Septic tanks

Minister Hogan appears to have waived the septic tank registration fee. That is fair and proper. The sewage bill in cities and towns is picked up by the taxpayer too. Either everyone poos for free, or no one. I favour the latter.

The minister has also indicated that inspections of septic tanks will be “risk-based”, and has redefined that concept as “if pollution is found nearby”. Commonly, risk is an ex ante concept. Inspections are supposed to prevent pollution.

Article 13 of the waste directive (2006/12/EC) specifies that inspections be periodic. Unless the department intends to periodically find pollution near each and every septic tank, the proposed inspection regimes will breach EU law.

That would not be a first. Friends of the Earth reviews the history of Irish waste water and EU law. Ireland has been in breach of EU waste law since the original waste directive (75/442/EEC) of 1975. No wonder that the Commission is seeking to impose fines.

UPDATE: The minister is in a particularly generous mood this week: There will be grant aid to upgrade faulty septic tanks.