Septic tank inspections to start in February 2013

Longford County Council this week confirmed that the closing date for the reduced registration charge for septic tanks is fast approaching. The charge for registration is €50, however those who register before September 28 next can do so for a reduced rate of €5. After that a charge of €50 will be applied. It is also anticipated at this stage, that the much talked about inspection process will commence in February, 2013.

Longford County Council this week confirmed that the closing date for the reduced registration charge for septic tanks is fast approaching. The charge for registration is €50, however those who register before September 28 next can do so for a reduced rate of €5. After that a charge of €50 will be applied. It is also anticipated at this stage, that the much talked about inspection process will commence in February, 2013.

“The Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012 introduced a new registration and inspection system for septic tanks and other domestic waste water treatment systems,” a local authority spokesperson said, adding that owners of septic tanks and other waste treatment systems that serve domestic dwellings were required to register their systems by no later than February 1, 2013.

Those wishing to register can do so by logging onto www.protectourwater.ie or calling to Co Council offices at Great Water Street, Longford. Alternatively owners can post an application form to Protect our Water, PO Box 12204, Dublin. Application forms are available from local authority offices, public libraries and Citizens Information Centres.

“Registration will be valid for five years and there will be no charge for re-registration,” the spokesperson continued. “It is intended that the revenue raised will be used by the water services authorities to manage the registers and to meet the cost of having inspections carried out. Having a register of domestic water treatment systems and septic tanks enables inspectors to check that systems are working properly so that water – ground, surface and drinking water - can be protected from the risks posed by malfunctioning systems. This initiative will ultimately enhance and protect public health, water quality and the environment which will benefit everyone.”

It is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that will determine the level of inspections that will be required. A risk-based approach will apply in respect of the inspection programme and not every system will be inspected. In developing the inspection plan, the EPA will take a number of factors into account including proximity to rivers, lakes and streams particularly those that are sources for drinking water. “Inspections under the new system will not commence until 2013,” said the spokesperson. “The commencement of inspections will be publicised in the national and local media and people should take care not to allow uninvited persons or those claiming to be inspectors, to enter onto their property in advance of the launch of inspections. People will be formally notified if their domestic waste water treatment system is to be inspected. Inspectors will carry identification and you should ask for this before allowing anyone claiming to be an inspector to enter your property.”