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Donegal County Council investigating fish kill

DONEGAL County Council says it is investigating a fish kill following a pollution incident near St Johnston.

The local authority said it responded to a complaint from a member of the public in the St Johnston area late yesterday afternoon. They reported the presence of what appeared to be cattle slurry in a stream known as the St Johnston Burn, as it passed through the village.

Council staff from the Water and Environment Service working in collaboration with Fisheries Officers from the Lough’s Agency carried out an extensive investigation in the catchment and were successful in tracing the source of the polluting matter to a farm approximately 8km upstream of the village, where the release of an unknown quantity of slurry had occurred the previous day.

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The Lough’s Agency Fisheries Officers have confirmed that a significant quantity of dead juvenile fish have been found in the lower section of the Burn as it discharges into the River Foyle.

“The Lough’s Agency and Donegal County Council will continue to work closely to monitor the discharge point source and water-course over the coming days and weeks and pursue enforcement action as appropriate,” a council spokesperson said.

“This incident has highlighted the importance for farmers and contractors to take extreme care to avoid the discharge of slurry and contaminated water into water-courses, during what is a very busy time for them, and to immediately report any accidental discharges to the council and either the Lough’s Agency or Inland Fisheries Ireland. The importance of early and effective intervention by the farmer / contractor and state agencies can help to reduce the impact of such discharges on the fish population and the environment in general.

“Donegal County Council is not in a position to add any further comment at this point in time,” they added.

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