Septic Tanks: Charges, Financial Aid…. Ongoing Saga

The Department of Environment, Community and Local Government (DoECLG) has published a The Water Services  (Amendment) Bill 2011 to regulate wastewater discharges from all homes that are not connected to the public sewer network.  All on-site septic tank systems or domestic wastewater treatment systems will have to be registered.

Around 68% of the population of Ireland live in urban areas and are connected to sewerage systems.  The balance live in rural areas and use septic tanks for treatment of sewage.

In Ireland around 25% of the water used comes from groundwater.  Threats to groundwater arise from many sources including:

  • Leachate generated by domestic refuse in dumps or landfills
  • Accidental spillages
  • Leaking sewers and underground storage containers
  • Badly constructed or sited septic tanks

The registration system is to be established and maintained by the local authorities.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be responsible for the development of a National Inspection Plan and have produced a list of  frequently asked questions on the latest information available on the Bill. (

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has said some financial help would be available for people whose septic tanks are found to need significant upgrading after inspections begin next year.  However, no details of financial assistance have been provided at this stage.  He also said the approach of inspectors would be risk-based and that not every septic tank in the country would be inspected.

The Miinister has also announced that the fee for registerting a septic tank would be reduced from €50 to €5 for three months as an incentive for people to register early.

Watch this space for updates on what no doubt will be an ongoing saga…