Inspections of Septic Tanks

The Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012 requires the EPA to produce a National Inspection Plan.  The Plan outlines the approach to be taken with respect to inspections.  The Plan sets out a two pronged approach, focusing on raising owner awareness and responsibility, and on the inspection process.

Why are they being carried out?

Inspections are being carried out to make sure that DWWTSs do not pose a risk to human health or the environment.  Owners of DWWTSs are obliged to properly operate and maintain their systems as required under the Water Services Act, 2007 and Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012.

How many inspections will be carried out and will I be inspected?

A minimum of 1,000 inspections are to be carried out each year across the country by Local Authority inspectors.

Local authorities will determine the areas where inspections will be carried out at a local basis.  They will use the risk information and locations of sensitive receptors such as bathing waters and drinking water supplies to prioritise the areas of inspection. If you want to know the risk category for your area you can access the EPA's GIS maps.

The local authority will write to you 10 days in advance of any inspection. You cannot request an inspection by the local authority. There is no fee for the first inspection carried out by the local authority.

Who will inspect the system?

Inspectors will be local authority employees and be appointed as inspectors by the EPA once they meet the criteria set out in the legislation.  The EPA maintains a list of appointed inspectors.

Householders should not allow any person to enter their property to examine their DWWTS unless they have received prior notification in writing from their local authority that their system is to be inspected. Any person claiming to be from a local authority should be asked for official identification.

What will be inspected?

The inspections are intended to find out if your DWWTS poses a risk to you and your family’s health and the environment.  They will consist of  a visual check to make sure that the DWWTS is not leaking nor has an unauthorised discharge, that it is properly operated and maintained and that it has been emptied of excess sludge when required. 

Find out what to expect from your inspection on our animation video

Will I get a copy of the inspection report?

Yes you will receive a copy of the inspection report within 21 days of the inspection.

What happens if my septic tank (treatment system) fails an inspection?

If your septic tank fails the inspection you will be notified immediately by the Inspector, a copy of the inspection report will issue to you within six weeks and it will be accompanied by an Advisory Notice, which sets out the reason for the non-compliance and advises what next steps you need to take. If you are not satisfied with the inspection report you may request a re-inspection using the  form in S.I. No. 189 of 2013 and by paying the €20.00 re-inspection fee.  Please read the advice and guidance notes on remediation and replacement of DWWTS.

Is there a grant available?

The Minister of Environment, Community and Local Government has announced a grant scheme.  Grants are available for the carrying out of remediation, repair or upgrading works to, or replacement of, a domestic waste water treatment system, where such remediation, repair, upgrading or replacement arises directly from an inspection and subsequent issue of an advisory notice under the Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012. At a minimum the DWWTS requiring remediation must have been registered by the owner of the premises connected to it by the prescribed date of 1st February 2013. There are also income limits regarding availability of the grant. More details are available from the DECLG.        

Learn More

Information leaflets published by Department of Environment, Community and Local Government (DECLG)

View further information on our destop site for information on inspections, guidance, grants, complaints

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