Revelations today that 165,000 homes will be targeted for septic tank inspections have exposed Minister Hogan’s gross understatement about the impact of his controversial Septic Tank Bill, according to Fianna Fáil Environment Spokesperson Niall Collins.
Deputy Collins said: “Minister Hogan and his Government colleagues have consistently attempted to underplay the impact of their controversial Septic Tank Bill on rural dwellers, claiming that only 10% of systems nationwide would be inspected. But according to reports in today’s Irish Independent, 165,000 septic tank owners across the country have already been identified for inspection as they are believed to pose a risk to water sources. Approximately 35,000 of these will be targeted in the first wave of inspections from early next year.
“These homeowners are facing bills of thousands of euro to upgrade or replace their septic tanks. Given that we now have confirmation that the inspection regime will be on a grand scale nationwide, and not minimal as the Minister previously claimed, it is imperative that a system of grant aid is put in place. Rural dwellers cannot be expected to bear the entire cost of upgrades themselves, when urban dwellers are not expected to pay such costs as the State heavily subsidises sewerage schemes.
“From the beginning, Minister Hogan has refused to be honest with septic tank owners about what his legislation means for them and what costs they are facing as a result. He rammed his Bill through the Oireachtas while blocking debate on crucial issues such as the inspection standards that will apply. He has been exceptionally light on the detail, and has sought to mislead the public on a number of occasions about what he has announced. His refusal to answer the basic questions and concerns of septic tank owners has created fear and confusion among thousands of homeowners.
“It’s time for a new approach. The Government must address the real concerns of septic tank owners and listen to their calls for State support,” said Deputy Collins.