Diesel spillage at river sparks investigation

The site of the incident on the Six Mile Water on Tuesday. Pic by Neil Spence.
The site of the incident on the Six Mile Water on Tuesday. Pic by Neil Spence.

An environmental investigation has been launched after the discovery of an apparent diesel spillage in the Six Mile Water river in Ballyclare.

The incident was reported to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) on the evening of January 14.

A water quality inspector has visited the site of the pollution incident at a culvert close to the town’s leisure centre.

Commenting on the issue, a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs said: “NIEA received a report at 6.11pm on January 14 through the Water Pollution Hotline, 0800 80 70 60, indicating that diesel was entering the river via a culvert near Ballyclare leisure centre.

“A water quality inspector attended the incident on January 14 and the investigation is still ongoing. There have been no reports of any dead fish to date.”

Chair of the Six Mile Water Trust, Jim Gregg has called on members of the public to report similar incidents.

Speaking to the Times, Mr Gregg said: “It’s everyone’s responsibility to protect the water course. Members of the angling community and residents are the eyes and ears for the agencies.

“They do a vital service reporting the pollution incidents on our waterways. I’d urge everyone to be vigilant and report similar incidents.

“Currently the Six Mile Water Trust is pushing for a sign with the details of the water hot line to be placed close to the culvert that this latest incident is at.

“There have been a number of recent pollution incidents reported in this area and we’ll continue to assess this stretch of the river.”

He added: “Although the investigation is in the early stages, it looks like fish haven’t been killed by the diesel.

“Diesel floats on the water, with fish remaining lower down. This stretch of water is popular with ducks and dog walkers.

“The diesel could potentially make these animals sick or in some cases kill them, so I’d urge pet owners to keep their dogs away until the issue has been resolved.”