Status of inspection of septic tanks and domestic wastewater treatment plants in Polish municipalities: report 2024

Stan przeprowadzania kontroli

Developed by the Institute of Environmental Education in cooperation with Idea 3W of the National Bank, the report titled The state of inspection of emptying of non-drainage tanks and domestic wastewater treatment plants exposes numerous problems of municipalities with the implementation of inspection and reporting obligations. According to it, there is a high probability that municipalities will not fulfill this obligation by the deadline, which is August 9, 2024.

Amendments to the Water Law and some other laws and the control and reporting obligations of municipalities

According to the Central Statistical Office (CSO) in 2022. More than 10 million Poles are not connected to the sewerage system and use septic tanks or domestic sewage treatment plants. At the same time, 90 percent. The waste they generate, however, does not end up in sewage treatment plants. As a result, the audit conclusions of the Supreme Audit Office (NIK) set out in 2017 – 2022 and Council Directive 91/271/EEC have forced amendments to the Water Law and some other laws. The regulatory changes were primarily intended to eliminate the problem of leaking septic tanks and unregistered liquid waste discharges.

Municipalities play an important role in this process. This is because new regulations have imposed control and reporting obligations on them. They are related to, among other things. with checking whether the owners of properties with no-tanks or household sewage treatment plants have contracts with septic companies and whether they carry out regular sewage removal. In addition, municipalities are also tasked with keeping records of the non-drainage tanks and domestic wastewater treatment plants located in their areas.

Report The status of carrying out inspections of emptying of waste water tanks and domestic sewage treatment plants

The inspection duty on septic tanks and domestic wastewater treatment plants incumbent on municipalities should be carried out once every 2 years. The deadline for completion of the first audit cycle is August 9, 2024. That’s why BGK’s Idea 3W in cooperation with the Institute for Environmental Education in early 2024. checked how municipalities in Poland are coping with the new tasks. The conclusions of the research were published in the report: the status of inspections of emptying of non-drainage tanks and domestic wastewater treatment plants.

Municipalities have so far inspected only 25 percent. property

The report is based on data submitted by 1,227 municipalities, representing 49.54 percent of the All local government units in Poland. According to it, in 2023. Only 25 percent were inspected. properties where there are no-outflow tanks or domestic sewage treatment plants. As much as 11 percent. The municipalities, however, have not conducted any inspections, although the deadline is three months away.

Significantly, the implementation of obligations under the Law on Maintaining Order in Municipalities is much better handled by local government units that have prepared in advance the required by the Art. 6 paragraph. 5aa ucpg control plan. In their case, 29 percent were checked. property. In municipalities without a prepared plan, accounting for as much as 25 percent. of the local governments surveyed, only 8 percent were checked. However, the data still do not inspire optimism. This is because they show that nearly 75 percent of the 1,227 municipalities surveyed still have to be checked. Real estate, subject to control obligations.

What is the reason for the municipalities’ problem with implementing the control obligation?

The report not only exposes the inadequate state of carrying out inspections of emptying of non-drainage tanks and domestic wastewater treatment plants in municipalities, but also points to the causes of the current situation. Its authors emphasize that municipalities are not taking advantage of IT tools that could automate records management and improve property inspections. In addition, staff shortages in municipalities lead to delays in carrying out inspection and reporting duties, which is a key factor limiting the number of inspections carried out.

So far, there have been few inspections, which is also due to the high cost of these activities. Local governments allocate one-third of a full-time position for these purposes, generating monthly costs of about 2,500. PLN, which adds up to a total of approx. 30,000. PLN per municipality. Nationwide, spending on inspections exceeds PLN 75 million. annually, which is still proving insufficient to cover actual needs. According to the law, inspections should be carried out every two years, which further complicates the financial situation of municipalities.

Despite the numerous difficulties shown in the report, municipalities are facing new obligations under amendments to the Water Law and other related laws, which must be implemented by August 9, 2024. Local governments face financial penalties of up to $50,000 for failing to do so. PLN. However, the regulations do not clearly define whether these penalties apply to each individual case of misconduct or whether they are general penalties for non-compliance.

Source: based on IEA press release

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