Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Questions (978)

Peter Burke

Question:

978. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the grant schemes available for private wells and septic tanks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23780/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

On 8 February this year, I announced details of the measures being funded through my Department under the Multi-annual Rural Water Programme 2019-2021. This included improved funding schemes for individual wells (more commonly known as private or household wells) and on-site wastewater treatment systems (more commonly known as septic tanks).

The composition of the new multi-annual programme is based on recommendations from the Working Group that I established in April 2018 to conduct a review of investment needs and rural water services. The changes that I have approved to the individual wells grant scheme are, as follows:

- A maximum grant for rehabilitation works of €3,000, which represents an increase of 47% on the current maximum grant amount;

- Where the local authority agrees that the most appropriate solution is to provide a new well, the maximum grant payable would be €5,000;

- Recognising the role of the grant in improving quality, the water quality treatment element (typically filtration and UV filtration) will qualify for 100% funding up to a maximum of €1,000;

- Up to 85% of other costs would be met, subject to the total combined maximum costs of €3,000 for well rehabilitation or €5,000 for a new well;

- For clarity, applicants would not be able to avail of both grant amounts, so they would not be able to avail of €3,000 for well rehabilitation as well as the €5,000 for a new well.

The new funding scheme for on-site wastewater treatment systems (more commonly known as septic tanks) will replace the grant which was brought into operation by the Domestic Waste Water Treatment System (Financial Assistance) Regulations 2013.  Under certain conditions, households can receive a grant to assist them in carrying out remediation, repair or upgrading works to, or replacement of, their individual domestic wastewater treatment system (septic tank). 

To avail of the grant the treatment system must have been inspected under the EPA’s National Inspection Plan and an Advisory Notice must have been issued by the local authority under the Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012.  Also, the treatment system requiring attention must have been registered by the owner of the premises connected to it by 1 February 2013.

In order to ensure greater uniformity with other measures in the Multi-Annual Rural Water Programme the means test that previously applied to this grant scheme is being removed and the level of grant support is being increased to 85% of the eligible costs of installation/upgrade or €5,000 (up from €2,500/€4,000) whichever is the lesser.  This represents an increase of 25% and 100%, respectively, relative to the current maximum grant levels.

Work is at an advanced stage of development for the funding schemes. I expect that the process will be completed in the coming weeks when the necessary regulations dealing with the financial assistance arrangements and related administrative matters are put in place. This will enable a circular letter, terms and conditions, guidance and application form to issue to local authorities shortly thereafter.