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Farmer fined £6000 after leaking slurry tank pollutes river 

Sepa traced the leak to Wharlawhill Farm near Kinross after finding slurry in the South Queich.

Farm fine: The South Queich river was foaming and discoloured.
Farm fine: The South Queich river was foaming and discoloured.

A farmer has been fined £6000 after a leaking slurry tank caused major pollution to a river in Kinross.

Norman Greer pled guilty to failing to correctly store slurry at Wharlawhill Farm near Carnbo.

The farmer appeared at Perth Sheriff Court on Thursday when he admitted a second charge of failing to notify the Scottish Environment and Protection Agency (Sepa) of a new slurry storage system.

The court heard that on February 17, 2014, Sepa officers discovered slurry in the South Queich River, which had left the watercourse discoloured, foaming and smelling pungent.

Environmental officers managed to trace the origin of the slurry 4km upstream to an unnamed tributary of the South Queich, which led them to discover a leaking slurry tank on Wharlawhill Farm.

Sepa found "large puddles of slurry and significant foaming" on the ground around the tank.

Officials discovered a drainage pipe around the tank connected to a field drainage pipe which was discharging slurry directly to the tributary.

They noted a hole in the tank, where it appeared the slurry had been leaking from, had been plugged with a rag and pipe.

The environment watchdog classified the incident as a "category 1 major pollution event" due to the damage to the watercourse extending beyond 1km.

Sepa's reporting officer said: "The fine for this incident should provide a clear message to other farmers who choose to disregard environmental legislation, that storing slurry correctly is of paramount importance.

"While slurry is a useful fertiliser, it is also a highly polluting substance if not controlled properly and therefore must be stored and managed in an appropriate manner.

"In this case, poor storage led to over 1km of the local river being polluted following a leak - an issue which could have been avoided had it been addressed by the farmer."

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