Laois County Councillors hit out against the new septic tank charges, with one councillor describing it as “iniquitous and inequitable.”
Cllr Jerry Lodge had asked the council to clearly set out the requirements for all septic tank owners to meet under the current Water Service Ammendment Bill.
He said the Bill discriminated against rural people who had installed their own septic tanks.
“This bill is iniquitous and inequitable. It certainly discriminates against people who installed their own sewage treatment facilities at planning stage, who now have to pay to get registered and pay to get their system upgraded, if needed.
“How can one justify legislation to retrospectively punish people who acted in good faith years ago and installed their tanks in accordance with the planning conditions,” Cllr Lodge questioned.
“It’s unfair because when urban areas avail of public mains, these mains are funded out of the exchequer therefore we all contribute tax, levies etc.
“When a rural dweller installs a sewage treatment system, he or she bears the full cost themselves. Having done so they now face more cahrges, fees and possibly very costly upgrades. These costs should be partly met by national and local governments if we believe in a fair society.”
Cllr Lodge said it was essential that the council make a submission to the Minister for Environment and let him know the unfairness of his proposal.
Supporting his party colleage, Cllr Brendan Phelan said approving the new legislation in the Dail recently was a case of “putting the cart before the horse.”
“The regulations are coming after the bill. There are houses built in the ‘70’s that got assistance, if they have to be regulated again they might not meet the requirements.
“To bring in the scheme without outlining the standards first is a big mistake,” Cllr Phelan said.
Cllr Alan Hand said that while the regulations of the scheme might by vague, the fines were not.