FINGAL'S COUNTY Manager has said that the registration of septic tanks in the county is a 'public health issue' and not about revenue raising.In discussions on a motion from Cllr Kieran Dennison (FG) asking the council to report on its efforts to inspect septic tanks in the county, the county manager, David O'Connor said that this was a 'very serious issue'. He said that septic tanks were contaminating water supply and a strain of e-coli had emerged as a result that was ' almost unique to Ireland'. The county manager said that only 85% of homes in Ireland were linked to the public sewer system while that figure was 96% in the north of Ireland. He said that contamination from septic tanks can find itself into wells which are becoming more popular because he said, people 'imagine that when you dig a well you automatically get Ballygowan'. Mr O'Connor said that the purpose of the new legislation establishing a register of septic tanks was for 'public health reasons and nothing else'. ' It's about protecting public health,' he concluded. Cllr Dennison also said this was a major public health issue and said he was ' disappointed' that only a quarter of the county's septic tank owners had so far registered their tank. He said that people 'fortunate enough' to live in the rural areas of the county should want to protect those areas. Cllr Anne Devitt agreed and said it was a privilege to live in the rural areas of Fingal and that privilege brought with it responsibilities, one of which was to protect ground water. But Cllr Ruth Coppinger (SP) said that people had failed to register their tanks because they were 'afraid they are going to be faced with a huge bill of thousands to upgrade their septic tanks'. She said there was no grant scheme in place to help them do that and many 'simply haven't got the money' to carry out the work.