It would take 200 years to inspect Wexford's septic tanks says Wallace
IT will take over 200 years to inspect all the existing septic tanks in Wexford when half of them are faulty and our water table is becoming more contaminated each day, according to Independent Deputy Mick Wallace.
Deputy Wallace told the Dail that in Wexford, there are only two people to inspect 21,242 septic tanks and 4,369 individual treatment systems.
He said 54 tanks were inspected in 2014 and Wexford County Council hoped to inspect 104 this year and the council needed more resources to inspect tanks.
The deputy said it was outrageous that the water table continued to be poisoned, something he believed to be directly linked to the high rates of some cancers.
Wallace called for further changes to the current risk-based inspection system saying at present people couldn't request an inspection of their own tank if they suspected something was wrong with it, while third party complaints were being ignored. Furthermore, if a person was to take the proactive step of fixing their own tank they couldn't apply for a grant retrospectively.
The outspoken TD outlined the reasons why many older and modern septic tank systems are not fit for purpose.
'Many tanks built in the early years - I built many of them - were built according to the planning conditions laid down and agreed by the local authority, but they were not right. We built many of the tanks incorrectly but we did not know at the time,' Wallace said.
In relation to the modern raised-bed solution, Deputy Wallace outlined that for this system to work good quality topsoil was required to remove bacteria from the water, and this topsoil had to be imported. However, many developers opted to use soil straight from the land rather than import the expensive topsoil. He said the practice was widespread during the boom and the result was our polluted water table.
Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly acknowledged that Deputy Wallace had much direct evidence and knowledge of the subject. 'If it is perceived there is a particular issue, and if the local authorities make a submission to me, I must consider it,' said Minister Kelly.