With almost 446,000 householders having now registered their septic tanks, the Government has introduced regulations to provide for grant assistance for householders whose septic tanks are deemed to require remediation following an inspection under the EPA’s National Inspection Plan.
The grants scheme will apply only where a domestic waste water treatment system failed an inspection carried out under the 2012 legislation and where the treatment system had been registered by the due date of 1 February 2013.
Regulations have also been introduced providing for an exemption from planning permission for works arising from an inspection under the National Inspection Plan.
“The principal and immediate beneficiaries of the inspection system will be the householders, their families and their neighbours as it will address any risk to public health and the environment caused by malfunctioning systems,” says Phil Hogan TD, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government. “It will also help to enhanceIreland’s environmental reputation which in turn will have positive benefits for the tourism, agricultural and food producing sectors.”
Training of qualified local authority staff and their formal appointment as inspectors by the EPA is underway. The National Inspection Plan provides that a minimum of 1,000 inspections will take place nationally between now and July 2014.
As part of the inspection, treatment systems will be examined to ensure that they are not posing a risk to public health or the environment through leakage or discharges to the surface of the ground or into nearby ditches. There will also be checks to ensure that regulations regarding roof and surface water as well as grey water are complied with.
A new series of leaflets which provide practical information regarding inspections, operation and maintenance of septic tanks and other systems and the risk to private wells are available from local authority offices, libraries and Citizens Information Centres.