“The proposed Water Services Amendment Bill to enable inspection of septic tanks is part of the further privatisation of public services. The local authorities already know that all houses not connected to a public sewer dispose of effluent to a cess pit, septic tank or package treatment plant so what is this registration process for other than to get the charge accepted so that it can be increased in the future?
“The local authority Water Services already have staff capable of compiling all the information required in relation to the type of system in use and the associated percolation areas. In addition, the legislation proposes that the local authorities be ignored again as the EPA will organise an inspection service – application fee to register as inspector is €1,000 This is all part and parcel of the plan to privatise the water services which will inevitably impose more costs on householders already stretched to the limit.
“Eamon O’Cuiv has made similar points but has some neck given his party’s role in government and on local authorities over the past decades where they used Section 4 legislation to overturn planning advice. The failure of FF, FG the Greens and Labour in Government during this period has created the situation whereby probably 50% of the individual house treatment systems are not compliant with many not having any secondary treatment.
“When these systems inevitably fail the initial inspection the house owner will be faced with significant works to enable compliance with the EPA standards – a new septic tank and percolation system, testing of soil for infiltration characteristics, civil engineering works and professional fees.
“Taxpayers in rural areas- not all rural residents – can justifiably feel hard done by given that billions have been spent during the past decade on upgrading of waste water treatment systems to benefit urban areas.
“While the upgrading of septic tanks and other treatment systems is definitely needed, the attempted privatisation should be resisted.
“Better by far, that a government task force employ thousands of the unemployed engineers, technicians and other building workers to systematically inspect and remediate the treatment systems throughout the country and to connect as many as possible to public sewers and ugrade or new public waste water treatment plants.
“Where’s the money going to come from? The €715 million of bankers debt handed over to unknown bondholders by Fine Gael and Labour this week would have made a good start.”