Staff from the Environmental Services of the Council do not carry out septic tank inspections under the National Inspection Plan.
Domestic waste water treatment systems (DWWTS) accept waste water from toilets, showers, sinks, wash hand basins, washing machines and dishwashers. Domestic sources of phosphorus are human waste, laundry detergents and cleaning products.
The risk to human health from pathogens in domestic waste water is significantly higher in areas with a high density of DWWTSs and inadequate percolation; and in vulnerable areas with private wells.
Sludge must be removed from the tank periodically (the frequency will depend on the system’s size and use) by a permitted waste collector.ie. A list of permitted waste collectors is available at www.nwcpo.ie
Water Services Acts 2007 and 2012 (Domestic Waste Water Treatment Systems) Regulations 2012 is the legislation that the septic tanks inspections are carried out under. The Environmental Health Officers (EHO) carry out the inspections for Monaghan Co Council in accordance with the National Inspection Plan produced by the EPA. A greater number of inspections will be targeted in high risk areas as compared to low risk areas, and unregistered sites will be the initial target
The Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012 places general duties on owners of premises connected to a domestic waste water treatment system to ensure that their treatment system is operated and maintained properly so that it does not pose a risk to human health or the environment. Owners must comply with the advisory notice if their system fails an inspection. Owners of homes that are not connected to the public sewer are required to register their treatment system with ‘Protect Our Water’ which is the registration service operated on behalf of local authorities.
The EHS’s will notify the owner 10 days in advance of the inspection. Specially trained local authority inspectors will carry identification and will check that the treatment system, as constructed, is fit for purpose and is not giving rise to a risk to public health or the environment.
The inspector will check:
- whether the system is registered
- if it is leaking
- if the system components are in working order
- if effluent is ponding on the surface of the ground, if it is discharging direct to surface
- water without a licence.
- if rainwater or clean surface water is entering the system.
- whether the system is being properly operated and maintained.
- if the system has been de-sludged and if the system is being managed in a manner
- that does not adversely affect the environment.
The owner will be notified about the findings of the inspection within 21 days. If the system is deemed to pose a risk to either public health or the environment the EHO will issue an Advisory Notice within 21 days.
The main provisions of the Advisory Notice will:
- State that the owner of the premises has contravened regulations
- State that the domestic waste water treatment system constitutes a risk to human health or the environment
- State the reasons for that opinion; and Direct the owner to remedy the matters specified in the notice by a specified date
The Advisory Notice will not specify the exact remedial works to be undertaken. As each case is site specific the owner of the DWWTS may be required to seek expert technical advice.