What to Expect from an Inspection

An inspection programme is being rolled out by local authorities to ensure that domestic wastewater treatment systems, better known as septic tanks, are working properly and not posing a risk to human health or the environment.

The following outlines the general steps that are followed during the inspection process:

  • Each local authority reviews the risk maps and identifies areas of concern within their functional area.
  • They then select individual properties from inspections.
  • They notify the householder in writing of the inspection.  They must give at least 10 working days' notice.
  • They will arrange a suitable date for inspection with the householder but the inspection can proceed without the householder being present.

The inspector will carry identification and will check:

    • Whether the system is registered;
    • If the system is leaking;
    • If the system components are in working order;
    • If effluent is ponding on the surface of the ground;
    • If the system is discharging directly to surface water without a licence;
    • If the effluent is being properly treated or being discharged directly to groundwater;
    • 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 inspector will inform the householder of the results of the inspection at the time of the inspection,
    • If the system passes the householder will receive a certificate of compliance.  Please retain this for future reference.
    • If the system fails the inspection, an advisory notice will be issued to the householder.  It will state the reason for failure and advise what works will need to be carried out.
    • If the householder does not agree with the findings of the inspection they can request a re-inspection by contacting the local authority and paying a fee of €20.