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Written Answers - Water and Sewerage Schemes

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 752 No. 2

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 171.  Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Philip Hogan Zoom on Philip Hogan  his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding the Water Services Amendment Bill 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3070/12]

 174.  Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government with regard to Information on Philip Hogan Zoom on Philip Hogan  the new proposed regulations regarding septic tanks, the position regarding a person required to carry out large scale works if they fail to meet the required regulations; if they will have to apply to the local authority for planning permission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3085/12]

 175.  Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Philip Hogan Zoom on Philip Hogan  if a person’s septic tank does not meet the required regulations and they live on a site that is less than 0.5 of an acre, if they have to apply for planning permission and if the local authority say that the area of ground was insufficient to deal with the effluent, if he will clarify the result in a case like this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3086/12]

 176.  Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Philip Hogan Zoom on Philip Hogan  if a house owner fails to meet the required standard in the new regulations proposed by him and if remedial works are to be carried out which would involve spending a large sum of money and if the householder has no money and can prove an absolute inability to pay, if he will clarify this case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3087/12]

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 177.  Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Philip Hogan Zoom on Philip Hogan  if he will clarify a matter (details supplied) regarding septic tanks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3088/12]

 180.  Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming  asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Philip Hogan Zoom on Philip Hogan  when a decision will issue on financial assistance being made available to households that will not be in a position to afford the cost of upgrading or replacing their septic tanks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3128/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Philip Hogan Zoom on Philip Hogan I propose to take Questions Nos. 171, 174 to 177, inclusive, 177 and 180 together.

I consider that the appeals procedures provided for in the Bill are adequate. Persons aggrieved by the requirements of an Advisory Notice issued by a water services authority can appeal that decision and seek a re-inspection by an authorised person of a water services authority and, following a re-inspection may subsequently appeal a decision of the water services authority to confirm the advisory notice to the District Court on the grounds set out in the Bill.

With regard to any remediation works required, I have previously signalled my intention to introduce planning exemptions for works arising from the Bill. Any necessary exemptions will be put in place in advance of the commencement of inspections.

It is not intended to apply new standards, for example as set out in the EPA’s 2009 Code of Practice, to older on-site systems as part of the new inspection system. Where an inspection reveals a problem, issues such as existing site size, hydrological and geological conditions etc. will be considered so as to identify the most appropriate and cost-effective remediation works necessary.

My Department will keep under review all possible options to provide financial support to house-holders whose systems are deemed, following inspection, to require substantial remediation or upgrading. Any such support would have to have regard to the overall budgetary situation and to the financial position of individual households.

On 23 November 2011, the European Commission submitted an application to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) seeking the imposition of a lump-sum penalty and daily fines against Ireland for failing to comply with the October 2009 ruling against Ireland. In its submission, the Commission argued that more than enough time had elapsed since the ruling and that the Irish authorities should have achieved compliance already. The Commission requested that the fines, including the daily penalty, should be calculated from the date of the ruling. The deadline for the submission of Ireland’s rejoinder in this case is 3 February 2012. The central strand of Ireland’s defence will be that the necessary legislative measures have been put in place. I am determined to ensure the necessary measures are in place by the time Ireland submits its rejoinder to the ECJ in order to support the defence being presented to the Commission’s application.


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