Figures released by the Environmental Protection Agency last week have confirmed that of the 30 septic tanks tested by Leitrim County Council between July 2013 and June 2014, 17 sites failed to meet appropriate standards.
Leitrim County Council exceeded its target number of inspections in 2014 with 30 inspections carried out, however the EPA noted that Leitrim, along with two other Councils, Carlow and Dublin only carried out inspections in the highest risk areas where they were aware of water quality issues.”
The EPA was critical of this approach noting it did not adhere to the risk-based allocation.
While the EPA accepted that “any local authority that wishes to carry out additional inspections in high risk areas may do so under the Plan,” it said this should not be at the expense of completing the full allocation across all risk categories.
The EPA said that it was important to ensure inspections are carried out right across the country, “as systems may cause problems at a local level regardless of the national risk category, and also so that compliance rates may be determined on a national level.”
Of the 17 systems which failed their inspections, three were given advisory notices highlighting a leakage from the system.
12 of the failed systems had unlicensed discharge or inadequate subsoil thickness. Three had issues with surface ponding while five were issued warnings about roof water entering the system.
Issues with operation and maintenance were identified with 9 of the failed 17 septic systems while four were advised to desludge.
13 of the failed systems were ruled a risk to human health or the environment.
As of December 1, 2014, Advisory Notices issued to 13 of the 17 septic tank systems which failed their inspections, were still open. The remaining issues regarding the four other failed systems had been marked as closed.