A PUBLICITY blitz will be launched this week warning almost 200,000 people they have one month to pay their €50 septic tank charge or risk inspection and possible fines of €5,000.
A deadline of February 1 has been set for the 198,000 people – some 40pc of those who qualify for the charge – yet to pay the septic tank registration fee.
Environment Minister Phil Hogan will launch a publicity campaign with radio and newspaper ads today, targeting those yet to pay.
Mr Hogan introduced a temporary offer to pay just €5 initially to get people to pay, but this has now passed. The remainder will now have to pay €50.
Sources said those who haven't registered are more likely to face inspections when they are carried out by local authorities.
"They would have a fair idea of where every septic tank is, and if they come across an area with polluted water they are more likely to knock on the door," a source said.
The move toward an inspection regime comes because the European Court of Justice has threatened Ireland with daily fines of up to €26,000 for failing to ensure that wastewater is being properly disposed of and not causing pollution.
The inspections begin later this year when the officials will check to see if tanks are working properly. Those with non-registered tanks could face fines of up to €5,000.
They will have the power to force homeowners to undertake repair works, although some financial help may be provided by the Department of the Environment.
However, the grants to upgrade will not be available if the tanks aren't registered.
Mr Hogan's spokeswoman said 95pc of those who paid did so under the temporary €5 offer, which closed on September 28.
Anyone who has a property connected to a septic tank or other treatment system is liable for the charge.