The Water Services Act 2017
requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to produce a EPA National Inspection Plan
for Domestic Waste Water Treatment Systems (DWWTS), also known as septic tank systems.
There are nearly half a million Domestic WWTS in Ireland. The purpose of the plan is to protect human health and water quality from the risks posed by Domestic WWTS. This document is the fourth plan and covers the period 2022 to 2026.
It sets out the background, minimum inspection numbers, risk-based allocation of inspections, requirements for enforcement of advisory notices and for engagement to promote broader compliance. The national inspection plan is implemented by water services authorities who conduct the inspections and engagement activities, under the supervision and with the support of the EPA.
The objective of the EPA National Inspection Plan
is to reduce the risk to human health and water quality by directly engaging with homeowners to determine if their Domestic WWTS is being correctly operated and maintained.
National Inspection Plan – Management by Local Authorities
Inspections are targeted in areas where there is greatest risk to human health and water quality from Domestic WWTS. The following core principles underly the allocation of inspections:
- All areas of the country are covered and are subject to inspection
- Risks to human health (e.g. contamination of household wells or direct exposure to ponded effluent) and the environment (surface and groundwater quality) are considered
- Inspections are prioritised into areas of higher relative risk and
- The methodology is based on the source-pathway-receptor (S-P-R) model
On 4th November 2023, the Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage (DHLGH) issued a revision to the existing Domestic Waste Water Treatment System grant scheme with the publication of the new Regulations which came into effect from 1 January 2024.
In accordance with revised scheme, householders can avail of grants to assist with the cost of works for the remediation, repair, upgrade or replacement of their Domestic WWTS serving their house, where either:
- The householder receives an Advisory Notice, following a failed Local Authority inspection carried out under the EPA National Inspection Plan (NIP)
- The house is situated in a Prioritised Area for Action (PAA), as detailed under the River Basin Management Plan 2018-2021
- The house is situated in a High Status Objective Catchment Area (HSOCA), as detailed under the River Basin Management Plan 2018-2021
The main amendments to the terms and conditions of this grant scheme are:
- An increase in the maximum grant available to €12,000 from €5,000
- Removal of the eligibility requirement for householders to have registered their Domestic Waste water Treatment System with Westmeath County Council before 1st February 2013.
To access details of the grant scheme together with application forms please click the following link:
Contact details for the Rural Water Department of Westmeath County Council:
Telephone: (044) 93 32267
Domestic WWTS Grant Scheme
Rural Water Department
Westmeath County Council
Áras an Chontae