Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan last week announced a grant scheme to provide financial assistance to households whose septic tanks and domestic waste water treatment systems require remediation or upgrading under the Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012.
Inspections are expected to commence next year, and will be based on a national inspection plan currently being finalised by the Environmental Protection Agency. All domestic septic tanks and other waste water systems should be registered not later than February 1 on www.protectourwater.ie or by post or in local authority offices. Waste water systems that that have not been registered by February 1 will also be subject to inspection.
“I am very conscious of householders’ concerns regarding some costs in repairing or upgrading their systems if they fail an inspection,” said Minister Hogan.
“Even though most of the deficiencies with septic tanks are likely to be remedied by routine maintenance including regular desludging, I am making this announcement today to reassure people that they will be assisted in meeting the costs of any remedial works that may be necessary arising from the implementation of the 2012 legislation.
“The key objective of this legislation 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.”
A strict condition of eligibility for grant aid will be that the householder has registered their system by the prescribed date of 1 February 2013. To date 290,000 people (58%) have registered their systems. Census 2011 indicates that there are about 497,000 septic tanks and similar systems in Ireland.
The Minister said that the grant assistance will only be available to householders whose systems have been inspected by their local authority and are found to be in need of remediation. Householders will be notified in writing in advance by their local authority if their system is to be inspected, and should always ask for evidence of identification from people calling to their doors.
The Minister also announced that he is increasing the grant for Group Sewerage Schemes to €6,500 per house or 75% of the cost of the scheme, whichever is the lesser. The current rate of grant available for group sewerage schemes is €2,031.58 per house or 75% of the cost of the scheme, whichever is the lesser.
The provision of financial assistance for this grant scheme is being made in the Rural Water Programme 2013.