Nearly half of the country's septic tanks failing inspections

Nearly half of the septic tanks failed inspection because they were not built or maintained properly.
Nearly half of the septic tanks failed inspection because they were not built or maintained properly.
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

Nearly half of the country's septic tanks and are failing inspections, posing risks to people’s health and the environment, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has warned.

Householders with septic tanks are being told to fix malfunctioning septic tank systems as they are posing risks to people’s health and the environment, the EPA says.

Of the 2,371 inspections in 2017-2018, it found that  nearly half (1,135) of systems didn’t meet the necessary standards in 2017- 2018 and failures are due to construction defects and householders not maintaining/cleaning out (de-sludging) systems.

Nearly half of the systems failed inspection because they were not built or maintained properly, it says.

Nearly one-third (852) of systems that failed during 2013–2018 are still not fixed, 474 of those date from inspections in 2017 or earlier.

Defects, it says, leaks of sewage from systems; ponding of sewage on the ground; discharges to ditches and streams and rainwater entering systems.

It is calling on householders to ensure there are no leaks or ponding on the ground; there is no sewage going to ditches and streams; the system is cleaned out (de-sludged) at appropriate intervals and their well is tested to ensure that the water is safe to drink.

Faulty systems can contaminate household wells and pollute rivers.

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Householders should avail of the proposed expanded grant scheme when it becomes available, to address malfunctioning septic tanks.

Noel Byrne, Senior Scientist in the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said it is important that householders fix systems where problems are detected.

"To improve water quality, the government’s proposed expanded septic tank grant scheme, due to be launched later this year, will increase the maximum grant aid available to €5000 and remove the means test requirements."

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