EPA issues septic tank warning following almost 50% fail rate

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a review of over 2,000 inspections of septic tanks and other domestic waste water treatment systems in 2017 and 2018 earlier today, Tuesday, July 2.

Nearly half of the systems failed inspection because they were not built or maintained properly, according to the report.

Warning that faulty systems can contaminate household wells and pollute rivers, the EPA has advised that householders should avail of the proposed expanded grant scheme when it becomes available, to address malfunctioning septic tanks.

Commenting on the report, Dr. Tom Ryan, director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement, said:

If you do not maintain your septic tank, it can contaminate your own or your neighbour’s well or your local stream, putting your health at risk and that of your family and neighbours.

“You can take simple steps to maintain your septic tank by making sure it is not leaking, ponding or discharging to ditches and by cleaning it out regularly.”

The report also found that nearly one third of systems that failed inspections during 2013-2018 are still not fixed.

Local authorities need to take appropriate measures to ensure householders fix systems that fail inspection, according to the EPA.

Noel Byrne, senior scientist in the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement, also spoke on the issue, stressing: “It is important that householders fix systems where problems are detected.

To improve water quality, the Government’s proposed expanded septic tank grant scheme, due to be launched later this year, will increase the maximum grant aid available to €5,000 and remove the means test requirements.

The report, entitled “Domestic Waste Water Treatment Systems 2017 and 2018”, is available on the EPA’s website.