County council fined for polluting Tinahely river
WICKLOW County Council has been fined €350 and ordered to pay over €1,500 in costs after being convicted of allowing improperly treated sewage into a river in Tinahely last September.
A case against the council was taken at Wicklow District Court this week by the Eastern Regional Fisheries Board as a result of inspections carried out at the river in Tinahely on September 29 of 2001.
The council pleaded guilty to one breach of the 1959 Fish Act.
Donnchadh Byrne, Fisheries Environmental Officer with the Eastern Regional Fisheries Board, told the court on Tuesday that when he visited the river on the date in question, there was a turgid discharge going into the water while there was sewage fungus growing on the riverbed, some distance downstream from the local sewage treatment plant.
The samples taken at the plant and downstream all indicated higher than acceptable levels of suspended solids and BOD while the upstream sample was satisfactory.
The discharge coming from the plant would be damaging to fish life, the officer confirmed, although no fish kill was reported on this occasion.
Frank McGovern, acting senior executive engineer with Wicklow County Council explained that a new treatment plant was in place but wasn’t yet running at high enough standards.
Judge Donnchadh O Buachalla heard that the maximum fine for such a breach of the act was €1,270. He imposed a €350 fine and also instructed the council to pay the fisheries’ board expenses of €1,072 and legal costs of €500.