72% of septic tanks in Roscommon failed inspection

More than 1 in every 4 domestic waste water treatment systems nationwide inspected in 2019 were a risk to human health or the environment, and even though the stakes are so high when it comes to public welfare and environmental protection, there is very little accountability. This is the contention of experts at Irish-owned wastewater treatment specialists, Ireland Waste Water, who, on the back of a recent report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), are calling on the Government to roll out an awareness campaign on grant support and a training programme for local authorities and homeowners tasked with the responsibility of maintaining sewage standards.

The EPA report found:


  • 72% of septic tank inspections failed
  • 44% of the systems that failed inspection between 2013 – 2019 have since been fixed


  • 51% of systems failed and 26% were a risk to human health or the environment.
  • 27% of systems inspected since 2013 were still not fixed.
  • A lack of maintenance and desludging was identified as a key issue at domestic systems.

Mary Mulcahy of Ireland Waste Water explained their position,

“The statistics in the EPAs most recent report are stark and they are a testament to the fact that the not enough is being done on building awareness the problems and of supports available to uphold standards. On top of this, testing is not as rigorous as it needs to be to ensure access to clean water.

The EPA suggests that greater engagement is needed from Local Authorities and while this might be the case, we must first address exactly why they are not currently engaged to a greater degree.

One of the major challenges is that local authorities, engineers and homeowners themselves are ultimately responsible for maintaining these standards on a daily basis, yet neither has enough knowledge or know-how to do so”.