Water Charges & Local Authorities
This is a piece I wrote a while back, I think it has significant relevance now that we are being charged for water and septic usage…
Patrolled by the Guilty, Will It Be Solved by the Ecological Entrepreneur? Local Authorities are the largest abusers of wastewater discharge in the country; but will they soon have the ability to force the public to conform to a standard they flaunt regularly?
Ireland has been guilty of polluting our own land with wastewater discharges that do not meet the minimum European standard for some time now, and it’s catching up with us. In a bid to force Ireland to clean up its act, the European Commission is seeking a hefty fine against the country over its lack of proper inspections of septic tanks.
The commission said it would ask the European Court of Justice to impose a lump-sum fine of 2.7 million euro against Ireland as well as a daily penalty payment of 26,173 euro until it takes proper action. The court already ordered Ireland in 2009 to adopt measures to ensure that septic tanks go through adequate checks and inspections in order to protect human health and the environment, but the country has yet to pass any new laws.
Phil Hogan, former minister for the Environment had a vision of the local authorities controlling the inspection and registration / monitoring necessary to comply with the EU commitments but a closer look at these bodies that have their own wastewater facilities shows that a large number are to blame for inadequate discharge levels. The EPA’s own document for 2006-2007 Regarding plants for greater than 500 people gives us the following information;
The timing of the report shows how little was going towards infrastructure while the country rode the Celtic Tiger all the way to the crooked banks, hell and beyond.
Almost all the local authorities are guilty to a certain degree of failing to treat their effluent to a standard that suits acceptable discharge levels. It is clear that the people who will be making the decisions for one-off wastewater systems do not have a good track record, and the taxpayer or property owner in this case has been given the task of carrying the financial burden once more.
It gets better! We have a history of overpricing everything from cheeseburgers to wheelbarrows; we have been coined as “The Rip-Off Republic” by some. Has anyone looked into the price of a replacement system for the outdated and underperforming septic units? You can bet the price will go up with the Dept of the Environment’s new legislation they are now tabling.
The Way Forward
Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Maybe, but Ireland needs to commit itself to finding a solution to this national problem, after all we live on an Island, there just isn’t that much real estate to go around anymore. Throwing bad money at it or pointing blame at local authorities won’t do any good either, we need solid solutions from creditable people who will educate us back on track and get us thinking of sustainability rather than “haircuts” to get our debt down. What good is a financially sustainable country if it is so polluted nobody wants to be in it?
Education & Industry
Here’s where it gets brighter, you see some of the best inventions that have generated great wealth have been from the educational sector in conjunction with private industry backing. Wealth? It was only a few years ago we were all wealthy…
Those that embrace a challenge, see a need, and come up with a logical, effective and cost efficient solution that is kinder to the environment both in its treatment process and in the final result will no doubt be one of the catalysts that take Ireland out of recession and literally “clean her up” and make us all proud again. Keep an eye on this problem, and you will see companies and people with real solutions making a difference in our environment and the economy.