A total of 36% of septic tank systems inspected in Donegal failed following a report released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The number of inspections done in Donegal for 2021 was 121, with 36% of these failing.
Meanwhile, the report also showed that 82% of the 274 septic tanks systems that failed between 2013 and 2021, had now been fixed.
For the whole country, 1,147 inspections of septic tanks and other domestic waste water treatment systems were completed by local authorities in 2021.
53% (604) of the systems failed inspection because they were not built or maintained properly. 29% (337) of systems inspected were considered a risk to human health or the environment, because faulty systems can contaminate household drinking water wells and pollute rivers.
Dr. Tom Ryan, Director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said: “If you do not maintain your septic tank, it can contaminate your own or your neighbour’s drinking water well, or your local stream, putting your health at risk and that of your family and neighbours.
“Some of these problems may go unnoticed unless householders check their septic tank and drinking water well. Householders should visually check their septic tank and get their well tested at least annually to satisfy themselves that their septic tank is not posing a risk to the health of their families, their neighbours and the environment. Where problems are detected, householders need to take the necessary steps to fix their septic tanks.”
Local authorities issue advisory notices to householders setting out what is required to fix septic tanks that fail inspection. The report found there were 533 cases where issues notified to householders over two years previously had still not been addressed. The septic tank grant scheme, which was expanded in 2020, offers grants of €5,000 to assist in addressing malfunctioning systems.