Septic Tank Registration - IRELAND

Septic Tank Registration and Inspections in Ireland septic tank registration and inspection in Ireland

Under the Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012 Irish water services authorities are required to maintain a register of domestic septic tanks and waste water treatment systems in their own areas.  The Act requires owners of all existing domestic septic tanks and  sewage treatment plant systems to ensure that their tanks are registered in order to protect Ireland's ground and surface waters. All septic tanks and sewage treatment plants should be registered before the deadline of 1st February 2013, after which time non-registered septic tanks will be subject to a fine of up to €5000.

Why register septic tanks at all in Ireland? The State faces the prospect of being fined up to €3.9m by the court for failing to comply with a 2009 European Union judgment ordering it to protect drinking water sources.  If measures are not taken, it could cost Ireland €26,000 a day in fines. The purpose of the registration and inspection system for septic tanks, introduced under the Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012, is to protect ground and surface waters, particularly drinking water sources, from pollution caused by septic tank systems that have problems and which are not up to standard. All owners of premises connected to a domestic septic tank or treatment plant must register them.

What qualifies as a domestic sewage treatment system?  Domestic sewage treatment systems include all septic tanks, sewage treatment plants and wastewater storage tanks receiving, storing, treating or disposing of domestic waste water. It also includes all fittings and soakaway drainfield areas associated with them and waste water drains which discharge from a premises, whether or not a septic tank or other type of tank is present. Some soakaways may be mound septic systems.

Who has to register?  All owners of domestic sewage treatment systems are required to register their systems with their local water services authority.. However, owners of properties connected to larger on-site systems which discharge in excess of 5 cubic metres per day do not need to register. These systems, which serve pubs, hotels, guesthouses, clubs, businesses, etc. require a licence from the local authority under Section 4 of the Water Pollution Act 1997.

Will my septic tank or sewage treatment plant be inspected? A National Inspection Plan is being developed by The Environmental Protection Agency on a 'greatest risk' basis. The septic tanks that are in the most vulnerable areas as far as water pollution is concerned, will be inspected first.  Inspections under the new legislation will start in 2013. You will be contacted by your water services authority if your septic tank is due for inspection and you should take care not to allow anyone claiming to be septic tank inspector, to enter onto your property without seeing his Identification Card. There may be a lot of 'cowboys' jumping on the bandwagon!

What if my septic tank fails the inspection? Repairs willl need to be made to it to bring it up to standard, but in many cases, this will not be possible. Just one county -- Cavan -- has an inspection regime in place at the moment and it found that one-in-three tanks was not working properly. Extrapolating this figure, as many as 210,000 tanks could need work, with the costs likely to be borne by homeowners. Irish sewage treatment companies are suggesting that costs are likely to range between €5000 and €12,000 for remedial works to the tank and drainfield. Ring us on 0044 1757 288022 to discuss cheaper, compliant options if your tank fails, as we have had these regulations for years in the UK and have found ways to deal with the problems. Many Councils give grant aid towards the septic tank upgrades of around €4000.

Are there any exceptional circumstances to avoid having to register? There are no exemptions or exceptional circumstances.. All owners of premises connected to domestic septic tanks and sewage treatment systems must register their system.  Where an owner is unable to register, for example due to physical or mental incapacity, registration on their behalf must be made by the next-of-kin, legal representative or other authorised or proper person.

Who is responsible for registering a property that is let? The OWNER of the property is responsible for the registration, whether private landlords or local authorities etc. and employers who provide living accommodation to employees.

How much is the registration fee? The registration fee is set at €50 after 28th September 2012.

How do I register and pay? You can register your septic tank or sewage plant:

  • Online at and pay by credit card/debit card.
  • By Post: Registration forms are available online; from City/County Councils; Libraries; Citizen Information Centres or Lo Call 1890 800 800. Payment can be made by cheque, postal order or bank draft and made payable to “Protect Our Water". Send your form with payment to: Protect Our Water, P.O Box 12204, Dublin 7.
  • Local Authority Offices: Payment by credit or debit card or by cheque, postal order, bank draft or cash can be made in your City or County Council office.

When is the last date for registration? The last date for registration and fee payment is 01/02/2013.

What if I don't register? It will be a legal requirement to register with a fine of up to €5,000 imposed on anyone who doesn't. Local authorities will be responsible for following-up cases of people who haven't registered their system.

Who gets the Registration Fee? The registration fee is being collected centrally by the Irish Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) on a shared service basis on behalf of the water services authorities. Payment can also be made direct to your local authority. The money will be used for the administration of the scheme and the inspection process.

What information do I have to give? You will be asked for the following information:

  • your name
  • your email address (if registering online)
  • your address for correspondence purposes
  • the address of the property connected to the septic tank (if different to your correspondence address)
  • credit or debit card details for payment If registering online
  • you will be asked to create a password so that you can access your account in the future. These details must be provided or you will be unable to complete the registration process
  • You will also be asked for your telephone number and the Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN) for the property.

Can I register more than one property? Yes, you can register multiple properties both online and by submitting the relevant forms with payment to: Protect Our Water, PO BOX 12204, Dublin 7.

Will I receive proof that I have paid?  Receipts can be printed off if you pay online. If you submit a form and payment to the Protect Our Water, PO BOX 12204, Dublin 7, your receipt will come in the post. If you register and pay cash at a local authority office you will receive a receipt there. You will also receive a Certificate of Registration in the post.

What is the MPRN?  Your MPRN can be found on all your electricity bills. .

Do mobile homes and caravans need to be registered? Yes. Any building or structure used as a residence and connected to a domestic sewage system or septic tank, or having waste water drains, must be registered.

What about houses in joint names? Either party can register.

What happens if I sell my house?  Your Certificate of Registration will be required when selling a property. The new owner is responsible for updating the house ownership details on the register.

Do I have to register an empty house? Yes

What if I own a house in Ireland but live abroad? You still have to register it..

Who can see my registration details?  Only the Local Authorities and the EPA. No information is shared with anyone else. See