'It could put your health at risk': 60% of septic tanks fail inspection in Cork

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday published its 2021 report of domestic waste water treatment (DWWT) system inspections.
'It could put your health at risk': 60% of septic tanks fail inspection in Cork

Closed septic tank cover in a backyard. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday published its 2021 report of domestic waste water treatment (DWWT) system inspections.

IN Cork, 60% of septic tanks failed inspections in 2021, with many posing risks to people’s health and the environment.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday published its 2021 report of domestic waste water treatment (DWWT) system inspections.

There are nearly half a million DWWT systems in Ireland, mostly septic tanks, of which Local authorities inspected 1,147 in 2021.

Nationally, 53% of systems failed inspection and 29% were considered a risk to human health or the environment.

In Cork county, 60% of tanks inspected failed due to operational or structural defects. In Cork City, 33% of inspected systems did not pass the test.

However, by the end of the year, all of the failed systems in Cork City had been fixed and 86% of systems that failed inspection across the county were fixed.

Warnings

The EPA has warned that high failure rates showed that many systems posed a risk to people’s health and the environment. It also expressed concern about the failure to fix some septic tanks identified as broken or malfunctioning.

EPA office of environmental enforcement director Tom Ryan warned that problems with DWWT systems may go unnoticed without regular checks on septic tanks and drinking water wells.

“If you do not maintain your septic tank, it can contaminate your own or your neighbour’s drinking water well or your local stream, putting your health at risk and that of your family and neighbours,” he said.

“Householders should visually check their septic tank and get their well tested at least annually to satisfy themselves that their septic tank is not posing a risk,” he added.

The septic tank grant scheme, which was expanded in 2020, offers grants of €5,000 to help address malfunctioning systems.

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