Farmer’s shock at finding raw sewage bubbling onto field

Donaghcloney farmer Kyle Savage in the field which has been covered in sewage
Donaghcloney farmer Kyle Savage in the field which has been covered in sewage

A Donaghcloney farmer who discovered raw sewage bubbled up into his fields yesterday morning (Saturday, 14th) has said the scene was like something from a third world country.

Kyle Savage made the shocking discovery when he visited the outfarm early yesterday morning.

A nearby sheugh is gray with human waste

A nearby sheugh is gray with human waste

He said the human waste, which appeared to be coming from a blockage on the main Donaghcloney to Waringstown sewage pipe, had affected a couple of acres of grass.

He feels part of the blame for the incident lies with an overloaded infrastructure system which simply can’t cope with the increased level of housing development in the area.

“Basically the system can’t take the amount of development that is approved and I believe the department needs to be taken to task,” he said.

“This is just pure sewage and it is like a scene for a third world country.

Some of the sludge in the field

Some of the sludge in the field

“Yesterday (Friday) I had been due to move 18 maiden heifers from the higher part of the outfarm to this lower part to graze and I just didn’t get round to. Thank goodness that I didn’t because this could have been a complete disaster if those heifers had been grazing in this field.

“A similar blockage took place three or four years ago and I was told by NI Water that they would look into it, but that hasn’t happened,” added Kyle.

“I think this sewage spill must have been going on for a couple of days, because when you come into the field the smell is terrible and a nearby sheugh is running grey. This is only half a mile from the River Lagan.”

Kyle said incidents like this just put more pressure on farmers who are currently at their ‘wits end’ due to the poor weather and pressure from getting slurry out ahead of tonight’s spreading ban deadline.

“We have silage to cut, but there are some farmers in the north west who haven’t been able to get their second cut done,” he added.

“There is currently an awful pressure on farmers. Men are in desparation. We need support, not bureaucracy,” he added.

A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs confirmed that NIEA received a call via the water pollution hotline reporting sewage “bubbling up into the field and then going to the river Lagan.”

The spokesperson added: “NIEA have tasked an officer to investigate and contacted other relevant parties with a view to protecting the water environment.”