Half Of Septic Tanks Failed Local Authority Inspection

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), home owners need to take action to protect themselves, their families and their neighbours from risks posed by septic tanks.

  • Half of all septic tanks, failed local authority inspections in 2016, posing a potential health risk to home owners and their neighbours
  • Half of sites with a septic tank and a private drinking water well on site, also failed inspection.
  • Quarter (25%) of septic tanks failed due to owners not removing sludge build-up from their tanks, an issue that can be easily rectified by home owners.

The Environmental Protection Agency today released a review of the implementation of the National Inspection Plan for Domestic Waste Water Treatment Systems for the period 1st January to 31st December 2016. The National Inspection Plan is being implemented by local authorities under the supervision of the EPA.

The review shows that 49 per cent of septic tanks failed inspection in 2016, up from 45 per cent in 2015. Septic tank failures were mainly due to a lack of proper operation and maintenance. The failure by home owners to maintain and operate a septic tank system adequately can pose a health and environmental risk through the pollution of private drinking water wells or water courses. Many septic tank owners source their water from their own private well.

Commenting on the results Mr. Darragh Page, Programme Manager of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said, “Home owners may be putting themselves, their families and their neighbours at risk of ill health if they do not maintain their septic tank system adequately. There are simple steps that home owners can take to ensure their system is managed properly and will pass an inspection. These include: having the sludge emptied from the tank on a regular basis, using a permitted contractor and retaining the receipt and, if the home owner has a package treatment system, having it regularly serviced and keeping a record of servicing.”

By taking these simple steps home owners can protect themselves and their environment from contamination.
The results of the review of the 2016 inspection plan are available on the EPA’s website.


1 comment to Half Of Septic Tanks Failed Local Authority Inspection

  • John Fogarty

    This report is skewed in my opinion, the fact that a septic tank has not had sludge build-up removed in a 5 yr period doesn’t mean it not working properly.
    It would depend on loading and the type of material entering it. A tank designed for a family of six might have only one live alone contributor now.
    The percolation area if it’s a good site would also keep it going. I also believe that most inspections were as a result of complaints about smells, discharge of foul effluent and failing water quality tests. Which would naturally lead to higher failure rates.
    I doubt that random selection of sites occurred as manpower and resources are scarce.
    Water quality is very important but using scare tactics and dramatic headlines won’t help the EPA in anything other than a bigger budget.

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