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Phil Hogan insisted the legislation allowing mandatory septic tank registrations was urgently required to avoid European fines, but the legislation has not yet been activated. Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
septic tanks

Registration for septic tank inspections may begin this month

The Department of the Environment says testing for the delayed registration is underway, and the rollout could be soon.

ONLINE REGISTRATIONS for householders to register to have their septic tanks may be open before the end of the month, the Department of the Environment has said.

A spokesman for the Department told TheJournal.ie that testing for the registration system – which was originally intended to begin in April, immediately after the deadline for household charge registrations – was underway.

Assuming the beta testing went to plan, the public registration would begin within the next fortnight, the spokesman said.

Commenting that the intended April rollout date had been given only as “an estimate”, he said: “It’ll be ready when it’s ready.”

“We want to makes sure the system is working properly,” he said.

The Department has previously affirmed that the people registering for inspections within the first three months will be able to do so for a reduced fee of €5, with a standard registration fee of €50 kicking in afterwards.

The spokesman said a full media campaign advertising the beginning of the registration system would be commenced whenever the registration system for ready for public use.

He added that a facility allowing householders to pay the €5 or €50 charge over the counter at their local authority offices was also being considered.

The delay comes despite government insistence that the legislation underpinning the charge was urgently needed in order to avoid fines resulting from a ruling of the European Court of Justice, which in 2009 had found that Ireland’s failure to enforce septic tank standards was in breach of an EU directive dating back to 1975.

Though it was signed into law in early February, the legislation does take formal effect until a commencement order is signed by Phil Hogan, who indicated in April that this would be delayed because of an unforeseen delay in setting up the registration system.

The manner in which the legislation was pushed through the Oireachtas led to rows between the government and opposition sides, with the government saying it would face immediate fines if it did not have the legislation enacted by February 3.

This deadline was disputed by opposition parties and by the European Commission itself, however.

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