Almost half of the septic tanks inspected by local authorities last year were broken – Irish Times



Almost half of the septic tanks inspected by local governments last year were broken, posing a “risk to human health and the environment,” the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said.

Domestic wastewater treatment systems (DWWTS) are primarily septic tanks, used by households to treat sewage. There are nearly 500,000 systems in Ireland, with approximately 1,200 being inspected each year.

On Thursday, the EPA released its latest report on 2023 DWWTS inspections. A total of 1,189 DWWTS inspections were completed by local governments last year, of which 45% were unsuccessful.

There were “a significant number of identified risks to human health and the environment”.

Local authorities will issue advisory notices asking householders to repair tanks that fail inspection. The EPA report found that there were 576 cases in which problems notified to householders more than two years ago remained unresolved.

However, 80% of tanks that failed inspection between 2013 and 2023 had been repaired by the end of last year, marking a continued improvement from 75% in 2021 and 78% in 2022. It shows.

To date, local governments have filed 62 lawsuits based on householders’ failure to resolve defective DWWTS, with eight lawsuits expected to be filed in 2023.

Counties with low levels of resolution and high numbers of failures are Waterford, Roscommon and Kilkenny.

A total of 95 per cent of the legal actions were taken by just four local authorities: Wexford, Kerry, Mayo and Limerick.

“It is unacceptable that the number of septic tanks that have remained unrepaired for more than two years continues to grow,” said Noel Byrne, EPA program manager.

“Stronger enforcement by local authorities is needed to ensure that failed systems are repaired. Local governments need to use their enforcement powers to protect the environment and public health, he added.

“Defective septic tanks are a risk to human health and the environment and must be repaired,” said Dr. Tom Ryan, director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement.

“Through the National Inspection Program, EPA has identified rivers and areas where residential drinking water wells are at greatest risk of contamination from defective septic tanks,” he said.

“Local authority inspections will target these areas. It is important that householders take advantage of the enhanced grants currently available to resolve identified issues and protect the health of their families and the environment. is.”

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