The Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012 assigns responsibility to the EPA to make a National Inspection Plan for domestic wastewater treatment systems. The National Inspection Plan 2013: Domestic Waste Water Treatment Systems was adopted and published by the EPA in February 2013. The Plan provides for a minimum of 1,000 inspections to be carried out by the water services authorities (which are the 34 county and city councils) in the 12 month period up to July 2014. Details of the minimum number of inspections to be carried out in each county are included in the Plan.
An IT system, developed by the EPA for use by the water services authorities, underpins implementation of the National Inspection Plan. The system facilitates the selection of treatment systems for inspection, based on the risk to human health or the environment, and captures all information relating to inspections. This will ensure a consistent approach to inspections nationally. Implementation of the Plan is a matter for the individual water services authorities, under the supervision of the EPA. The IT system in use enables individual water services authorities to track progress in completing inspections against the Plan’s requirements and enables the EPA to monitor the progress by all authorities. The EPA has committed to review the implementation of the National Inspection Plan in 2014.
To date, no applications for recoupment of grants made by the local authorities towards the remediation of failing domestic wastewater treatment systems have been submitted to my Department by those authorities. As neither I nor my Department have any direct role in monitoring implementation of the National Inspection Plan, I have no information on the number of inspections carried out to date or on the results of those inspections.