51% Failure rate on septic tanks

51% of tested septic tanks have failed with 26% posing a risk to human health in 2019 the EPA reported this week.

Currently, approximately 1000 tests are carried out each year on the 500,000 septic tanks that are in Ireland. With over half of those tested failing it would indicate that further testing is required particularly if 26% of septic tanks tested pose a hazard to human health or the environment.

Failure was primarily because of lack of maintenance and desludging with the rest failing because of structural defects. While 80% of failures have been fixed, 18 legal action cases have been taken since the commencement of the Inspection Plan.

Much more awareness is needed on septic tank maintenance and more inspections should be carried out nationally.

The recently launched grant scheme for improvements to failing DWWTS is welcome but it should be made available to all septic tank users.

Grants of up to €5,000 are available to fix DWWTS:

  • that fail under the National Inspection Plan;
  • in High Status Objective Catchment Areas (areas where the goal is to have the highest water quality);
  • where identified by local authorities in Priority Areas for Action (areas where work is being focussed to improve or protect water quality).

Details of the eligibility criteria and level of grant are available on the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government website and from your local authority who administers the grants.

Domestic waste water treatment grants


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