Keep up with Armagh i

Co Armagh businessman fined for submitting false test results

Newry Courthouse

A Co Armagh businessman who submitted fraudulent test results for 17 discharge consent applications has been fined a total of £4,250, plus a £15 Offenders Levy, at Newry Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard that in November 2020, NI Environment Agency (NIEA) checks on the various applications submitted by Bernard Owen McKevitt (50) from Kellys Road, Newry, contained identical results for what are known as percolation tests for domestic tanks.

Genuine percolation test results would be expected to vary.

Welcoming Monday’s fine, NIEA Chief Executive David Reid, said: “I am pleased with the result of today’s court case, however the fraudulent results which Mr McKevitt submitted would have increased the risk of pollution and public health nuisance.

“If incorrect percolation figures are provided for a site, there is a significant risk of a domestic effluent treatment system that are unsuitable for the local ground conditions being consented and installed on that site. Domestic effluent treatment systems will normally remain in place for many years and such pollution is potentially damaging to both public health and the environment.

“My thanks go to the NIEA members of staff who spotted and challenged these irregularities. We are currently assessing how we process such information to mitigate against the likelihood of similar fraudulent applications.”

NIEA operates a licensing system under the Water (Northern Ireland) Order 1999 for domestic properties which are not connected to the public sewer network.

The purpose of this is to ensure that the domestic effluent from every such property is treated and disposed of in such a way that it will not cause a public health or environmental harm.

The Water Order licences are referred to as ‘Consents’.

Anyone wishing to report a pollution incident can call the 24-hour Incident Hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

Sign Up To Our Newsletter

Most read today

More in Newry