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A Septic Tank provides an effective way of treating wastewater from toilets from a house or several houses which are not connected to the mains drainage system.

A Septic Tank works like a simple sewage treatment works and the treated effluent drains from the tank’s outlet pipe normally to a soak away. Waste material is allowed to settle in the tank and is digested by natural bacteria which must be allowed to breed within the tank. Over time partially-decomposed solids build up on the bottom of the tank. This sludge has to be removed regularly to make sure the tank continues to work properly and to prevent the soak away becoming choked.

Click on a question below to get some more answers.

  • What does the service consist of?
    RILTA Environmental carry out the following as part of our service

    • 1. Empty your Septic Tank / Treatment System
    • 2. Dispose of sludge from the tank to a Licensed/Permitted Treatment Facility listed on our Waste Collection Permit
    • 3. Issue a Certificate of Disposal to the householder
  • How do I register my Septic Tank?
    Householders can now register their treatment systems. Online – www.protectourwater.ie – by credit card/debit card. By Post: Registration forms are available online; from City/County Councils; Libraries; Citizen Information Centres or Lo Call 1890 800 800. It was necessary to register on/before 1st February 2013 to ensure that you are eligible for Grant Aid should your Septic Tank fail inspection and require remedial work.
  • What can I expect from an inspection?
    Inspections will be objective and evidence-based. Householders can be assured that if their systems are working properly and are being maintained, they need not be concerned. There will be a proportionate and risk-based approach to inspections, which will be targeted towards areas where drinking water sources or habitats are at risk from Septic Tank discharges.
  • When did the inspections start?
    The inspections started in 2013. Householders should take care not to allow uninvited persons, or persons claiming to be Septic Tank inspectors, to enter onto their property in advance of the launch of inspections. Householders will be formally notified by their local authority if their domestic waste water treatment system is to be inspected and inspectors will be required to carry identification and to present this on request to householders.
  • Will my existing system be expected to meet the 2009 Code of Practice?
    The Department of Environment have stated “There is no question of imposing modern standards, for example those set out in the EPA’s 2009 Code of Practice, to older systems.” Nor is there any question of householders having to acquire additional land to facilitate remediation work. Where an on-site system fails an inspection, the remediation work required will be based on factors such as the nature of the problem, the extent of risk to public health or the environment, existing site size and the hydrological and geological conditions present.
  • Will there be financial support available to those who require it?
    In December 2012, The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Mr. Phil Hogan, T.D., has announced a grant scheme to provide financial assistance to households whose Septic Tanks and other domestic waste water treatment systems, require remediation or upgrading following inspection under the Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012.
  • How often should a Septic Tank / Treatment Plant be emptied?
    The EPA recommend that Septic Tank / treatment plants need to be emptied every 1 to 2 years, depending on tank size, number of people using the system, manufacturers requirements and the amount and type of solids entering the tank.
  • How do I know my Septic Tank is failing?
    Anytime your Septic Tank is not treating and disposing of sewage in an effective manner, the system is failing.
    Look for the following signs:

    • Sewage is backed up in your drains or toilets
    • Slow draining sinks, baths and toilets
    • Waste-water on the ground surface above and near the sewage system
    • Overgrown grass over/around the Septic Tank
    • Strong odours around your house
    • Excessive growth of aquatic weeds and algae in surface waters surrounding your house
    • The presence of nitrates or bacteria in your drinking well test results
  • Why should I maintain my Septic Tank?
    There are three important reasons for maintaining your Septic Tank:

    • It saves you money long term (cost of repairs/replacement)
    • Untreated sewage water contains disease-causing bacteria that could affect you, your family, and the environment (groundwater, wells etc.)
    • Contamination of water bodies by faulty Septic Tanks affects the economy. Water pollution, offensive odours, fish contamination etc. all have a detrimental effect on tourism and the economic viability of the surrounding area

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