The Dail has been debating the second stage of the amended Water Services Bill to incorporate new regulations governing septic tanks.
Minister Phil Hogan clashed with opposition deputies about the costs that the new regulations will impose on rural communities.
Mr Hogan accused the opposition of scaremongering, a charge that Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein denied.
Sinn Fein described the bill as an attack on rural communities, with Donegal North East Deputy Padraig Mac Lochlainn saying people in rural areas are treated very differently to their urban counterparts:
Meanwhile, Fine Gael Deputy Joe Mc Hugh called for a new way of governance, saying that previous Fianna Fail led governments were too quick to comply with EU directives and introduce new legislation.
He said the result of that eagerness to please is that people are now afraid of what may come next: