Tipperary County Council
Civic Offices, Clonmel | Civic Offices, Nenagh,
Co. Tipperary
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+353(0)761 065000
9.30 - 4.30 Mon-Fri
9.00 - 1.00 Mon-Fri (Motor Tax)
Tipperary County Council Civic Offices, Clonmel | Civic Offices, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary
Tipperary County Council Civic Offices, Clonmel | Civic Offices, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary
customerservices@tipperarycoco.ie

Domestic Wastewater Treatment/Septic Tank Information

What is a Septic Tank?

Septic tank wastes contain high levels of bacteria and other potential disease-causing organisms. They should only be handled by contractors with the correct equipment and facilities for their safe treatment and/ or disposal. A contractor emptying septic tanks is required to hold a waste collection permit. Householders are obliged to check in advance that the contractors they use have the required permits and they should retain the receipt as evidence of properly emptying their tank. The following is a list of contractors authorised to empty septic tanks and other treatment systems.
See List of Authorised Contractors list below.

There are approximately 28,500 domestic wastewater treatment systems (septic tanks and secondary treatment systems) in Tipperary. These systems treat the wastewater from toilets, showers, sinks, washing machines and dishwashers. Domestic wastewater contains many different pollutants such as pathogens like E coli and nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. The systems need to be maintained correctly to ensure they don’t threaten human health or the environment.

For detailed guidance see: www.epa.ie/water/wastewater/guidance/

The Water Services (Amendment) Act 2012 regulates wastewater discharges from homes connected to a domestic wastewater treatment system. Householders have a duty of care to ensure their treatment system is maintained properly and not causing a risk to human health or the environment. Local Authorities are inspecting DWWTS/septic tanks to check they are not causing problems.

Septic Tank Inspections
Tipperary County Council carry out a number of septic tank inspections annually, in accordance with the EPA’s National Inspection Plan.
For further information see: www.epa.ie/water/wastewater/nip/

Registration of DWWTS/ Septic Tanks
If you have a septic tank or similar treatment system, you must register its details with your local authority and pay a registration fee.

The general deadline for registration was 1 February 2013, but late registrations are still being accepted - see below. If you register after the deadline, you will not be eligible for any grant if your system is found to need remedial work - see ‘Grant Information' below.

New systems which have been installed or built after 1 February 2013 must be registered within 90 days of being connected. Replacements of previously registered systems do not have to be registered separately.

There are 3 ways to register your system:

  • Online at www.protectourwater.ie
  • By post: You can download a form (pdf). Forms are also available by calling LoCall 1890 800 800 for information.
    Cheques should be made payable to ‘Protect Our Water’ and posted to Protect our Water, PO Box 12204, Dublin 7.
  • Registration Forms are also available below.

Change of Ownership
To register a new owner of a DWWTS (for example, after the sale of a house) the new owner should contact Protect Our Water LoCall 1890 800 800 for information.

Grant Information – Septic tank improvements
Grants may be available for septic tanks or treatment systems that require remediation or upgrading.

Grants to Improve or Replace a Septic Tank
Grants are only available to householders who have been inspected by the Local Authority and have subsequently received an Advisory Notice.

Home Renovation Incentive
Householders who carry out improvement works to their septic tank may receive assistance under the Revenue scheme Home Renovation Incentive, for further information see http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/reliefs/hri/index.html

Related Content

Related FAQs

Do I need to register my wastewater system with Tipperary County Council?

Yes. If you are not connected to a public sewer and you have running water in your house you must register, whether you can locate the system or not. You can register on-line at www.protectourwater.ie or fill out an application form (these forms should be available at the CSD. The application fee is €50. You will not be eligible for a grant if the system was not registered before 01st February 2013.

Should water from roofs and yards be connected to my wastewater treatment system?

No. Roof and yard waters should not be connected to your wastewater treatment system. Clean water should be collected and discharged separately to a local watercourse or soak away.

Should 'grey water' from dishwashers, sinks and washing machines be directed to my wastewater treatment system?

Yes. Grey water should always be directed to the wastewater treatment system. Grey water is also a pollutant and if directed to the rain water system may cause contamination of waters. Take care with house extensions or alterations - don't connect any wastewater pipes to the rain water disposal system.

My house is over 20 years old - how do I know if my Septic Tank is working effectively?

Septic tanks prior to the 1990's may not be built to current standards and performance should be checked. You should check tank structure, provide access points for maintenance and de-sludging, replace soak-pits and pipes to drains (if present) with a properly designed percolation area exclude roof and yard water from the system. Consult a trained specialist in the area of domestic systems if necessary or in doubt.

I have noticed ponding in my garden close to my wastewater treatment system, what should I do?

This is a health risk particularly to children and domestic pets who may play in who may access this area. First of all you should arrange to have your system de-sludged. Then seek advice from a trained specialist in the area of domestic systems. You should treat the matter as requiring urgent remedial action.

How often should a septic tank be emptied?

In general septic tanks should be emptied every one to two years, but this will depend on the age of the system and the number of people using it. Inspect your tank; if the sludge or scum volume is greater than 30% or are close to the inlet and outlets of the tank it should be emptied. If you have a secondary treatment system with a pump or other mechanical device refer to the manufacturers guidelines; some of these systems require high levels of desludging and maintenance.

Can a farmer empty a septic tank for a neighbour, and spread it on his land?

No. Septic tank wastes contain high levels of bacteria and other potential disease-causing organisms. They should only be handled by contractors with the correct equipment and facilities for their safe treatment and/ or disposal. A contractor emptying septic tanks is required to hold a waste collection permit. Householders are obliged to check in advance that the contractors they use have the required permits.

Can a farmer empty his own septic tank and spread it on his land?

Yes but only his own septic tank and he must comply with Use of Sewage Sludge in Agriculture Regulations. (Restrictions on grazing and loading rates)

I think my neighbour’s septic tank is too close to my property. What are the minimum separation distances of a system to a site boundary, rivers, lakes, etc?

New wastewater treatment systems should be a minimum of 3 Meters to site boundary and 10 meters to water

I have a problem with my septic tank and want to upgrade it, can I apply for a grant?

No, grants for improvements to septic tanks are not generally available. There is a grant available if the County Council have inspected your septic tank, have found a problem with it and issued you an Advisory Notice. (Please contact Tipperary County Council for more information).

However, you may qualify for tax relief on these works under the Home Renovation Incentive scheme.
Contact the Citizens Information or the Revenue Office for more information.