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HomeFarming NewsOver 50% of septic tank systems failed inspection in 2020
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Over 50% of septic tank systems failed inspection in 2020

According to a new report, 54% (433) of septic tanks systems failed inspection in 2020 because they were not built or maintained properly.

The figure is contained in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Domestic Waste Water Treatment System Inspections 2020 report.

The agency released the report earlier today (Wednesday, June 30th, 2021).

23% (182) of systems inspected were a risk to human health or the environment. Faulty systems can contaminate household wells and pollute rivers.

Commenting on the report, Dr Tom Ryan, director of the EPA’s office of environmental enforcement, said:

“Householders should ensure effluent from their septic tank is not ponding in their garden, going to nearby streams or contaminating their drinking water well.”

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“Householders should visually check their septic tank and get their well tested at least annually to satisfy themselves that their septic tank is not posing a risk to the health of their families, their neighbours and the environment.”

Local authorities issue advisory notices to householders when septic tanks fail inspection.

The report found there were 468 cases open more than two years at the end of 2020.

Grants of up to €5,000

Noel Byrne, EPA programme manager, said,

“It is important that householders fix septic tanks where problems are detected. There is a grant scheme available to assist householders to fix failing septic tanks.”

He said local authorities should focus their efforts to resolve open cases to ensure human health and the environment are protected.

Rural householders use septic tanks, and other domestic waste-water treatment systems to treat sewage. There are nearly half a million systems in Ireland, mostly septic tank systems.

The septic tank grant scheme, which was expanded in 2020, offers grants of €5,000 to assist in addressing malfunctioning systems.

Grants of up to €5,000 are being offered by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government to fix domestic waste-water treatment systems.

The grant is available for systems:

  • That fail under the national inspection plan;
  • That are located in high-status objective catchment areas identified in the river basin management plan;
  • Where they are identified by local authorities in Priority Areas for Action (areas, where action to address water quality, is being focussed under the River Basin Management Plan).
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