An estimated 70 per cent of South Tipperary households and other premises with septic tanks have still to register their sewerage system following the passing of the deadline to sign up for the reduced fee of â‚¬5.
South Tipperary Co. Council reports that 4,252 premises - approximately 30% of the estimated total in the county with individual septic tanks or sewerage systems - had registered following the close of the September 28 â‚¬5 registration deadline.
They registered either at local authority offices or online at www.protectourwater.ie. Itâ€™s estimated that there between 14,000 and 15,000 premises in South Tipperary with individual sewerage treatment systems.
Jim Harney, the Councilâ€™s Acting Director of Environment & Water Services said while there was a rush of registrations just before the September 28 deadline to avail of the reduced fee, the Council was disappointed overal with the response.
â€œThere are awful lot who havenâ€™t registered. If people havenâ€™t registered when it cost â‚¬5 will they register at all? Could it be a reaction like some people with the Household Charge,â€ he wondered.
Mr Harney urged those who havenâ€™t registered so far to do so before the final registration deadline of February 1.
â€œItâ€™s the law of the country and they will be committing an offence if they donâ€™t register
â€œPeople who donâ€™t register leave themselves open to being summonsed and could face a maximum fine of â‚¬5,000,â€ he warned.
The reason many are reluctant to register is out of fear of an inspection that could lead to them having to pay significant sums to upgrade their sewerage system.
Mr Harney said there was a lot of misleading information being put out about the septic tank registration.
â€œObviously the politicians on the opposition side are saying it will put people to a lot of expense. But unless your septic tank is giving trouble, there is going to be no additional cost. If a tank is working nobody has anything to fear.
He explained that EPA inspections, which will begin next year, will be concentrated in areas close to ground water supplies that are vulnerable to pollution.
Mr Harney pointed out that if there was something wrong with a householdâ€™s septic tank, it was in the interests of the owners to get it repaired to avoid pollution to their water supply.
He said the Government hadnâ€™t any choice but to introduce this registration and inspections system as the European Court of Justice had ruled that Ireland was not compliant with the Water Quality Framework Directive