County Council fined €100 for discharge into River Camlin

Longford County Council offices with the Camlin River in the foreground. Photo: Michelle Ghee.
Longford County Council received a fine of €100 for a pollution event that resulted in a fish kill on the River Camlin.

Longford County Council received a fine of €100 for a pollution event that resulted in a fish kill on the River Camlin.

The local authority will also have to pay expenses of €4,907 incurred by the Environment Protection Agency to bring the prosecution.

The local authority were before the District Court responding to a case by the EPA in respect of an unauthorised discharge into the River Camlin on September 20 last.

The Council faced four charges stemming from the release of sewage into the water course that resulted in six kilometres of the river being polluted.

Solicitor for the prosecution, Barry Doyle, told Judge Hughes that 2,000 fish, mostly pike roach, eels and crayfish, were killed in the incident that was aggravated by the low water. Solicitor for the Council, Frank Gearty, said that the local authority had put their hands up immediately adding that it was an accident that they ‘deeply regret’.

Mr Doyle described the pollution as ‘an avoidable accident’ that arose front he failure of a pump system.

Keelan Reynolds, and inspector with the EPA, said that the discharge occurred when a collection network that holds raw sewage overflowed into a storm water retention tank.

Mr Gearty said that it was unclear what caused the pump to malfunction, but that it was speculated that rags got into the system, which ultimately resulted in the overflow getting into the River Camlin.

The solicitor said that since the incident, an alarm system has been put in place to prevent a re-occurrence.

Mr Doyle told the court that the pump failure happened on a Saturday afternoon, but the system was not reset until the following Monday.

Mr Gearty said that a conviction is a black mark on the record of the council and that they had now addressed all the matters that were presented by the incident. He went on to say that the council are involved in a scheme to re-stock the river.

Mr Doyle told Judge Hughes that the cost to bring the matter to court was €4,907. Judge Hughes said that the local authority had acted responsibly and as there were no egregious negligence, he would impose a fine of €100 along with the costs.