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National Inspection Plan: Domestic Wastewater Treatment Systems

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently published the latest National Inspection Plan Domestic: Wastewater Treatment Systems. The goal of the third National Inspection Plan is to protect human health and water quality from the risks linked to domestic wastewater treatment plants in Ireland. The period covered is from January 1, 2018, until December 31, 2021.

 

The key message and the objectives of the National Inspection Plan: Domestic Wastewater Treatment Systems

 

CLEAN WATER IS ESSENTIAL

 

Objectives:

  • Proper operation and maintenance of the Domestics Waste Water Treatment Systems (DWTTS).
  • Appropriate management of the DTTW’s sludge
  • Improved public awareness

View the plan find out the risk-based methodology used to select the sites for inspection.

For the National Inspection Plan to achieve its goals (clean water and the protection of human health), a two-strand approach is in place:

  • Engagement strategy (education & awareness for homeowners to maintain their systems)
  • Inspections based on risks (identify system failures & actions to remedy the problems)

 

Planned inspections

  • At least 1,000 inspections per year are scheduled and will be carried out by local authority’s.
  • The EPA appoints the local authority inspectors.
  • The number of inspections allocated to be carried out per county is dependent upon risk, meaning more numerous checks allocated to high-risk areas.

 

National Inspection Plan Domestic: Wastewater Treatment Systems – the selection

The local authorities select targets using the following steps outlined below:

  1. Check the priority ranking map and the number of inspections required.
  2. Select the area for examination based on local knowledge, such as known water pollution.
  3. Selection of the sites for inspection is then finalised (unregistered properties get targeted first).

 

Operation and maintenance of domestic wastewater treatment systems

As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to make sure your wastewater treatment plant or septic tanks get used correctly and are properly maintained. This responsibility includes desulging (emptying) of the tank. This maintenance is essential as when a system is maintained and operating effectively, solids will not enter and clog the percolation area and pipework leading to issues.

The findings highlight the importance of regular maintenance in the results of the national inspection plan for a domestic wastewater treatment system report (2016). Indeed, 50% of the sites failed inspection. Sites generally fail inspection due to operation and maintenance issues.

  • 29% of inspected systems failed due to operation and maintenance issues.
  • 24% of checked systems failed due to lack of desludging.

View full report on the EPA website

 

More information about septic tank regulations and septic tank grants in Ireland.

Find out more information about septic tank regulations and national inspection plans in Ireland, such as your responsibilities, maintenance and the checks carried out during an inspection – Read more here

View more information about the grants available for domestic wastewater treatment systems – Read more here

Other sources of information: guides from the EPA

As part of an engagement strategy, the EPA provides helpful guides aimed at explaining and guiding homeowners.

You can also visit the householder information on septic tank page, which is also full of useful resources.

Contact Tricel with any questions regarding wastewater treatment solutions for your home & EPA inspections.

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