TD warns of ‘stench’ of septic tanks down country lanes

People “cannot go down a rural lane without getting the stench of a septic tank” which makes the issue one of the “biggest challenges” currently facing rural Ireland, according to one TD.

The Fianna Fáil TD for Longford-Westmeath, Joe Flaherty, told the Dáil this week that septic tanks are a “major environmental” issue for rural communities and has called for a “reversal of the current guidelines” governing the septic tank grant scheme.

Earlier this year the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, confirmed an increase in the grants available for Domestic Waste Water Treatment Systems (septic tanks) from €5,000 to €12,000.

But Deputy Flaherty said that at the moment to be eligible to apply, a home must have been pre-selected as part of the national inspection plan or be in a high-status objective catchment area or a priority area for action. 

He added: “I appreciate that the State cannot pay for everybody, but the criteria and the process have to be made much easier for people to seek out the grant.

“Moreover, householders, many of whom are elderly, have to pay in advance for the works and then recoup the grants, which is a further deterrent.”

Septic tanks

The Fianna Fáil TD for Longford-Westmeath also highlighted that while farmers are being “hammered” on the nitrates issue and on water quality there are at the same time “500,000 septic tanks in every county, parish and area across rural Ireland, many of which are defective”.

“If we are serious about the environment, and we have made it a pillar of this Government that are serious about the environment, we need to make a strategic decision and act now on septic tanks. It is an investment in the future.

“It is a small price to pay,” Deputy Flaherty added.

In response to the deputy Minister of State, Thomas Byrne, said the purpose of the septic tank grants is to provide financial assistance to households for works to protect human health and the environment and to help Ireland meet its commitments under the river basin management plan.

Minister Byrne added: “The grant support being provided is focused on the areas of greatest environmental priority to protect human health and the environment and is not general in application.

“Grant support is available for households where there are identified water pollution risks. However, it should be noted that, under the Water Services Act, the owner of a system is responsible for its maintenance and for keeping it in good repair.”

You might also like

Comments are closed.