KILKENNY County Council was fined €2,000 plus expenses and legal costs at a District Court sitting in relation to the pollution of a woman’s fish pond in Slieverue last year.
A report by Inland Fisheries Ireland, on foot of a complaint on August 29 last from a resident at Kilmurray near Gyles Quay, Slieverue in Co Kilkenny, confirmed that brown and rainbow trout in a pond there had been dying over a number of days before the report.
Judge David Kennedy was told at Waterford District Court on Friday morning that the local authority has two previous convictions in relation to similar issues in south Kilkenny.
Solicitor for Inland Fisheries Ireland Peter Reilly told Judge Kennedy that the local authority was guilty of two previous charges related to “discharge” at Clonassy in Mullinavat in the court in 1999 and at Callan in 2000.
Kilkenny Co County pleaded guilty to a charge of “permitting or causing deleterious matter to fall into waters at the townland of Kilmurray on August 29th 2010” contrary to Section 171 (1) of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959 as amended.
Senior fisheries officer with Inland Fisheries Ireland at Clonmel, Patrick Kilfeather, on Friday told Judge Kennedy that “the lady concerned was very distressed” because of the death of the fish due to sewage in a stream that killed fish in her pond.
An investigation discovered that sewage had been entering a tributary adjacent to an old and disused rail line, about 1.3 kilometres upstream of the pond, said Mr Kilfeather.
Analysis at the site of the leak revealed that the water feeding the stream had sewage contaminants.
Mr Kilfeather contacted Kilkenny Co Council, “who responded immediately” and met with him at the site of a “totally overgrown manhole cover” on August 30.
The local authority took “immediate steps” to block the sewer line and dealt with the overflow, said Mr Kilfeather.
However, the woman who made the complaint was “very distressed by the loss of the fish she had bought from our fish farm in Roscrea”, he said.
The local authority had agreed to finance the restocking of the woman’s pond, carried out the necessary repairs and cleaned out the fish pond using vacuum tankers, it emerged.
Solicitor for Kilkenny Co Council Matthew Malone told Judge Kennedy that the problem arose because an additional manhole cover had been installed at the location. It was thought that this was the old manhole cover and was maintained and cleared, while the actual old one was not serviced. Judge Kennedy fined the local authority €2,000 plus €1,853 in expenses, along with €2,158 in legal costs. He said that the local authority had “done what was in its power” to recompense the owners and to rectify the problem.