Farm Ireland

Monday 18 December 2017

Septic tanks fee 'likely'

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

Thousands of rural house owners could be forced to replace their septic tanks in order to comply with new rules that are being introduced by the Department of the Environment.

A new septic tank charge could also be introduced to fund a national inspection campaign which aims to check if tanks are working correctly.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan said the measure was necessary in order for Ireland to comply with the EU Waste Directive.

He said that Ireland could face a €40m fine from the European Court of Justice if the Government failed to act on the directive.

"The Government recently approved the urgent drafting of a bill to provide for the establishment of a new system for the inspection and monitoring of the performance of all septic tanks and other on-site waste-water treatment systems," a Department of the Environment spokesman said. "When the new system will come into operation will depend on the passage of the legislation.

"The legislation will set out details of how the new inspection system is to operate, including what bodies will be responsible for the operation of the system and the responsibilities of householders."

There are more than 400,000 septic tanks in the Republic. Where tanks are found to be faulty and not working correctly by inspectors, homeowners could be forced to replace them.

The IFA is opposed to the new legislation, insisting that it would impose additional costs on rural households, and could prevent farm families from living in the countryside.

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"Minister Hogan said that local authorities will be able to work within existing resources to minimise the level of bureaucracy and he will bring forward proposals that would limit the impact on rural dwellers," said Pat Farrell, the IFA's national environment and rural affairs chairman.

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