One third of all septic tanks inspected in Kilkenny failed local authority appraisals, according to a report published today by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA has released a review of the implementation of the National Inspection Plan for Domestic Waste Water Treatment Systems for 2016.
The review states that homeowners need to take action to protect themselves, their families and neighbours from risks posed by septic tanks.
It shows that 49% of septic tanks failed inspection in 2016, up from 45% in 2015. Operation and maintenance and the lack of desludging continue to be the main reasons that septic tank systems fail.
The failure by home owners to maintain and operate a septic tank system adequately can pose a health and environmental risk through the pollution of private drinking water wells or water courses.
Many septic tank owners source their water from their own private well.
Darragh Page, Programme Manager of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said: “Homeowners may be putting themselves, their families and their neighbours at risk of ill health if they do not maintain their septic tank system adequately.
“There are simple steps that homeowners can take to ensure their system is managed properly and will pass an inspection.
“These include: having the sludge emptied from the tank on a regular basis, using a permitted contractor and retaining the receipt and, if the homeowner has a package treatment system, having it regularly serviced and keeping a record of servicing.”
By taking these simple steps homeowners can protect themselves and their environment from contamination.
Kilkenny had a target of minimum inspections of 32 with total inspections carried out coming to 32.
Total compliant inspections came to 21 – with the total of non-compliant inspections amounting to 11.
The advisory notices issued for non-compliant Kilkenny septic tanks saw one for leakage from the system, two were for unlicensed discharge, two for surface ponding, nine for operation and maintenance, two for desludging and one for roof water or SW entering the system.
Meanwhile some 86% of local authorities met or exceeded their minimum number of target inspections.
Wexford County Council exceeded their minimum target by 62 inspections.
Some local authorities failed to undertake their minimum number of required inspections.
Sligo County Council had the highest shortfall as they failed to carry out any of their allocated 26 inspections.
The National Inspection Plan is being implemented by local authorities under the supervision of the EPA.
An inspection of a domestic waste water treatment system (DWWTS) is undertaken by the local authority to determine whether it is fit for purpose and/or it poses a risk to human health or the environment.
If a septic tank system fails an inspection an advisory notice is issued to the homeowner by the local authority. This specifies what is wrong and what needs to be fixed.