The Domestic Waste Water Treatment Systems (Financial Assistance) Regulations 2013, a copy of which is available in the Oireachtas library, brought into operation a grant scheme to assist with the cost of remediation of domestic waste water treatment systems / septic tanks, which are deemed, following inspection under the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Inspection Plan, to require repair or upgrading.
In April 2018, I established a Working Group to conduct a review of the wider investment needs relating to rural water services. The Group’s aim is to recommend measures to ensure an equality of outcome between those who receive water services from Irish Water and non-Irish Water customers. The Working Group is considering all elements of rural water services including Group Water Schemes, Group Sewerage Schemes, domestic waste water treatment systems / septic tanks and individual domestic water supplies / private wells. This include enhancements to the scheme for septic tanks to better support the programme of measures in the River Basin Management Plan for Ireland 2018 - 2021, published in 2018.
The terms of reference of the review provide for a two-strand approach. Strand 1 was to consider the composition and distribution of funding for the Multi-annual Rural Water Programme 2019-2021. Strand 2 is considering the more complex longer-focus issues surrounding the long-term future resourcing of the rural water sector.
I recently received a report on Strand 1 of the Working Group's deliberations. Following my consideration of its recommendations, I expect to announce details of the programme priorities for the 2019 to 2021 funding cycle shortly. This is to include revisions to the grant scheme for domestic waste water treatment systems / septic tanks.