Householders with septic tanks have until the end of September to register their septic tanks at the reduced rate of €5 before the charge increases to €50.
The controversial registration process was finally initiated by the Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan from last Tuesday, June 26 after months of delays. Owners of septic tanks will be now required to register their systems with their local authority with the once off registration fee of €5 in place until September 28, 2012.
Following this date, the charge will increase to €50 and owners will need to renew their registration every five years, at no cost.
Minister Hogan announced the inspections will begin next year but refused to make any commitments in relation to grant assistance for the upgrade of tanks while admitting that remediation work on some on-site systems would be necessary.
Mayo has one of the highest number of septic tanks in the country with 24,640 and Sinn Féin councillor Rose Conway-Walsh said that people were now having to pay for the lack of investment in sewerage schemes in the county.
“The Minister is saying that only a limited number of tanks will need to be upgraded. Then the aggregate cost of making funding available should be small. However, to the individual households that need the works carried out the costs could be crippling. These are likely to be households who are already under severe financial pressure. “The criteria to be used for inspections is not yet available. This ambiguity around criteria to be used will mean that there are likely to be variances in how the individual inspectors will interpret the standards. The basic standard to be met by all domestic wastewater treatment systems is that they do not cause a risk to human health or the environment. The question is what constitutes a risk and because a risk refers to something that may happen in the future it is subject to individual interpretation,” she said.
Householders can register their septic tanks online at www.protectourwater.ie or in person at any local authority office in the county or by post. Application forms are available from local authority offices, Citizens Information Centres and public libraries.
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