Pig farm polluted stream - court

A PIG farm which polluted a stream with waste so badly that nothing could live in the water other than fungus and worms has been ordered to pay out almost £7,000 by a Suffolk court.

A PIG farm which polluted a stream with waste so badly that nothing could live in the water other than fungus and worms has been ordered to pay out almost £7,000 by a Suffolk court.

Magistrates in Bury St Edmunds heard that by contrast scientists for the Environment Agency found mayfly, shrimps and stickleback thriving upstream.

Troston Farms Ltd, which pleaded guilty to allowing the noxious matter to enter the stream - a tributary of the River Lark - on or about February 18 this year, admitted the effluent had seeped from an underground tank at Lower Farm in Troston, near Bury.

Anne-Lise McDonald, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told the court that the pollution was discovered when officers made a routine inspection of the pig farm.


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She described a filthy puddle over the tank which was flowing down a farm drain into the stream. The problem was then traced to a faulty pump, which should have taken the waste into a holding lagoon.

Farm manager John Benton, who was in court, then discovered the source of the problem and unblocked the faulty pump and blocked the overflow into the stream, the court heard.

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Mrs McDonald said Mr Benton had told his staff to keep an eye on the pump because straw had blocked it less than a month earlier.

However, she said effluent had been overflowing into the stream for “weeks not days” prior to the discovery because there was such a thick cloak of sewage fungus on the river bed.

Simon Becker, for Troston Farms Ltd, described the stream as a ditch draining the nearby village but he accepted it was a water course.

He also accepted the pump had not been operating properly because a new type of straw used for the pigs was being washed into the tank.

But Mr Becker said the pollution had been going on for days not weeks and heavy rain had disguised the overflowing tank. He said when the Environment Agency officers outlined the situation to Mr Benton his cooperation was full and immediate.

He said the overflow from the tank had since been permanently diverted into the proper lagoon, the pump fixed and a daily inspection routine established.

Troston Farms Ltd, which is based at Langton Place, Bury, was ordered to pay a £4,000 fine, £2,959.70 prosecution costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

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