Galway’s septic tanks buck national trend

The number of septic tanks in County Galway that have been found to be in perfect working order goes dramatically against the national trend.

Figures revealed this week show that just over ten per cent of those septic tanks inspected by the local authority have failed the test.

Nationally more than 400 septic tanks have been inspected and around half of those have failed and have had to get work done on them.

It puts into perspective the huge controversy that erupted across County Galway when it was announced by the Department of the Environment that septic tank inspections would be taking place.

There were protests, particularly in Connemara, as the Government were slammed for the move – there were allegations that it would cost householders ‘a small fortune’.

Galway County Council revealed that 66 septic tanks attached to houses in County Galway had been inspected so far and just seven of these have failed.

Some just need to be de-sludged while others require repairs – but the number of faulty septic tanks in County Galway is much lower than was originally anticipated.

In total 98 septic tanks in Galway have to be inspected – including ten in the city – and the remainder will be completed by the end of the year.

Martin Lavelle, a Senior Engineer in the environmental section of Galway County Council, explained that there were two inspectors operating in County Galway.

He said that households get a ten-day notice of the inspection taking place. Mr. Lavelle added that it was a complex process and inspections of a single septic tank could take a whole day.

Mr. Lavelle said that inspections were taking place in areas where there were streams and lakes that provided a public drinking water supply.

It is understood that many of the inspections have taken place in the Connemara area which would generally have poor soil depths.

Indeed, it was claimed at one point during the controversy that there was one house in South Connemara that was using an old Ford Cortina, buried several feet underground, as a septic tank.

Householders with failed septic tanks are being given varied time periods to rectify the problems depending on the exact works that have to be carried out.

Galway West TD Noel Grealish said that it put into context the whole row that took place when it was announced that householders were required to register their septic tanks.