Those wishing to build a one-off- rural home in Leitrim could face a €55,000 bill to allow them to meet strict new waste water treatment requirements.
Eight years ago the Environmental Agency Protection (EPA) guidelines on wastewater were introduced and since then planning for one-off homes has all but come to a standstill in Leitrim. Only a few sites can meet the T90 test requirements for development.
Yesterday (Wednesday), those interested in taking part in a pilot programme to road test a possible waste water treatment solution in Co Leitrim, met with management of Leitrim County Council.
However it has now emerged that the proposed wastewater treatment system proposed for pilot scheme will cost in the region of €55,000, something local councillor, Caillian Ellis, has described as "absolutely outrageous".
"I know several people who were interested in this pilot project because they wanted to build here in Leitrim, but when they heard the potential cost of the system they would have to put in place, they were totally shocked," he told www.leitrimobserver.ie
"It is totally unacceptable for any young couple who wants to build to have to put this kind of money into a waste water treatment system. Totally unacceptable. That is half the cost of what building an average house would be. It is crazy, who would have that kind of money here in Leitrim?
"The people who have come up with the cost of this system must not be living in the real world at all. There has to be some other way of providing a solution to this that won't cost such a huge amount."
When asked if a grant was possibility, Cllr Ellis said that there had been "no indication any grant would be made available to help people meet this cost".
He also pointed out that if the proposed waste water pilot system did not work then he understood, it would be left to the householder to pay for a way to ensure the house met the strict EPA guidelines.
"This is completely unfair. We are asking people to finance a very expensive system for a pilot scheme and then, if the scheme doesn't work, we are expecting them to pay even more money to find a solution," he said.