Slurry suspected in Kilminchy fish kill

Agricultural slurry is now suspected as the reason for a major fish kill in the lake at the centre of Portlaoise’s biggest housing estate.

Agricultural slurry is now suspected as the reason for a major fish kill in the lake at the centre of Portlaoise’s biggest housing estate.

Last Friday July 17, Laois County Council officials were still working to trace the trail of what they suspect to be agricultural slurry.

The pollution is coming from the direction of the Dublin road underground pipes into the lake.

“We are currently carrying out tests in order to ascertain the source,” said Kieran Kehoe, Director of Services for infrastructure.

If laboratory tests do prove slurry is the cause, and it is traced back to a pollutor, the council will seek to prosecute.

Two weeks ago over 150 roach, stickleback and pike suddenly died in the lake.

Kilminchy resident and director of Kilminchy Management Company John Cowhig investigated the source of the pollution.

On discovering a strong smell of slurry at the inlet pipe last Thursday July 16, he alerted the council. Mr Cowhig claimed that he found evidence that slurry entered the lake via the surface waste water pipe network outside the Kilminchy estate. He said he could could clearly smell slurry from a manhole at the junction of the Heathfield Estate and the Dublin Road.

“Stopping any more coming in is a priority, but prosecution should take place as far as I’m concerned,” Mr Cowhig said.

He alerted the council and was concerned that with more rainfall predicted last weekend, more slurry would be washed downstream to the lake.

He is frustrated at what he says is the latest episode pollution of the lakes, which are the responsibility of Laois County Council, who also originally approved planning permission for them.

“This is ongoing. I want them to get back to me as I’m the one making the complaints but no one does,” Mr Cowhig said.

In 2008 oil and diesel were repeatedly leaked into the lake, costing €100,000 of public money to clean up.

The deaths were initially blamed on the design of the three lakes, which the Inland Fisheries Service said and were too shallow and “never designed with fish in mind”, but to catch surface water to prevent flooding in the 750 house estate.