The worst septic tanks will be inspected first
SEPTIC tanks that are considered to pose a high risk to the environment will be among the first tanks to be tested in Kerry when the new national inspection plan is rolled out here in the coming months.
A minimum of 57 of the county's 32,000 registered septic tanks will be inspected by the local authpority over the next 12 months, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with the number increasing thereafter.
While the number is remarkably low, management has confirmed that not all registered tanks will be inspected under the new system - only those who pose the greatest risk to the environment.
County Manager Tom Curran also warned that the local authority will be prioritising unregistered septic tanks when inspections begin in the next few months.
At Monday's meeting, Mr Curran said that inspectors will be looking for visible signs of pollution, adding that the procedure will be non-intrusive and inspectors will be taking a common sense approach.
He urged those who have not yet registered to do so immediately, saying that those who do not are still liable for prosecution through the courts. He also said that those who are not registered are now ineligible for grant aid should their tank fail the inspection.
Mr Curran confirmed that a letter will be sent to the householder advising them of a date for inspection, followed by a letter to confirm whether the tank passed or failed. If a tank fails, the home owner will be given a reasonable amount of time to rectify the matter.
Grants will be available for those who registered before February 1, 2013, and will be means tested. Where the income is less than €50,000, the grant is 80 per cent of cost of the works, up to a maximum of €4,000. If he income is between €50,000 and €75,000 the grant is 50 per cent, up to a maximum of €2,400. A household with an income exceeding €75,000 is not eligible for a grant.