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Pollution Thought to have Caused Major Northern Ireland Fish Kill

28 July 2014

NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - There has been a major fish kill in Bessbrook river, County Armagh which has been assessed as being of ‘High Severity’.

A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) said: “Yesterday afternoon (24 July) the NIEA (Northern Ireland Environment Agency) received a report of pollution in the Bessbrook River, Co. Armagh."

An NIEA Water Quality Inspector immediately visited the area to investigate the report and determine the environmental impact. The Inspector confirmed that the river was severely impacted with farm effluent, and his investigation identified the source of the pollution and ensured that it was immediately stopped.

“Further investigation revealed a fish kill had occurred. Statutory samples have been collected with a view to pursuing appropriate enforcement action, once the investigation is complete.

“An initial count by Loughs Agency Officers revealed approximately 60 dead fish of a variety of species. Poor visibility in the water is hindering an accurate count; however the number of fatalities is expected to rise as the water clears.”

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said: "I am concerned about this. I will be monitoring developments here closely along with NIEA officials.”

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