Irish Water offered chance to avoid criminal charge after pleading guilty to polluting a stream in Co Louth

The pollution was caused by a malfunction at a sewage treatment

Irish Water offered chance to avoid criminal charge after pleading guilty to polluting a stream in Co Louth

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Irish Water has pleaded guilty to polluting a stream in Co Louth after some discharge from a sewage treatment plant caused the water to turn grey, as the result of a malfunction at the plant.

A court was told that the offence normally carries a maximum fine of €5,000 but a judge ordered the company to donate €2,000 to charity in order to avoid a criminal charge. 

Irish Water was prosecuted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to ensure sewage waste from a water treatment plant at Tinure in Co Louth did not cause pollution.

The Irish Examiner reports that an EPA inspector told the court that the grey-white discharge went into a tributary on the White River in June of last year.

The inspector added that he could see sewage fungus in the water, which is normally a sign of pollution.

Assessments of water samples taken from the tributary determined that they contained high levels of biochemical oxygen demand, meaning there was less oxygen available for plant and water life. There was also a high rate of ammonia present on the day, a substance which can poison the fish.

The incident did not cause any environmental damage and no fish were killed. The water's normal health was restored two weeks later.

The case was adjourned until May 5 and the judge said that he would strike out the case if the donation to charity was completed by then.