Thursday, March 01, 2012

Make your views known on septic tank standards

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, is encouraging Co. Meath householders and interested members of the public to make their views known on the draft standards for septic tanks, which have been published today (Thursday) by the Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan. Public submissions will be accepted for the next four weeks before the standards are finalised.

“The Government wants to listen to the views and concerns of the public, when drawing up a finalised list of standards for septic tanks. The standards will be used as the basis of a new inspection regime, which will ensure our groundwater supplies are protected.

“The Opposition has been engaging in a huge amount of rabble rousing and scaremongering in recent months in relation to the new septic tank inspection regime. Rather than unnecessarily scaring people, it’s much more constructive to look at the fact; there will be no inspection fee, registration charges are being kept at an absolute minimum of just €5 for those who register in the first three months, and the Minister has said he will consider providing financial support to those who need major work carried out on their system.

“The draft standards set out the responsibilities of septic tanks owners. For example, you need to know where your tank is located and you should visually examine it once a year. You also need to ensure only domestic waste water is treated in your tank and that it only discharges from appropriate points.

“We need these standards, not only to comply with our European obligations and avoid huge fines, but more importantly to safeguard our groundwater supplies. Ensuring high water quality will also help to attract inward investment from sectors such as pharmaceuticals and ICT.

“This Government is taking a practical and pragmatic approach to this issue; unlike Fianna Fáil who consistently ignored it for political reasons and increased our risk of being imposed with large fines.

“So if you are interested in this issue, now is the time to make your views known. Submissions can be made by post or online over the next four weeks. The Minister will consider these submissions, before a final set of standards are drawn up. The Environmental Protection Agency is developing a National Inspection Plan for local authorities, with inspections expected to begin next year.”

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