446,000 register their septic tanks

Environment Minister Phil Hogan has thanked almost 446,000 rural dwellers for registering their septic tanks.

About 90% of the 497,281 treatment systems have now been registered. Registration remains open and there are no late payment fees.

Inspections by the water services authorities will get under way this month.

Mr Hogan has also signed regulations to provide grant assistance for households whose septic tanks need to be improved.

However, the grants scheme is not universal. It only applies where a treatment system failed an inspection under the Water Services (amendment) Act 2012.

Households with an income of up to €50,000 per year can apply for a grant of 80% of approved costs, with €4,000 the maximum grant payable.

Households with incomes of between €50,001 and €75,000 will be eligible for a grant of 50% of approved costs, with €2,500 the maximum grant payable.

When Mr Hogan announced the scheme he pointed out that only those who complied with the legal obligation to register their treatment systems by Feb 1 would be eligible to apply for grant aid.

“I am delighted that almost 90% of all owners of premises connected with such systems have registered their systems and I wish to thank those who have done so,” he said.

There is an exemption from planning permission for improvement works following an inspection.

The inspections will enhance Ireland’s environmental reputation, Mr Hogan said, adding that training of qualified local authority staff and their formal appointment as inspectors by the Environmental Protection Agency is well under way.

A minimum of 1,000 inspections over the next 12 months are expected under the national inspection plan.

Mr Hogan said a series of leaflets on septic tanks and other systems are available and all rural dwellers should find them beneficial. They provide practical information on inspections, operation, and maintenance of septic tanks and other systems, and the risk to private wells.

The leaflets are available from local authority offices, libraries, and citizens’ information centres.

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