THE latest figures on the payment of the septic tank registration fee show a huge variation around the State, with only 26 per cent of Donegal tank owners paid-up compared with 81 per cent of Kerry residents.
Just 8,801 septic tank owners in Donegal had registered their system up to last week.
According to the Local Government Management Agency, some 258,875 properties had been registered up to last Wednesday (December 19th).
A further 20,000 forms were awaiting processing.
According to last year’s census, there are 497,281 septic tanks and other on-site waste-water treatment systems in the State. Including the payments awaiting processing, this represents a compliance rate of 56 per cent.
The lowest compliance rate is recorded in Dublin city, at just 2 per cent but this figure is not an accurate gauge of the situation, according to the city council.
The census figures suggest there are 2,718 septic tanks in Dublin city but people may have mistakenly stated they had a tank, as the city is served by an extensive piped drainage network.
After Donegal, the next-lowest compliance rate was in the South Dublin County Council area where 30 per cent had registered their tanks. As with Dublin City Council, some of these registrations could apply to properties outside Dublin.
At 81 per cent, Kerry topped the list for compliance, with 23,182 tanks registered.
Last week, Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan announced a grants scheme of up to €4,000 to help fund upgrades to septic tanks as a result of the new inspection regime.
The maximum grant available will be €4,000, or 80 per cent of the cost, for households with income of up to €50,000.
For households with income of between €50,000 and €75,000, the maximum grant will be €2,500, or 50 per cent of the cost.
However, the householder must have registered their system before the deadline of February 1.
Grants will only be available where systems have been inspected by local authorities and have been found to be in need of remediation.
Mr Hogan said the Environmental Protection Agency was finalising an inspection programme. These inspections were expected to get under way next year after the registration date had passed.