Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar
Gnáthamharc

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 23 Mar 2022

Vol. 1019 No. 7

Water Services (Amendment) Bill 2022: First Stage

I move:

That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to provide for the ongoing registration of domestic wastewater systems and to eliminate the requirement to register by a prescribed date in order to enable all householders to register their domestic wastewater systems.

Táimid ag dul ag roinnt dhá nóiméad go leith an duine. Is é an t-ainm atá ar an mBille seo ná An Bille um Sheirbhísí Uisce (Leasú), 2022. Is é an bunús atá leis seo ná nuair a tugadh isteach an tseirbhís uisce in 2012, bhí ar dhaoine amuigh faoin tuath a raibh córais eisilte baile acu clárú roimh dháta áirithe. Murar chláraigh siad roimh an dáta sin, ní raibh siad in ann clárú a riamh go deo ina dhiaidh sin.

Chiallaigh sé sin ar lámh amháin go raibh dualgas dlí orthu agus ar an lámh eile mura ndearna siad é sin roimh thús na bliana 2013, ní raibh siad in ann go deo cloí leis an dlí. Míneoidh mo chomhghleacaí na himpleachtaí a bhaineann leis seo.

Is Bille thar a bheith simplí é seo. Níl ach alt an-ghearr ann. Go deimhin, níl i mbunús an Bhille ach abairt bheag amháin a bhaint as an seanreachtaíocht ach bheadh tionchar mór aige ar go leor daoine amuigh faoin tuath.

Is é ceann de na rudaí go gcaithfimid cuimhneamh air i gcónaí ná gur beag an caiteachas a dhéantar ar chóras eisilte tuaithe ag an Stát. Ní dhéantar ach cúpla céad míle in aghaidh na bliana. Má chuirtear é sin i gcomparáid leis na córais eisilte baile ar fud fad na tíre, áit a gcaitear na billiúin, feictear go bhfuil na daoine faoin tuath ag iompar ualaigh nach bhfuil ar na daoine sa chathair.

Níor cheart go mbeadh an laincis seo orthu maidir leis nach féidir leo clárú agus mar sin, tá mé ag moladh go nglacfar leis an mBille seo le foilsiú agus go gcuirfear faoi bhráid na Dála é. Tabharfaidh mé deis anois do mo chomhghleacaí atá liom ar an mBille seo, an Teachta Murnane O’Connor, cúpla focal a rá.

I am delighted to join with my colleague, Deputy Ó Cuív, in bringing forward this Bill in the House today. It is an important Bill for the thousands of householders excluded from support for the maintenance and repair of their septic tanks because they did not register their septic tanks by a prescribed date.

A registration and inspection scheme was introduced in 2012 for domestic wastewater treatment systems such as septic tanks. A homeowner with a septic tank or similar system must have registered its details with his or her local authority and paid a registration fee by 1 February 2013. Anyone who registered after that deadline is now discovering that he or she is not eligible for any grant if the system is found to need remedial work. One man contacted me recently and said he was facing such an enormous bill for the upgrade of his tank that he had to sell his car. This was a grown man who had to sell his car.

Homeowners who need to upgrade their septic tanks are no longer means tested in high-status water body areas, and there is no grace period for those who may have inadvertently missed the registration deadline to allow them to apply for the grant, means tested or otherwise. The current grant level covers between 50% to 80% and is calculated according to a person's income. That is for repairs and to do the work that needs to be done through the local authority. Local authorities inspect septic tanks roughly every year but half of those inspected fail. These figures of failed inspections come from the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA. That is really worrying.

In addition to agriculture, poorly functioning septic tanks have been found to be the main pressure on water quality. They were considered to be the only cause of water pollution in 40 areas. This is not, therefore, only one house, one problem. It can impact the whole community. It is a disaster, if I am honest.

I hope the Minister will support this Bill to provide for the ongoing registration of domestic wastewater systems and eliminate the requirements to register by a prescribed date in order to enable all households to register their domestic wastewater system and find support, should they need it, for the remedial work. It is important this Bill is passed. A number of people have contacted me who did not register and do not qualify for the grant. I ask that everybody in the House supports this Bill on which I am delighted to have worked with Deputy Ó Cuív.

Is the Bill opposed?

Question put and agreed to.

Since this is a Private Members' Bill, Second Stage must, under Standing Orders, be taken in Private Members' time.

I move: "That the Bill be taken in Private Members' time."

Question put and agreed to.

I congratulate the Deputies on the legislation being initiated.

Barr
Roinn