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Builder says septic tank grant inadequate for upgrade

Builder says septic-tank grants inadequate

Percolation-area repair could cost close to €20,000

Anton McNulty

A REMEDIAL grant available for the repair of faulty septic tanks will not come close to covering the cost of installing a percolation unit, which, according to a local contractor, will be the main reason for sewerage systems failing the water-quality test.
Homeowners have until February 1 to register their septic tank in order to be eligible to avail of a grant to repair faulty septic tanks if necessary. Grants of up to 80 per cent of the remedial works, to a maximum of €4,000, will be made available, depending on the income of the household.
However, Fahy-based builder Tommie Duggan told The Mayo News that while the grant may help to cover the cost of a septic tank, he feels the majority of problems will be with the percolation area which could cost close to €20,000 to repair.
“The majority of septic tanks are not going to give problems, it is the percolation area [which gives problems], particularly in the west of Ireland. I installed a unit, and it cost €15,000 to do it, and that was because an old house was being sold and the percolation area had to be upgraded for the sale. That was three years ago in Westport and it was done to the minimum specifications to keep costs down for the sale. I could not say how much it would cost exactly, it depends on the soil and the amount you need to import,” he said.
The minimum standard for the water quality from a septic tank has not yet been determined by the EPA. Tommie feels that older houses and systems may not meet the standards if they are very strict.
He explained he was not against testing the water quality from septic tanks but feels the current grants being offered was there to ‘fool’ people into paying the charge to register their tanks.
“If a tank is old and leaking it should be changed and it would take €3,000 to €4,000 but it will be a lot more for a percolation unit. If they want people to do it there should be a 100 per cent grant for whatever needs to be done. If Mayo County Council gave planning permission and gave people the okay, how can they say they need to change. Honestly, can you expect pensioners and people struggling to pay mortgages to pay that?” he said.
Meanwhile Mayo TD John O’Mahony has urged people to register their tanks before February 1. He believes the majority of tanks will pass inspections without any issues.
“Septic tanks that are leaking or failing to work properly pose a threat to our drinking water supplies. Effective waste-water treatment systems are essential for the environment and for our economy. This is of particular significance to people living in rural areas, who understand the importance of protecting local water supplies,” he said.

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