RURAL houseowners may face bills of up to €12,000 according to Fianna Fáil under proposed laws to improve standards of septic tanks.
The Water Services Amendment Bill was published yesterday by Environment Minister Phil Hogan who said its purpose was to improve the quality of drinking water in rural areas.
Under the legislation, all septic tanks will be subject to an inspection and households will have to register them at a "modest fee" of €50, the minister said.
"Inspections may give rise to householders being advised to improve the maintenance of their system. Or, in more serious situations, may require the upgrading or remediation of the treatment system," he said.
Such repairs would cost up to €12,000 between planning permission, ecologist reports and construction, according to deputy leader of Fianna Fáil Eamon Ó Cuív. The Galway West TD, who previously said he would go to jail rather than pay the proposed inspection fees, said the bill confirms his worst fears about the cost to rural house owners.
The department responded he was "scare mongering" and that there was "no question of multiple inspection charges".