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Domestic waste water treatment systems (septic tanks)

Registration of domestic waste water treatment systems (Septic tanks)

Households connected to domestic wastewater treatment systems are required to register their systems in line with the Domestic Waste Water Treatment Systems (Registration) Regulations 2012  (SI No. 220 of 2012), as amended by Domestic Waste Water Treatment Systems (Registration)(Amendment) Regulations 2013  (SI No. 180 of 2013). This includes households connected to septic tanks and similar systems.

Households can register and pay online by credit or debit card by creating an account on the Protect Our Water website or in person at their local authority office.

Registration forms are available from:

  • Local Authority Offices
  • Public Libraries
  • Citizen information centres

The registration fee is €50. Householders who have not yet registered should do so as soon as possible as it is an offence for a householder not to register and, if convicted, the penalty is a fine of up to €5,000. The fee covers the costs of administering the register and managing inspections that are carried out under the Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012 .

Registration was introduced to address a European Court of Justice ruling against Ireland in October 2009. More importantly, it will help protect ground and surface water quality, particularly drinking water sources, from risks posed by faulty systems.

All the relevant legislation on domestic waste water treatment systems  is available on our website.

Inspections and performance standards

The basic standard expected for all domestic waste water treatment systems is that they do not cause a risk to human health or the environment. Inspections are carried out to identify treatment systems that do not meet this standard. Irrespective of the age or type of system in place, if there is no evidence of risk to human health or the environment, no action is necessary.  There is no question of imposing modern standards on older systems, or of householders having to acquire additional land to remediate systems arising from an inspection. 

Where an on-site system fails an inspection, the remediation work required is based on factors such as

  • the nature of the problem,
  • the extent of risk to public health or the environment,
  • the existing site size and the hydrological and geological conditions present.

Financial Assistance

A grant may be available to assist in carrying out remediation, repair or upgrading works to, or replacement of, a domestic waste water treatment system that serves a house. Grants are available under the following schemes however, there are restrictions on eligibility under each scheme. 
 

or

or 

In all of the above grant schemes the following criteria apply:

  • The treatment system requiring attention must have been registered by the owner by 1st February 2013, or in the case of treatment systems constructed or installed after this date registration must have been completed within 90 days of connection
  • Grants will not be paid towards the normal costs of ensuring a system is working properly e.g. maintaining, servicing or de-sludging a domestic waste water treatment system.

The three grant schemes are being administered by local authorities on behalf of the Department, you should contact the rural water section in your local authority for application form and further information. 

How do I apply?

The three grant schemes are being administered by local authorities on behalf of the Department, you should contact the rural water section in your local authority for application form and further information. 

Sample documents containing the terms and conditions for each schemes can be found here:

Where can I get further information?

A series of information leaflets about the operation and maintenance of domestic waste water treatment systems, inspections of such systems and the risks to well water quality are also available:

Privacy Notice

The Department is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. This Privacy Notice explains how the Department, as the Data Controller, will process the personal data provided to it in respect of the management and administration of these schemes of financial assistance; how that information will be used, and what rights you may exercise in relation to your personal data.