Septic tank compliance rate closer to 21% – Campbell

Donegal Councillor John Campbell claims the government and the council are underestimating the number of houses in the county which should be registering their septic tanks.

Two weeks ago, the Department of the Environment published figures showing just over just over 10,471 tanks were registered in Donegal, just over 30% of the total.

Based on 2011 census returns, the Department of the Environment estimates there are 32,955 on-site waste water systems in Donegal. As of January 16th, 22,484 of those were yet to be registered, representing a compliance rate of 32%, the joint lowest along with South Dublin.

However, Cllr John Campbell believes the compliance rate is a lot lower, as he claims the number of septic tanks in the county has been seriously underestimated by the Local Government Management Agency. He suggests that may be deliberate, in order to give an inflated compliance figure.

He says the census only covers active households on census night, rather than the number of houses. This means there are another 26,197 houses in the county not covered, many of them holiday homes. Cllr Campbell says when the average number of households with tanks is determined and that average is applied to the other houses, there are just over 16,403 houses with stystems that are not accounted for.

Cllr Campbell says that means there are approximately 49,358 systems eligible for registration, meaning the compliance rate in Donegal is just over 21%.