Wastewater legislation for single houses

Regulation of domestic wastewater treatment systems

This is an image of a Wastewater treatment system in relation to a house and percolation system ‌‎

The Department of Environment, Community and Local Government (DoECLG) has published the Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012 to regulate wastewater discharges from all homes that are not connected to the public sewer network.

This is as a result of a European Court of Justice (ECJ) judgment made against Ireland in 2009 (Case C-188/08) in relation to the management of domestic wastewater treatment systems.

What does the new legislation mean?

This ruling has implications for some 440,000 wastewater treatment systems serving single houses in Ireland. The Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012 includes registration and inspection arrangements. This means that all on-site septic tank systems or domestic wastewater treatment systems will have to be registered.

The Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) has developed a central on-line registration system and will manage the system on a shared-service basis for the Water Services Authorities.

To register please follow the link http://www.protectourwater.ie or contact your local authority office.

All existing DWWTS should have registered by the 1st February 2013, if you have not registered you may still do so, see www.protectourwater.ie for more information.

All new developments where a DWWTS is constructed or installed shall ensure that the system is registered with the WSA within 90 days of connection of the premises to the DWWTS (S.I. 180 of 2013).

What role will the EPA play?

The EPA is responsible for the development of a national inspection plan. The EPA uses a risk-based approach to prioritise areas of higher risk to human health and water quality. This approach assigns resources to where they are needed and delivers the best outcome for public health and the environment cost effectively. 

The EPA has a supervisory role in relation to each local authority's performance of its functions.  It is responsible for the establishment and maintenance of a register of inspectors which is made available to the local authorities.

Where can I find out more?

DoECLG have more information about the Act on their website. We have also produced a list of Frequently Asked Questions on the latest information available on the Act.

See www.protectourwater.ie for more information on the registration process.

There are a number of things you can do to ensure that your septic tank or domestic wastewater treatment system is working properly.

See existing guidance on domestic waste water systems for single houses.