Dead­line for sep­tic tank charge looms

AD­DI­TIONAL €50 EX­PENSE

Bray People - - NEWS - ES­THER HAY­DEN

IN AD­DI­TION to the prop­erty tax, some homeowners are also li­able for a one-off sep­tic tank charge of €50.

This is due for pay­ment on or be­fore Fe­bru­ary 1 this year. Pay­ment af­ter Fe­bru­ary 1 may lead to pos­si­ble pros­e­cu­tion and a max­i­mum fine of €5,000.

Although gen­er­ally known as the Sep­tic Tank Charge, the of­fi­cial ti­tle is the Water Ser­vices ( Amend­ment) Bill 2011.

The leg­is­la­tion pro­vides for a reg­is­tra­tion and in­spec­tion sys­tem for sep­tic tanks and other domestic waste water treat­ment sys­tems.

Con­trary to pop­u­lar be­lief, it is not just sep­tic tanks that need to be reg­is­tered. Ba­si­cally any prop­erty that is not con­nected to the main sew­er­age sys­tem will be ex­pected to reg­is­ter.

The Sep­tic Tank charge was in­tro­duced in Fe­bru­ary 2012 to ad­dress the Euro­pean Court of Jus­tice rul­ing against Ire­land in Oc­to­ber 2009 and to pro­tect ground and sur­face water qual­ity from the risks posed by mal­func­tion­ing sys­tems.

Reg­is­tra­tion forms are avail­able from Lo­cal Author­ity Of­fices, Pub­lic Li­braries, Cit­i­zen in­for­ma­tion cen­tres, Pro­tect Our Water (Lo- Call 1890 800 800) and the Pro­tect Our Water’s web­site.

Where ap­pli­ca­tion is made in writ­ing, house­holds can pay by cheque, bank draft, postal or­der, or credit or debit card.

House­holds can also reg­is­ter and pay on­line by credit or debit card by cre­at­ing an ac­count on the Pro­tect Our Water web­site.

The €50 fee is payable to cover the costs of ad­min­is­tra­tion by the water ser­vices au­thor­i­ties and of the riskbased in­spec­tions to be car­ried out.

The ba­sic stan­dard to be met by all domestic waste­water treat­ment sys­tems is that they do not cause a risk to hu­man health or the en­vi­ron­ment. The reg­u­la­tions also pro­vide for the op­er­a­tion and main­te­nance of treat­ment sys­tems and set out de-sludg­ing re­quire­ments

In­spec­tions will com­mence af­ter the end of the reg­is­tra­tion pe­riod in 2013 and will be ob­jec­tive and ev­i­dence- based. House­hold­ers can be as­sured that if their sys­tems are work­ing prop­erly and are be­ing main­tained, they need not be con­cerned. There will be a pro­por­tion­ate and risk- based ap­proach to in­spec­tions, which will be tar­geted to­wards ar­eas where drink­ing water sources or habi­tats are at risk from sep­tic tank dis­charges.

Un­like the prop­erty tax sys­tem, there are no ex­emp­tions. All own­ers of premises con­nected to domestic waste water treat­ment sys­tems must reg­is­ter their sys­tem. This in­cludes own­ers of prop­er­ties which are let, whether pri­vate land­lords or lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, and em­ploy­ers who pro­vide liv­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion to em­ploy­ees.

Pro­vi­sion is be­ing made in the Ru­ral Water Pro­gramme 2013 for a grant scheme to pro­vide fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to those house­holds whose domestic waste­water treat­ment sys­tems are deemed, fol­low­ing in­spec­tion, to re­quire re­me­di­a­tion or up­grad­ing.

The level of grant avail­able will be de­pen­dent on the in­come of the house­hold. The grant as­sis­tance will only be avail­able to house­hold­ers who have reg­is­tered their sys­tem by Fe­bru­ary 1 2013.

A cer­tifi­cate of reg­is­tra­tion is valid for five years and the date of ex­piry will ap­pear on the cer­tifi­cate. Re-reg­is­tra­tion af­ter five years is nec­es­sary but there will be no fee payable for sec­ond or sub­se­quent reg­is­tra­tions.

The Sep­tic Tank Charge is due to be paid be­fore Fe­bru­ary 1.

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