Northern Ireland Water (NIW) pleaded guilty and was fined £1,000 plus court costs of £22 for breaching the conditions of a discharge consent at Lisburn Magistrates' Court today.
The Consent related to the operation of Hillsborough Waste Water Treatment Works (WWTW).
On 28 May 2012, a Water Quality Inspector, acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, inspected an unnamed tributary of the River Lagan at Culcavy Road, Hillsborough, and found the water to be grey in colour and clearly polluted.
Partially treated sewage was found to be discharging from the storm tanks at the Hillsborough WWTW, which is operated by NIWL, and entering the affected waterway. The discharge was being made in dry weather, contrary to the conditions of a Water (NI) Order 1999 ‘consent to discharge’ issued in respect of the site.
Notes to editors:
1. NIW was charged under Article 7 (6) of the Water (Northern Ireland) Order 1999 with the offence of breaching the conditions of a discharge consent.
2. NIW holds a consent to discharge under the Water (Northern Ireland) Order 1999 which permits discharges to be made from the WWTW to the waterway under specific conditions.
3. In this case, the inlet to the storm tanks had become blocked with material introduced to the system by an unknown third party, which caused the effluent levels to rise; however, a discharge to the waterway is only consented in conditions of heavy rainfall and/or snow melt.