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Loughrea Firm Convicted Over Cavan Fish Kill

13th July 2016
Loughrea Firm Convicted Over Cavan Fish Kill

#FishKill - A Loughrea business was convicted over pollution discharge into the Laragh River in Co Cavan, causing a major fish kill between 12-14 August last year.

In addition to the fine of €4,000, Glan Agua was directed to pay legal costs and expenses to Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) to a total of €63,352.94 including €59,262.94 towards appropriate mitigation measures.

Glan Agua was prosecuted by IFI following investigations into a fish kill on the Laragh River after the discharge of chorine from Knockataggert drinking water treatment plant.

At a sitting of the District Court held at Cavan Courthouse on Thursday 23 June, Judge Denis McLoughlin heard evidence from Ailish Keane, senior fisheries environmental officer with IFI, that IFI carried out detailed investigations on the Laragh River over a number of days after a tip-off from the public.

It was established that more than 3,000 fish – including brown trout, minnow, stone loach, eel and stickleback – had been killed over a distance of 6km from a surface water outfall at the Clifferna Bridge to just below Drumgur Bridge.

Giving details of sampling and analysis undertaken, Keane confirmed the discharge from the surface water pipeline to the Laragh River was characterised by seriously elevated levels of sodium hypochlorite, otherwise known as chlorine.

Keane said that on the morning of 13 August, she visited the Knockataggert drinking water treatment plant at Clifferna, Co Cavan. She noted that there was a serious fish kill and that there had been a chorine on the premises that had subsequently discharged into a surface water pipe that later flows directly into the Laragh River.

On instruction, staff from Glan Agua immediately completed the clean-up of the discharge and prevented all remaining effluent residues from entering the watercourse. Glan Agua staff were found to be fully co-operative at all times during the investigation.

The legal representative for Glan Agua, who told Judge Mcloughlin their client pleaded guilty in the matter, noted his client’s pristine record prior to this incident. He said that a director of the company was present in court and the employee who presided over the plant on the date the incident took place had been severely reprimanded.

Extensive evidence was given by Keane regarding the extent of investigations undertaken as a result of this significant pollution incident. The court was told it would take years for the river to regenerate itself to the condition it was in previous to the incident. Judge McLoughlin stated he could not stress the seriousness of the situation enough prior to handing down the sentence.

IFI has a confidential hotline number to enable members of the general public to report incidents – 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24. This phone line is designed to encourage the reporting of incidents of illegal fishing, water pollution and invasive species.

Published in Inland Waterways
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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