Nearly half of septic tanks inspected in Longford falling below required standards

Almost half of the septic tanks inspected by Longford County Council last year failed to meet appropriate standards.

Longford fared better than most counties, of the 11 domestic wastewater treatment systems tested there was a 45% failure rate compared to the national average of 53% failure rate.

The EPA report ‘Domestic Waste Water Treatment Systems Inspections 2021’ showed that local authorities across Ireland carried out 1,127 inspections, of which 604 failed.

According to the report, the national failure rate “poses a threat to the environment and human health.”

Authorities completed investigations under Ireland’s National Inspection Scheme, which was put in place in 2013. The error rate has remained high since the system was introduced.

The Water Services Act of 2012 provided for the introduction of a national inspection system for domestic waste water treatment systems (DWWTS) such as septic tanks and other waste water treatment systems.

All Longford County inspections are conducted by trained inspectors employed by Longford County Council. Selected septic tank owners will be notified in writing by the County Council approximately 10 days prior to the proposed inspection date.

The report highlights that 49 Longford DWWTS failed inspections between 2013 and 2021. He points out that 94% of those outages will have been resolved by the end of 2021.

Neighbors Cavan (32%) and Westmeath (26%) fared better, but Roscommon (79%) and Leitrim (89%) had the highest default rates in the country.

dr Commenting on the report, Tom Ryan, director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement, said: “Homeowners should ensure that wastewater from their septic tank does not pool in their yard, flow into nearby streams, or contaminate their drinking water.

Households should visually inspect their septic tank and have their well tested at least once a year to ensure their septic tank does not pose a risk to the health of their families, their neighbors and the environment.”

The 2020 Expanded Septic Tank Grant Program offers €5,000 in grants to help troubleshoot malfunctions.

Noel Byrne, EPA program manager, said: It is important that households repair septic tanks when problems are identified. There is a grant program that helps households repair broken septic tanks. Local authorities should focus their efforts on resolving open cases to ensure human health and the environment are protected.”

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