Uisce Éireann fined €5,000 for pollution that killed fish in the River Liffey

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) took the case against Uisce Éireann.

UISCE ÉIREANN – IRELAND’S national water utility – has been fined €5,000 for polluting the River Liffey at a water treatment plant in Kildare.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) took the case against Uisce Éireann for polluting the Liffey at its water treatment plant in Ballymore Eustace.

According to a statement from IFI, Uisce Éireann pleaded guilty to the charges and was fined €5,000 and ordered to pay an additional €5,500 in costs and expenses.

The conviction was secured on 3 July of this year under Section 171 of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959, for allowing deleterious matter to enter the River Liffey main channel upstream of Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare.

The pollution dates back to June of last year. 

Commenting on the case, Brian Beckett, Eastern River Basin District Director at IFI said “point-source pollution events” such as the one that occurred were “entirely avoidable through good on-site management, regular visual checks, and monitoring of discharge points”.

“Effluent discharges can significantly impact fish populations and other aquatic life of receiving waters,” he said.

“River Liffey fish populations, comprising several fish species, are under significant ecological pressure.

Despite this pressure, the River Liffey remains one of only a handful of European capital cities through which a self-sustaining population of Atlantic salmon migrate.

Beckett said that the fines from Uisce Éireann will now be invested in water quality and habitat improvements in the River Liffey catchment area.

IFI is currently working on a number of initiatives in the River Liffey catchment with regulatory and non-regulatory stakeholders with a view to maximising the sustainability of all fish (including Atlantic salmon) and their habitat.

A spokesperson for Uisce Éireann said that the utility was made aware of the discharge from the Water Treatment Plant into the Liffey on 16 June of last year.

“Uisce Éireann immediately informed Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) who investigated the matter,” the spokesperson said.

“Sodium hypochlorite, which is commonly used to treat drinking water during the treatment process, was inadvertently released into the river Liffey following the completion of maintenance works at the treatment plant.

“The volume discharged was 71m³ and there was no impact on drinking water nor any risk to public health, however, the incident did impact approximately 10 fish including brown trout, minnow and crayfish.

Uisce Éireann regrets the incident and has implemented a number of measures to prevent this incident reoccurring.
IFI is the State’s environmental agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and managing Ireland’s inland fisheries and sea angling resources.

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