Changes in septic tank grants will allow many more to apply - Smith

Fianna Fáil TD urges EPA to step up inspection regime

Grants available for septic tanks will be increased to €12,000 from €5,000, the government has announced.

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien also announced a change in the eligibility criteria removing the qualifying condition that the septic tank must be registered with the local authority prior to February 1, 2013 to avail of the grant.

The changes to the grants will take effect from January 1, 2024 and the increased grant will be available to all registered septic tank owners.

"Increasing the size of these grants is a hugely welcome development," said Deputy Brendan Smith. "The increased grants will be an enormous help to many rural households by easing the financial burden of upgrading, repairing or replacing a septic tank.

"I hope that by increasing the size of the grants as many households as possible will be encouraged to avail of them.

He observed that by removing the requirement for applicants to have registered their tank before 2013 will also open up the grants to "many more" eligible households.

"This change needed to be made because the criteria was too strict. It resulted in thousands of homeowners being ineligible for the grant. Thankfully, from January, these homeowners will no longer be omitted from the financial support so I would encourage homeowners to register their septic tank and apply for a grant from their local authority.”

Deputy Smith also called for the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) inspection scheme to be expanded, saying: "While this announcement is welcome, the Environmental Protection Agency's inspection scheme must expand as, at the moment, only a small number of septic tanks are examined each year.

"If we are serious about protecting our waterways then we must also significantly increase the number of tanks that are examined and upgraded annually."

Grants are administered by local authorities on behalf of the department. Septic tank owners should contact the rural water section in their local authority for an application form and further information.

Details of how to apply and information on the terms and conditions of the grant schemes can be found here.