Phil Hogan welcomes publication of the EPA’s National Inspection Plan

Posted by on Mar 21, 2013 in news | 0 comments

The Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Government, Phil Hogan T.D.,  welcomed the publication of the National Inspection Plan for domestic waste water treatment systems. Minister Hogan stated:

“I welcome the National Inspection Plan, which has been drawn up to best international standards by the Environmental Protection Agency. As I have consistently stated, the plan will underpin the risk-based inspection of septic tanks and other on-site treatment systems.  I also welcome the positive response which issued from the European Commission to the adoption of the Plan. I am confident that the inspection system will benefit rural dwellers by improving water quality and the quality of life in the countryside through the identification and remediation of failing on-site systems.”

Achieving compliance with the 2009 European Court of Justice ruling against Ireland has been a high priority for the Government since taking office.  The Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012 was enacted in February 2012 and the implementation of the legislation has been underway since then.  Publication of the plan is the final measure in ensuring that Ireland has fully complied with the Court’s judgment.

Minister Hogan also thanked the vast majority of householders who had registered their domestic waste water treatment systems by the deadline of 1st February last:

“I want to sincerely thank all those householders that registered their domestic waste water treatment systems by the closing date. Once again it is the silent majority that have supported the primary objective of this legislation, which is to enhance and protect public health and the environment in terms of better quality water. Protecting our environment will also have positive economic benefits. Clean water is vital for all sectors of our economy from pharmaceuticals and ICT to the agricultural and food-producing sectors, all of which rely heavily on clean water.”

More than 410,000 liable households or approximately 82% of septic tank owners have registered their systems to date.  The Minister welcomed the emphasis in the Inspection Plan on improving peoples understanding and knowledge of how to operate and maintain their systems properly.

“This is a serious problem that I inherited and unlike the previous administration I prioritised bringing forward the necessary legislation to help solve the problem. I commend the vast majority of law-abiding householders who have sent a very clear and strong message to the irresponsible members of Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein and Independents who advocated breaking the law.” the Minister said.
“I now put it to those reckless members of the Opposition that they have already cost liable households an additional €45, as a result of their campaign of non-registration, they should now cease their irresponsible behaviour, so that those households do not run the additional risk of legal action. I now appeal to the minority of householders that have not yet registered to comply with the law and register their systems,” the Minister added

The Minister also said that householders whose systems are being maintained and are not causing pollution have nothing to fear from implementation of the inspection plan. Inspections will be carried out by fully trained and experienced local authority officials who will carry identification. Inspections will be scheduled with households at least 10 days in advance and will commence from the middle of 2013.

The Minister recently announced his intention to introduce a grant scheme to provide financial assistance to households whose septic tanks and other domestic wastewater treatment systems are deemed to require remediation following an inspection. The grant scheme will only apply to treatment systems which are the subject of an Advisory Notice issued by a water services authority following an inspection. Full details of the grants scheme will be set out in regulations which will be made in advance of inspections commencing later this year

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