Council welcomes septic tank grant scheme

Westmeath County Council manager, Barry Kehoe, has expressed his gratitude for the 11,047 septic tank registrations that have been received in Westmeath, representing 90 per cent of owners.

Mr Kehoe also welcomed the announcement by Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan, on the provision of grant assistance for householders whose septic tanks are deemed to require remediation following inspection by the EPA.

The grants scheme will apply only where a domestic waste water treatment system failed an inspection carried out under the 2012 legislation, and where the treatment system had been registered by the due date of February 1, 2013. Inspections by water services authorities will get underway this month.

“This inspection system will be of huge benefit to householders, their families, and neighbours as it will address any risk to public health and the environment caused by malfunctioning systems. Ensuring clean and safe water will have a positive impact on local tourism, agricultural, and food producing sectors,” said Mr Kehoe.

Training of qualified local authority staff and their formal appointment as inspectors by the EPA is underway. The National Inspection Plan provides that a minimum of 1,000 inspections will take place nationally between now and July 2014.

As part of the inspection, treatment systems will be examined to ensure that they are not posing a risk to public health or the environment through leakage or discharges to the surface of the ground or into nearby ditches. There will also be checks to ensure that regulations regarding roof and surface water as well as grey water are complied with.

Mr Kehoe advised, “Householders will be notified in advance if their septic tank is to be inspected and inspectors will be required to carry identification and to present this on request to householders”.

The council also welcomes the signing of regulations providing for an exemption from planning permission for works arising from an inspection under the National Inspection Plan.

A new series of leaflets which provide practical information regarding inspections, operation, and maintenance of septic tanks and other systems, and the risk to private wells will be available from local authority offices, libraries, and Citizens Information Centres and are available to download from www.westmeathcoco.ie

Registration remains open and persons who are liable to register should do so as soon as possible. People can register at their local authority office or at www.protectourwater.ie

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