Thursday, 19 July 2012

Questions (481, 482, 483, 484)

Robert Troy

Question:

486 Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the position regarding the Water Services (Amendment) Bill. [36081/12]

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Dara Calleary

Question:

489 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the implications of the Water Services (Amendment) Bill for existing householders on sites that are restricted in size and in which no extra ground is available to expand a septic tank or to install a new percolation unit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36180/12]

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Niall Collins

Question:

545 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the timeframe for septic tank registration; the fee structure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36856/12]

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Niall Collins

Question:

550 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the communication he has had with the Environmental Protection Agency and An Taisce in relation to the domestic wastewater treatment regulations he recently announced; if he is satisfied it meets the 2009 European Court of Justice judgement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36861/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 486, 489, 545 and 550 together.

The Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012 was signed by the President on 2 February. Registration facilities (both on-line and by written application) have been available to owners of domestic waste water treatment systems since 26 June on foot of the Domestic Waste Water Treatment Systems (Registration) Regulations 2012, a copy of which are available in the Oireachtas library. Householders served by a domestic waste water treatment system have to register their system by 1 February 2013. A reduced registration fee of €5 will apply to those registering on or before 28 September 2012. The fee will then increase to €50.

A public consultation process on draft performance standards for domestic waste water treatment systems was concluded on 30 March. In total, 165 submissions were received and these included a submission from An Taisce. All submissions were thoroughly reviewed by my Department in consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency and informed the preparation of the Domestic Waste Water Treatment Systems Regulations 2012 which I signed on 26 June 2012. I am satisfied that the Act and the associated regulations satisfactorily address the legislative deficit highlighted by the European Court of Justice ruling against Ireland in October 2009 and my Department continues to liaise closely with the EU Commission on the case.

Inspections under the new legislation will commence in 2013. I have stated on many occasions that there is no question of applying modern standards, such as those in the EPA's 2009 Code of Practice, to older domestic waste water treatment systems nor is there any question of additional land being required to facilitate remediation work that might be required.