The Minister for the environment Phil Hogan has announced a grant scheme of up to 80 per cent of repair costs for those earning up to €50,000, up to a maximum of €4,000, and a 50 per cent grant for those earning up to €75,000, up to a maximum of €2,500.
Systems which have not been registered will be at increased risk of inspection., the Department has said.
Inspections are due to begin this year with details being finalised by the Environmental Protection Agency. At the heart of the initiative was the protection of public health and the environment , Gerard O’Leary, director of the Environmental Protection Agency said.
A plea for the Government to extend its deadline until the national inspection plan is published was made by Fianna Fáil environment spokesperson Barry Cowen
“I am again appealing to Minister Hogan to extend the registration deadline to end of April so that the new inspection standards can be published and scrutinised in full,” he said.
A boycott of the charge is being urged by the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes.
Socialist councillor Ruth Coppinger said the grant being given by the government would not cover costs by most people. She urged the State to bring people into the public system or give them a 100 per cent grant. “We should continue the boycott until we get what’s needed….they can’t take 100,000 people to court” she said.
The fee results from a European Court of Justice ruling to regulate the installation and use of septic tanks.
The State was ordered to pay €2 million and a fine of €12,000 per day on December 19th because, the European Commission argued, poorly designed, located or maintained tanks were putting human health at risk due to the danger of pathogens entering drinking water.
A reduced €5 registration fee was available until the end of September but fewer than 40 per cent of septic tank owners availed of the lower rate. The fee is now €50. Registration can be done online, by post or through local authority offices.
According to the 2011 Census, there are 497,281 septic tanks and other on-site waste-water treatment systems in the State.