Water Service pollutes salmon river

Builders working at Water Service's Fofanny Dam were responsible for a pollution incident in the Shimna River, Co. Down, on Friday 22 October.

The contractors broke through a pipe while carrying out upgrading work at the Mournes reservoir which released building sediment into the river.

An independent Environmental Protection Agency would not tolerate Water Service's Crown immunity from prosecution.

Local anglers are concerned the sediment could have a detrimental effect on salmon and trout spawning beds. Eggs and fry are very sensitive to this type of pollution.

This is the second time this year that work at the water treatment works has resulted in the Shimna River being polluted. A similar incident occurred in March. Anglers claim the cumulative effect of these incidents could be particularly damaging.

Lisa Fagan, Campaigner said:

"This latest incident illustrates the urgent need for effective protection for Northern Ireland's environment. An independent Environmental Protection Agency would challenge Water Service's Crown immunity from prosecution. Unfortunately for Northern Ireland, Environment and Heritage Service officials have a cosy gentleman's agreement with their civil service colleagues in Water Service and choose to do nothing."