In previous articles in this series, we have focused on the provisions of the Water Services (Amendment) Bill 2012, which was enacted in January of this year. The purpose of this Act is to ensure that waste water from septic tanks and other individual waste water treatment systems are disposed of without harming the environment or human health. Once registered, septic tanks are subject to inspections if required.

Under the Act, anyone who owns a septic tank or a waste water treatment system needs to register with their Local Authority before the end of March 2013.  This article will focus on the various steps involved in registering a septic tank, the fees payable and the consequences of failing to register.

How do I register my septic tank?

There are a number of ways in which you can register your septic tank.

You may register at your nearest county council office. Once the registration form has been correctly completed, payment of the requisite fee will be taken by a member of staff. Payment in cash, by debit or credit card, postal order, bank draft or cheque will be accepted.

You may register online, by logging onto www.protectourwater.ie and completing the registration form by following the necessary prompts.  The registration fee is payable by credit or debit card.

You may post your completed registration form with the requisite payment to your county council office.  Registration forms are available at all county council offices, Citizen Information Centres and libraries. You may also request that a form be delivered to your home by telephoning 1890 800 800.

How much does it cost to register my septic tank?

Due to a well-publicised change to the draft legislation, Minister Hogan earlier this year bowed to public pressure and confirmed that there would be an introductory reduced fee for those owners of septic tanks who register their septic tanks within a certain time frame. This reduced fee is to encourage early registration.

The reduced fee of €5.00 applies  provided that you register before 26th September 2012. If you fail to register before 26th September 2012, the full registration fee of €50.00 applies.

What happens next?

Once registration has been processed, a certificate of registration will be sent to you by post.  This certificate of registration lasts for a period of five years. Once five years have lapsed since the initial registration, it is necessary to re-register. However, there no fee payable on subsequent registrations.

It is expected that inspections of registered septic tanks will commence in 2013 and the focus will be on septic tank systems that are believed to pose a risk to water sources. Where remedial works are required, the local authority will issue an advisory notice to the owner. It is the responsibility of the owner to carry out the remedial works.

What happens if I don’t register?

Failure to register is an offence, and the maximum penalty applicable is a fine of €500.00.