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Hogan says there is 'no excuse' not to pay septic tank charge

The Environment Minister was speaking after he announced that the mandatory inspection fee for owners of septic tanks was reduced to €5 for the first three months.

Phil Hogan
Phil Hogan
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

ENVIRONMENT MINISTER PHIL Hogan has said that “people have no excuse” not to register their septic tank for inspection.

It follows his announcement yesterday that the inspection charge will reduced when it is introduced in April for the first three months.

The cost of registration will now be €5 for the first three months as an incentive for septic tank owners to register early ahead of the deadline for registration in March of next year. After the first three months, registration will cost €50.

There are over 400,000 septic tanks in Ireland which are now required to be inspected to ensure they comply with European standards following a ruling from the European Court of Justice in 2009 which imposes fines on Ireland unless it complies.

There are fears that the legislation, passed by the Oireachtas last month, unfairly targets rural Ireland and that owners of septic tanks will face further costs if remedial works are needed.

“I’m obliged to implement this particular court ruling. I’m doing so in the most benign way possible,” he insisted on Newstalk’s Breakfast programme this morning.

He said that if work was required on the tank after an inspection is carried out then it would cost around €100 to carry out measures such as desludging.

“That’s not an onerous financial burden on anybody to ensure that we have a good water quality,” he said.

Hogan said that in cases where there is a bigger problem with the septic tank which requires more expensive work, there would be help provided for those on low incomes.

The Minister also dismissed fears from opposition parties that the legislation was unfairly targeting rural people.

Both Fianna Fáil and independent TDs such as Mattie McGrath have harshly criticised the government. McGrath said last month that the proposals were “a discriminatory piece of legislation against rural dwellers.”

“We see this now as unnecessary nonsense and frightening rural people,” Hogan said on Newstalk. “I’m glad to allay these fears of rural people in terms of the cost and in terms of proper response in carrying out the work.”

The Minister also said that around 78,000 households had registered to pay the household charge of €100 which was introduced this year. The deadline for registration for the temporary tax measure is at the end of March.

Explainer: What’s going on with Ireland’s septic tanks?

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Hugh O'Connell

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