Friday 9 December 2016

Parity is issue in tank row

Published 19/02/2012 | 05:00

Madam -- John Drennan's article "Its time for our teenage TDs to wise up" (Sunday Independent, Feb 12, 2012), contains inaccuracies about the issues that have arisen around the Water Services Amendment Bill.

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Registration was never an issue for concerned rural householders and to state that registration is being deemed an "attack on rural Ireland" is misleading. The fundamental issue in this debate is the need for equal treatment of those with private waste water systems compared to those on the public sewage scheme. The major costs that rural households face lies in the maintenance of their systems and the prospects of upgrading their septic tanks to standards which the Minister has yet to set. He has consistently claimed the standards will be relatively relaxed yet will satisfy the European Court of Justice 2009 ruling. However, the Department's own Regulatory Impact Analysis has estimated that some tanks will require remedial works of up to €17,000.

Fianna Fáil has consistently argued that the government must put in place a scheme of parity for rural people compared to those on state provided and maintained public schemes. Ensuring high quality water is an issue that all parties agree upon but making rural households pay massive costs for waste disposal is in effect, an attack on rural Ireland. The reality is also that Environmental Protection Authority reports show that the pollution from municipal waste water systems is a much more significant problem than from private waste water systems.

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