Malfunctioning septic tanks are the 6th biggest pressure on waterbodies.

The EPA published its septic tank inspection report this week that showed a 50% failure rate. This is a very similar result to previous years so more needs to be done to address this issue, particularly as domestic waste water treatment systems are the 6th biggest pressure on water quality. Often septic tanks are located close to household wells and this poses a further risk to public health.

Domestic waste water treatment systems collect, treat and discharge waste water from households that are not connected to public sewerage systems. They must be registered with the Local Authority. Local Authorities inspect approximately 1200 of the nearly 500,000 septic tanks across the country each year.  The EPA report published this week shows the results from the 2023 inspections and follow up outcomes.

In January this year, the Government increased the maximum payments for septic tank improvements by 140% – rising to €12,000 from €5,000. In addition, the previous qualifying condition that the septic tank must be registered with the Local Authority prior to 1 February 2013, has been removed making more houses eligible.

How to get grants?

The grants are available to assist householders with the cost of works for the remediation, repair, upgrade, or replacement of a domestic waste water treatment system (DWWTS) serving a house. You may be eligible to apply for a grant to your Local Authority if you meet the criteria set out in the Terms and Conditions for the scheme.

Grants are available under three separate schemes:

  • DWWTS grant under the National Inspection Plan
  • DWWTS grant in Prioritised Areas for Action
  • DWWTS grant in High Status Objective Catchment Areas.

Further information:

Septic Tank Inspections Infographic – EPA – –

gov – Domestic waste water treatment systems (septic tanks) (

Enquiries should be addressed to the Rural Water Liaison Officer in the relevant local authority


EPA Inspections report for 2023

Domestic Waste Water Treatment System (DWWTS) Inspections 2023 | Environmental Protection Agency (


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