Unveiled by the country’s Environment Minister, Phil Hogan, registration, and subsequent inspection, is designed to ‘protect public health and the environment, giving rural dwellers a better quality of life and better quality water’. The move also follows a European Court of Justice ruling against Ireland in October 2009 over waste water treatments.
“Protecting our environment will have positive economic benefits for tourism, recreation, agriculture and food production, all sectors which rely on clean water,” said Mr Hogan. “Clean water is vital for attracting inward investment and to support water hungry sectors such as pharmaceuticals and ICT.”
Key new requirements for owners of domestic systems in Ireland is to know where their septic tank is located; to operate and maintain their system so it is fit for purpose and fully operational; to avoid polluting the environment by discharging/leaking waste anywhere it is not supposed to go, such as into the ground or any water source; to ensure that roof or surface water run-off does not enter a domestic waste-water treatment system; and to ensure their system is de-sludged at intervals appropriate to tank capacity and usage.
Risk-based inspections, also due to start in 2013, have been kept deliberately simple, added the Government. If there is no evidence of endangerment to human health or the environment, therefore, existing systems ‘should’ pass inspection. Registration will cost €5 until September 28 this year, rising to €50 after that date.