Irish Water is responsible for the public collection and treatment of wastewater.
Public collection of wastewater
When wastewater is removed from a property and enters the public system it will transfer to one of many Wastewater Treatment Plants located around the country. It does this by travelling down a sewer main that flows progressively into larger pipes into a treatment plant.
As most of the process relies on gravity, many treatment plants are located in low lying areas. There are treatment plants that are not located in low lying areas and require pumps or lift stations to move the wastewater upwards.
Private collection of wastewater
Many rural properties have their own private sewage collection system; the most widespread system used is the Septic Tank. This is a large concrete or steel tank that is buried within or on the boundary of a property. The wastewater from these properties does not enter the public sewage system, instead it is treated on-site and the excess sludge is periodically removed for further treatment by a permitted private contractor.
The maintenance and responsibility of this system does not fall under the remit of Irish Water. Any household that uses a Septic Tank for their waste disposal will not be a customer of Irish Water for wastewater, but they may be a customer for water supply.
Wastewater treatment process
Treatment plants vary in size due to the demands within the area it serves. Despite the size of a treatment plant, the processes in treating wastewater are generally the same.
Responsibility for clearing a blockage depends on its location and whether you are connected to the public wastewater system. Irish Water is not responsible for septic tank blockages.