Septic tank grant in the Republic of Ireland more than doubles

Septic tanks grants to double in the Republic of Ireland

Ireland is doubling grants for homeowners to upgrade their failing septic tanks, from €5,000 to €12,000, starting January 1, 2024. The move is intended to encourage more people to repair, upgrade, or replace their septic tanks after a report showed that half of all septic tanks inspected in Ireland are failing.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report also found that 20% of septic tanks inspected last year posed an immediate risk to human health and the environment. Failing septic tanks can release raw sewage into gardens, fields, and local water sources, including drinking water wells.

Inspection rates for septic tanks remain low, with only 1,143 inspected last year. Local authorities are responsible for inspections and maintaining a register of septic tanks, but not all tanks are registered.

To apply for a grant, homeowners must have their septic tank registered. However, the new changes remove the requirement that the tank must have been registered before 2013.

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said the changes will help households, particularly those in rural Ireland, by easing the financial burden of upgrading, repairing, or replacing their septic tanks. He said the changes will also encourage more people to avail of the grant and help reduce the risk of environmental impact from defective tanks.

The move comes amid growing concerns for water quality in Ireland’s rivers and the fish and other wildlife dependent on them. A national inspection plan for septic tanks was announced last year, which states that at least 1,200 inspections must take place each year. Inspections will focus on areas near rivers and areas with shallow soils, with a greater risk to water quality and household wells.

Around 200 householders received grants last year, at a total cost of around €1 million.

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