Proposed plan for septic tank inspections needs more detail and transparency

Ian Carey News, Submissions

The Environmental Pillar, a coalition of 26 national environmental groups, has expressed its disappointment that the Government’s proposed National Inspection Plan for Domestic Waste Water Treatment Systems does not contain enough detail to allow a meaningful public discussion.

Charles Stanley-Smith, spokesperson for the Environmental Pillar, said:

‘When you think about the potential risks to our health and environment, it’s extremely important that we have a proper national plan for septic tanks. That’s why the government needs to be very clear about what their plan involves and that’s why the public should have access to sufficient information to be part of the process.’

The proposed National Inspection Plan was released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in early October. In a submission to the EPA, the Environmental Pillar has urged the government to:

– adopt clear targets and timelines in the Inspection Plan,
– provide greater transparency in the proposed risk-based approach,
– submit the Inspection Plan to a Strategic Environmental Assessment, and
– highlight the opportunities for job growth and energy generation related to domestic waste water treatment.

The push for the creation of a national plan on domestic waste water systems in Ireland has come from the European Commission, which has repeatedly directed successive Irish Governments to bring our waste water laws and regulations into line with European standards.

Mr Stanley-Smith said, ‘We welcome the Commission’s continued focus on Ireland’s waste water system regulations as it is clearly in the best interests of the Irish people and the Irish environment. Given Ireland’s upcoming EU Presidency in January 2013 and our international image as a ‘clean and green’ country, it’s not in our interests to be found wanting on such a fundamental issue as sanitation.’

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More information
The Environmental Pillar’s submission in response to the National Inspection Plan for Domestic Waste Water Treatment Systems can be downloaded here
The EPA’s National Inspection Plan for Domestic Waste Water Treatment Systems can be downloaded from the EPA website
Ian CareyProposed plan for septic tank inspections needs more detail and transparency