A TANKER load of foul smelling sludge has been dumped along a Moy roadside leading to health fears for local residents.
Eyewitness reports described how the illegal waste was dumped by a green Class tractor pulling a blue trailer along the Derrygalley Road, close to the Blackwater River shortly after 9pm on Monday night.
A large quantity of the obnoxious sludge was sprayed into a nearby pear orchard, causing concern for the grower.
The Northern Ireland Environmental Agency is investigating the crime.
A resident, who did not wish to have his name revealed, said the sludge was foul smelling and an obvious health hazard.
“The tractor driver spread the sludge over a hedge along a 700 yard stretch. It has created a dreadful smell, far worse than the ordinary farmyard smell of slurry.
“It is clearly some sort of toxic waste, and has raised concerns for the local environment as well as for human health.
“The farmer who owns the field is deeply concerned about the safety of his pear crop, and schoolchildren and pedestrians who use the road are also worried about the health implications.
“Parents in the area have described how children have come in with clothes that were stinking.”
The tractor was disturbed during the illegal dumping by a passing motorist, who being suspicious followed the vehicle to a farm near Loughgall and then on to Annnaghmore.
Residents say that details about the tractor and its destination after dumping the sludge have been passed to the NIEA and Dungannon Council’s environmental health team.
“This is an unusual case in that we actually spotted the illegal dumping taking place and gathered as much information about the driver as we could”, said the resident.
“We reported the incident immediately to the relevant authorities. And they confirmed that a serious environmental crime had been committed.
“We have taken our own samples which are now being forensically examined to uncover the source of the waste.”
As the incident occurred close to the River Blackwater, officers from the Rivers Management Agency are also investigating the incident.