The purpose of the registration and inspection for such systems, introduced under the Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012, is to protect ground and surface water quality, particularly drinking water sources, from the risks posed by malfunctioning systems. All owners of premises connected to a domestic wastewater treatment system are required to register their systems.
The Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) has developed a central online registration system and will manage the system on a shared-service basis for the water services authorities, including Limerick Local Authorities.
All septic tanks and other types of treatment and disposal systems for domestic waste water should be registered not later than 1st February 2013. Registration payments received by 28th September will be subject to a €5 fee with the registration fee increasing to €50 thereafter up to 1st February. Penalties will be applied to payments received after 1 February.
Mr. Conn Murray, Manager, Limerick Local Authorities, commented: “I want to take the opportunity to remind people they can only avail of the reduced registration fee of €5 until the 28th of September 2012, after that date it will cost €50. I would also like to thank all of those people who have paid so far.”
“Under the Act, owners of domestic waste water treatment systems are required to ensure that their systems are on the register,” explained Ms. Anne Goggin, Environmental Department, Limerick County Council.
Ms Goggin added: “Domestic wastewater treatment systems include all septic tanks, waste water tanks and treatment systems receiving, storing, treating or disposing of domestic waste water. It also includes all fittings and percolation areas associated with such tanks and systems and drains used to discharge waste water from a premises, whether or not a receiving tank is present.”
She continued: “The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is developing a National Inspection Plan. The Agency will use a risk-based approach in developing the plan, including proximity to rivers, lakes and streams (particularly drinking water sources). No decisions have been made regarding the numbers or locations of inspections to be carried out. It is also expected that consideration will be given to whether a system has been registered or not (systems that are not registered would be more likely to be inspected than those that are registered). Inspections under the new legislation will not commence until 2013 and the commencement of inspections will be publicised in the national and local media.”
Ms. Goggin explained that the registration fee is intended to cover the costs of administration by the water services authorities and risk-based inspections.
“You should take care not to allow uninvited persons, or persons claiming to be septic tank inspectors, to enter onto your property in advance of the launch of inspections. You will be formally notified by your water services authority if your domestic wastewater treatment system is to be inspected. Inspectors will be required to carry identification and you should ask for this to be presented to you,” she concluded.
The charge can be paid online by credit/debit card at www.protectourwater.ie or by cheque/Postal Order/Bank Drafts at a local authority office. Registration forms may be obtained from public libraries, citizen information centres, Limerick County Hall, Limerick City Hall, and at the following area offices: Newcastle, Kilmallock, Rathkeale, Annacotty, and Croom. For further information contact or Lo Call 1890 800 800 or visit www.protectourwater.ie.