An Taisce wish to make the following submission as part of the Consultation on the Code of Practice: Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Systems Serving Single Houses.

The current situation with domestic wastewater treatment systems (DWWTS) in Ireland is far from ideal. In 2017, 43% of the 195 groundwater monitoring sites had a sample contaminated with one or more E. coli, indicating contamination of groundwater by faecal matter. This is particularly worrying given that many private water supplies abstract from groundwater with limited or no treatment.

In addition, under the National Inspection Plan, of 1110 septic tanks inspected in 2016, 49% failed, due to lack of desludging, and operation and maintenance issues. According to 2011 census statistics, over 80% of households in rural areas (accounting for one third of Ireland’s population) treat and dispose of wastewater effluent onsite (CSO, 2012) There are an estimated 500,000 septic tanks in Ireland, and if the trend found in 2016 is accurate, that means roughly a quarter of a million septic tanks are potentially malfunctioning. Public health and water quality are threatened when domestic wastewater treatment systems fail to operate satisfactorily. As such, it is imperative that DWWTS are carefully designed, installed and maintained. In this regard, An Taisce welcomes this updated Code of Practice (CoP), which benefits greatly from recent research on the topic.

Download the submission here.