Just 855 owners of domestic waste water treatment systems in Co Longford had registered for the controversial septic tank charge as of last Monday.
This figure represents roughly ten percent of those that could register within the county, and is much in line with figures from across the country. Homeowners have until this Friday to avail of the reduced registration fee of €5 that Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan announced last April.
From next Friday, the registration fee increases to €50. Under legislation, all tanks must be registered by February 1 or face the prospect of fines up to €5,000.
Nationally, just under 47,000 homeowners have registered their systems, some way off 497, 281 – the total domestic waste water treatment systems in the state.
However, it is understood there are 35,300 registrations nationally yet to be processed from across all local authority areas. Locally, a spokesperson for Longford County Council said there has been a notable increase in the number of applications submitted in recent days.
“There has also been a significant increase in the number of queries that are being dealt with relating to the registration process. It is anticipated that these trends will continue in the period to September 28th,” the spokesperson added.
Speaking in the Dáil last week, Minister Hogan said there were two main reasons for the implementation of the registration and inspection regime for septic tanks. “The key objective is to enhance and protect public health and the environment which will, in turn, benefit rural dwellers in terms of a better quality of life and better quality water.
“The second reason for the legislation is to ensure compliance with the European Court of Justice ruling against Ireland in October 2009 in relation to the treatment of waste waters from septic tanks and other on-site waste water treatment systems, which the last Government failed to address,” he said.
The risk-based system of inspections will commence in 2013 with the Department of the Environment stating that the inspections will be “objective and evidence-based”, adding that “unless there is evidence of endangerment of human health or the environment, the system in place should pass inspection.”
Homeowners can register their tanks on
www.ProtectOurWater.ie, by post, or at their local authority office.