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Over half of septic tanks failed their 2020 inspection, says EPA

Over a fifth were also found to be a risk to human life or the environment.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

MORE THAN HALF of septic tanks failed inspection in 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said.

In their Domestic Waste Water Treatment System Inspections 2020 report, released today, 443 (54%) septic tanks and other domestic waste water treatment systems failed inspection because they were not built or maintained properly.

In total, 809 inspections were carried out.

23% of domestic water systems inspected were found to be a risk to human health or the environment, as “faulty systems can contaminate household wells and pollute rivers”, the EPA said in a press release.

Dr Tom Ryan, Director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said that households should ensure effluent from their septic tanks isn’t ponding in their garden, leaking into nearby streams or contaminating any drinking water wells. 

“Householders should visually check their septic tank and get their well tested at least annually to satisfy themselves that their septic tank is not posing a risk to the health of their families, their neighbours and the environment,” he also said.

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The Agency also said that three-quarters of systems that failed inspection since 2013 have been fixed. However, at the end of 2020, there were 468 cases that have been ongoing for more than two years.

“Local authorities should focus their efforts to resolve open cases to ensure human health and the environment are protected,” said Noel Byrne, EPA Project Manager.

A grant of €5,000 is available to help fix failing systems as part of a septic tank grant scheme.

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