- 31 October 2012
Recent legislation requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a National Inspection Plan for domestic waste water treatment systems, including septic tanks.The Inspection Plan is currently being developed and it is intended that a risk-based approach to inspections will commence in mid-2013. In the interim, the EPA is consulting and engaging with the public on the likely approach to inspections and how people can prepare in advance.
"We want to help people with simple steps they can take so that when the inspections start there is a greater likelihood of their treatment system passing the inspection," said Gerard O'Leary, Director of the EPA's Office of Environmental Enforcement.
"We have put a great deal of useful information on the EPA website and there has been a very positive reaction to this. The numbers of people visiting the 'frequently asked questions' and looking at the animation we've created show that there is a huge interest among the public in knowing how best to look after their septic tanks."
The EPA will use a twin-track approach to inspection:
•The first part will focus on engagement with the owners of domestic waste water treatment systems to explain to them their responsibilities and give them information and guidance on how to operate and maintain their systems.
•This will then be followed by the inspection process itself. The inspection regime will be pragmatic and risk-based to target resources where they are needed most and to deliver the best outcome for public health and the environment at the lowest possible cost.
"We want to help people to comply," continued Mr O'Leary. "And from calls we are receiving and visits to our website, it is clear that a great number of septic tank owners are conscious of the potential impacts on environment and human health and want to be ready for the inspection process when it starts."