Deputy Jim Daly welcomes clarity on Septic Tanks Issue

Fine Gael TD for Cork South West has said that recent clarifications from the Minister for the Environment regarding the issue of septic tank inspections are to be welcomed.

Speaking on the matter, Deputy Daly said “I welcome the recent announcements by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Mr Phil Hogan TD which have sought to bring clarity to this important issue.

“There has been a great deal of confusion in relation to this matter and I want to clarify some of the issues and allay some of the concerns that are out there.

1. Under the proposed legislation, householders who have a septic tank will be required to register their details with their Local Authority and pay a registration fee of not more than €50. This is not an annual fee and it is envisaged that there will be an interval of five years between each registration.
2. Householders will not be levied with a septic tank inspection fee.
3. Inspections will be carried out on a risk-basis meaning that they will primarily be targeted to sensitive areas for the environment or public health, for example where drinking water sources are likely to be, or have been, impacted upon.
4. The proposed legislation will allow ample time for householders to carry out remedial work because registration will take place in 2012 and inspections will not commence until 2013.
5. If a problem is identified with a septic tank as a result of an inspection the householder will be given a window of opportunity to carry out the necessary remedial works.

“This legislation has been drafted in order to address a ruling issued by the European Court of Justice in October 2009 against Ireland. The matter should have been dealt with in 2009 but was put on the long finger so we have no option but to deal with it now otherwise we will be facing a lump sum fine of €2.7million and continuing fines of €26,000 per day for non-compliance which as a country we simply cannot afford.”

“I am aware that we are living in stretched financial times and this issue is causing concern to the people of the West Cork area and they are worried that they will face huge bills to bring their septic tanks up to a certain standard. For those who have septic tanks that are working correctly they have nothing to worry about and I do not believe a fee of €50 to register every five years is excessive. For those who have septic tanks that are causing pollution then it will be necessary to carry out remedial works because it is incumbent upon us all not to cause pollution and I am lobbying the Minister to consider giving some financial support to the less well off in society and in particular the elderly and disabled.

The final legislation will be published later this year in relation to this issue, and in the meantime if anybody has any concerns I will be happy to hear them,” concluded Deputy Daly.