TV3 ran with a rather sensationalist advertisement for one of their Topical shows Midweek , rural Ireland under attack the byline was because of septic tank charges… Which made me want to launch a full scale nuclear attack on TV3’s studio in Ballymount.
The Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan, has announced a reduced inspection fee of €5 for the first three months to act as an incentive for owners to register early. This is about the environment first and foremost not about collecting stealth taxes. Septic tanks do leak and cause huge environmental damage largely due to not being properly maintained.
Fianna Fail’s Septic Tank Performance Standards which they circulated to 180 stakeholders in 2010 shows that their objections to the legislation is a fine piece of political hypocrisy .
Fianna Fail were suggesting a universal inspection regime, unlike the current risk-based system. Part of their criteria was based on the Environmental protection agency Code of Practice guidelines published in 2009. Minister Hogan has said on the record a number of times that there is no question of people having to upgrade their septic tanks to comply with the EPA’s 2009 Code of Practice. That only applies to new tanks being installed.
A modest fee must be charged to cover the costs of administration of the register by the water services authorities and of the inspections to be carried out. The Primary legislation specifies that the maximum fee payable will be €50. However, in order to incentivise early registration, the Minister has indicated that a reduced fee of €5 will apply for three months (until 30th June).
Now that the Government have a better idea of the practical approach that will be taken to the inspections, it is not considered that the revenue foregone as a result of the reduced fee will impact to any significant degree on the implementation of the new legislation. The vast majority of inspections will be carried out by local authority personnel who are already salaried employees of the authorities.