The primary responsibility for groundwater protection rests with any person who is carrying on an activity that poses a threat to groundwater. Groundwater in Ireland is protected under European Community and national legislation. Local authorities and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have responsibility for enforcing this legislation. The Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI), in conjunction with the Department of Environment and Local Government (DELG) and the EPA, have issued guidelines on the preparation of groundwater protection schemes to assist the statutory authorities and others to meet their responsibility to protect groundwater (DELG/EPA/GSI, 1999). A groundwater protection scheme incorporates land surface zoning and groundwater protection responses.
This document is concerned with groundwater protection responses for the siting of on-site wastewater treatment systems for a dwelling house of up to 10 people with facilities for toilet usage, living, sleeping, bathing, cooking and eating. These responses should be used in conjunction with the EPA guidance document Wastewater Treatment Manual: Treatment Systems for Single Houses (EPA, 2000). The groundwater protection responses outline acceptable on-site wastewater treatment systems in each groundwater protection zone (as described in Groundwater Protection Schemes DELG/EPA/GSI, 1999) and recommend conditions and/or investigations depending on the groundwater vulnerability, the value of the groundwater resource and the contaminant loading. It will be noted that these responses relate to discharges to groundwater. Less stringent responses may be appropriate for discharges to surface waters.