Pollution traced to Crossmaglen Treatment Works

March 23, 2010

by Brónagh Murphy

Northern Ireland Water Ltd (NI Water) has been found guilty of polluting offences from its treatment works at Carran Hill, Crossmaglen.

The company was fined £3,000 plus £31 court costs at Newry Magistrates’ Court last week.

On 28 July 2008, a Water Quality Inspector, acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, (formerly the Environment and Heritage Service) observed a discharge from a pipe to a tributary of Lough Ross at a bridge on Carran Road, Crossmaglen.

The discharge appeared very cloudy and had the appearance of containing effluent from a drinking water plant.  The visual impact on the receiving waterway was described as ‘significant’. The source of the polluting discharge was traced to Carran Hill Water Treatment Works.

This is the first case where a Water Treatment Works has caused pollution.


The results of the analysis indicated that the discharge contained suspended solids more than nine times the level permitted.  It also contained poisonous, noxious and polluting matter which would have been potentially harmful to fish life in the receiving waterway.

The receiving watercourse is a tributary of Lough Ross, which is the drinking water abstraction source for the South Armagh area.

NI Water was convicted of making a polluting discharge and for making a discharge to a waterway in contravention of the Department’s consent conditions. It was fined £1,500 for polluting a waterway and £1,500 for exceeding the conditions of their discharge consent, plus costs.