Written answers

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

Environmental Investigations

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin Bay North, Fine Gael)
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242. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if he is considering providing environmental health officers with additional powers in order that they could more effectively address environmental hazards created by blockages on combined household drains, which can only be resolved if all those households served by the blocked drain share in the effort to resolve the issues. [17126/22]

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail)
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I have no role in determining the function of the Environment Health Service of the Health Services Executive which would fall to the Minister for Health who has overall policy responsibility for public heath matters generally. I understand that the Environmental Health Service undertakes certain functions on behalf of local authorities on an agency basis, but that is a matter between the environmental health service and the local authorities concerned.

It is worth noting that section 70 of the Water Services Act 2007 places a general duty of care on the owner or occupier of a premises to ensure that wastewater from the premises does not cause nuisance or risk to human health or the environment. Subsection (2) of section 70 requires the owner of a premises to keep all drains, manholes, gullytraps and storage and treatment systems (which are not in the charge of a water services authority) serving the premises in such condition as not to cause a risk to human health or the environment or a nuisance through odours. A water services authority or any person affected by a failure of a third party may complain to the District Court in relation to a breach of the duty of care under section 70 once they have notified the third party in advance of their intention to make such a complaint. A prescribed form of notice of such complaint is available for general use under S.I. No. 141 of 2009.


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