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Do you live in the countryside in Kerry? Then you will have a septic tank, sometimes referred to as domestic waste water treatment system (DWWTS)

Oh, the joys of septic tanks for vendors, estate agents, engineers and purchasers! If there is
any doubt about a septic tank’s effectiveness, it can be the breaking of the sale and
everybody’s hearts.

Septic tank - Do you live in the countryside in Kerry? Then you will have a septic tank, sometimesreferred to as domestic waste water treatment system (DWWTS)

In Kerry, a septic tank is an underground chamber generally made of concrete – or block-built
in older models – through which domestic wastewater (sewage) flows for basic treatment.

Settling and anaerobic digestion processes reduce solids and organics, but the treatment
efficiency is only moderate (referred to as “primary treatment”). Septic tank systems are a
type of simple onsite sewage facility. They can be used in areas not connected to a sewerage
system, such as rural areas; most homes in Kerry are in rural areas. The treated liquid effluent
is commonly dispersed in a percolation area which provides further treatment. Nonetheless,
groundwater pollution may occur and is a problem. It is often the percolation area that is the
issue and, given the high levels of rainfall in Kerry, percolation areas are prone to flooding
which affects the septic tank’s performance.

Key issues to watch out for are:
 Toilets, baths or sinks draining slowly.
 Foul smells or pools of partially-treated effluent sitting on the ground near the system.
 Signs of pollution in nearby ditches or watercourses.
 Although your septic tank may seem to operate fine without any maintenance, it may
still be causing problems, e.g., it may be leaking into groundwater.

Septic tank inspections in Kerry

The Water Services (Amendment) Act, 2012 provides for the introduction of a national
inspection system for domestic waste water treatment systems. Details of the inspection
process etc. are set out in the National Inspection Plan, which was published by the EPA in
early 2013.

All such inspections in Kerry are carried out by trained inspection staff from Kerry County
Council (based in Tralee). Those dwellings due for inspection under the National Inspection
Plan will be notified directly in writing by Kerry County Council in advance of the inspection
taking place. Septic tank inspections in Kerry are not restricted to above inspection regime
and may be carried out if a complaint or report of a malfunctioning system is received from a
member of the public. These inspections may not be pre-notified.

Details of the National Inspection Plan, along with advice and information on domestic waste
water treatment systems (including possible grant assistance), is available on the EPA and
DoECLGA websites.

Kerry County Council also provides lots of useful information on water and sewage on
KCC’s website.

If selling a rural residence in Kerry, it is essential that you know where your septic tank is. I
have known cases where the owners had no clue where their tank was and ironically that is a
good thing, because a tank that is working effectively needs no attention. But you should at
least know where it is located.

If you have modified your tank or the percolation area, was the work documented and
certified by an appropriately qualified engineer? If not, you may have difficulties getting a
certificate of compliance for the sale of your property. Even if you do, you cannot assume
that the purchaser’s engineer will approve the septic tank in their report.
So when considering the sale of your Kerry property, make sure your septic tank is in good
working order and that it complies with all the latest regulations. When you are ready contact
Brendan at Mannix Property Services.

Sources of information:
By Nonztp – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

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