent coming from near the Elliott farm. 
The samples from the Elliott farm were taken on a Friday evening, and the inspector then returned to the Fermanagh the following Monday, July 30th, when he discovered sewage fungus on the river bed, about 300m from the Drumlone Bridge. About 400m upstream he found another source of strong smelling discharge, this time coming from a storm pipe at the Rivercool farm. 
Samples taken on both dates showed the discharge from both farms was toxic and poisonous to fish, however the court was told the readings at the readings at the Rivercool farm were higher than at the Elliott farm. 
Both farms accepted they had polluted the river. However, there was a question over which was responsible for the fish kill. The court was told compensation for replacing the fish, which will be over £6,400, will be covered by the farms’ insurance companies, who will also determine who is liable to pay and how much.
In total over 1,300 trout died as well as hundreds of course fish. 
Solicitor James Cooper told the court his client, Mr Elliott, had not noticed that a sileage tank had overflowed on his 140 acre farm and had recitified the situation immediately, and there has been no pollution since. 
Solicitor Gary Black, representing Mr Armstrong’s Rivercool farm, said there had been works carried out on the farm and, unknown to his client, effluent was seeping from a tank into a cracked pipe. 
District Judge Steven Keown said it was the importance of protecting the health of our rivers could not be overstated. He fined Elliott Farm £1,500 and Rivercool Farm £3,000. 
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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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