Northern Ireland news

Concerns for drinking water follow Faughan fish kill

Some of the thousands of fish killed on the River Faughan
Seamus McKinney

NI WATER has shut down the Carnmoney treatment plant outside Derry as a precaution following the major fish kill on the River Faughan.

The move follows concerns that drinking water in Derry could be affected by whatever caused the deaths of thousands of fish on the river on Tuesday.

NI Water confirmed that Derry water supplies - most of which come from the Faughan - would be taken from other sources in the short term.

A spokesman for NI Water said: "The water in the River Faughan is being monitored. The works (at Carnmoney, Eglinton) will remain closed until NI Water is satisfied the water quality in the river has returned to normal."

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs now believes the fish kill close to Claudy was caused by silage which leaked into the River Faughan.

Part of the Foyle system, the River Faughan is one of Europe's foremost angling rivers, attracting enthusiasts from all over the world. The fish kill has been described as an "ecological disaster" by People Before Profit assembly member Eamonn McCann.

Mr McCann said the Faughan fish kill was symptomatic of the "low priority" given to environmental issues in the north.

"If the individuals can be identified as responsible for the near-extermination of fish in the Faughan, they should face the full rigour of the law," he said.

Sinn Féin assembly member, Caoimhe Archibald also called for action.

"The penalties imposed for incidents such as this should be as severe as the law allows," Ms Archibald said.

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