5,000 register septic tanks online in first three weeks


JUST OVER 5,000 people have registered their septic tanks online since the scheme opened three weeks ago.

According to last year’s census, there are 497,281 septic tanks and other on-site waste-water treatment systems in the State.

The 5,000 figure does not include recent applications received across the counter at council offices around the State.

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan announced the opening of the scheme to register septic tanks on June 26th, some months later than originally planned.

The controversial plan to register septic tanks was criticised by some rural dwellers who claimed it discriminated against them and would force them to spend thousands of euro upgrading their tanks while city dwellers did not face such charges.

People who have a septic tank or waste-water treatment system are required to register them by February 1st, 2013. Registration costs €5 until September 28th when the fee rises to €50.

The Government originally planned a flat €50 fee, but following an outcry it announced in February that the fee would be reduced to €5 for the first three months of the scheme. Opposition parties accused Mr Hogan of a climbdown.

A spokesman for the Department of the Environment said 5,014 applications for registration had been received online by last Friday. He said the Local Government Management Agency would be placing advertisements in local newspapers informing people of their obligations and a local radio campaign would be run in mid-September before the fee was increased.

When he announced the opening of the scheme last month, Mr Hogan said the tank inspections would begin next year. He said systems should pass inspection unless there was evidence that the tanks were endangering human health or the environment.

Under the regulations, householders must run a system which cannot pollute the environment by discharging waste outside the tank. Roof water or surface water run-off cannot enter a domestic waste-water treatment system.

The Irish Creamery and Milk Suppliers Association has called for a grant-aid scheme to help householders who need to replace their septic tanks or spend large sums of money upgrading them. Mr Hogan said he would not be in a position to say if grant aid would be provided until the inspection of tanks began.

Payment can be made online at protectourwater.ieor by post. Forms can be obtained in city and county council offices, libraries and Citizens Information centres, or by calling 1890-800800.