Notice served as Council identify source of fish kill

Tests have revealed that the cause of hundreds of fish dying in Kilminchy lake in Portlaoise on July 13 was silage effluent.

Tests have revealed that the cause of hundreds of fish dying in Kilminchy lake in Portlaoise on July 13 was silage effluent.

Laois County Council have served a legal notice on the unnamed person responsible to prevent another spillage, and will consider court action if it happens again.

“The fish kill was not caused by slurry but by silage effluent. The source of pollution was identified by Laois County Council staff on Friday July 17. The discharge was stopped on that day,” Director of Services Kieran Kehoe stated last Wednesday, July 29.

A Section 12 notice under the Local Government (Water Pollution) Act was served on the person responsible, requiring them to take measures to prevent a reoccurrence.

“The Council will monitor progress and may take further enforcement action if necessary,” Mr Kehoe said.

County Hall hired a contractor to remove the dead fish from the lakes.

“A separate contractor has been engaged to remove old oil booms and other assorted waste from the entry of the stream to the lake,” Mr Kehoe added.

Follow-up monitoring of the surface water drainage system has confirmed that the discharge has ceased.

Chairman of Kilminchy Management Company John Cowhig is satisfied that the council are “taking the matter seriously” and have “dealt with it swiftly”.

However he underlines the need for future safeguards and an inventory of all sources of water going into the lakes.

“It doesn’t mean something else can’t happen. I welcome a planned environment awareness campaign to all businesses who have surface water going into the lakes, and ongoing tests,” he said.

Sileage effluent is the liquid produced when a crop is harvested green and stored. It is corrosive and deadly to fish, with strict rules on storage.

Polluters can be fined up to €5,000 or imprisonment for up to three months, may pay for costs of clean-ups, and be penalized in farming grants.