TD: Rollout of septic tank grants ‘ridiculous’ in rural areas

Chairman of the Rural Independent Group of TDs, Mattie McGrath, has described the introduction of septic tank grants as “ridiculous” as many people are ineligible due to geographical location.

On January 1st this year, changes to the grant came into effect, increasing the maximum grant amount available from €5,000 to €12,000.

“The funding increase was announced with great fanfare last November, but if people don't qualify for it, it will stick with them,” said Deputy McGrath.

The Ministry of Housing, Local Government and Heritage has published a map showing which parts of the country are eligible for the grant.

People who live in areas marked green can apply.

The yellow zone is a “buffer zone,” meaning people in these areas may be eligible to apply for a subsidy. People in the red zone are not eligible.

The National Inspection Grant is available to households that have failed an inspection carried out by a local authority under the National Inspection Plan and have received a notification.

The Priority Area for Action Grant is available to a homeowner whose home sewer system is in a Priority Area for Action.

The High Status Objective Catchment Area Grant is available to households whose domestic wastewater treatment facility is located in high status objective catchment areas.

Expansion of subsidies for septic tanks

In a parliamentary question, the MP asked Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan whether he would expand the scope of septic tank grants so more rural homeowners could benefit.

Minister Noonan said the ministry will launch a new water action plan in which it aims to “significantly” expand the number of action areas and high-level target areas.

“This is due to the deteriorating quality of our water and catchments.

“The action plan will foresee and anticipate that we will significantly increase the level of inspections and actions to address these issues,” the minister said.

He added that around 165,000 households use septic tanks to treat wastewater.

“The policy of providing grants for septic tank rehabilitation work arises from the need to address damage to water quality, particularly in sensitive areas,” Minister Noonan said.

Deputy McGrath said he “believes” there are more than 160,000 septic tanks in the country.

“When people call about a problem with their tank costing €10,000 or even €20,000 for some of the new infiltration systems that have been installed, they are in a difficult situation.

“If you are in a city or big city that is connected, you are fine, but it is a tedious task.

“All the homeowners I know want to keep their septic tanks in good working order, don’t want pollution or odors and do their best to maintain them,” said Deputy McGrath.

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