Catchment News

EPA launch new Code of Practice for Domestic Waste Water Treatment Systems

The new Code of Practice for Domestic Waste Water Treatment Systems (Population Equivalent ≤ 10 ) has been published today and comes into effect on 7 June 2021.

The Code of Practice establishes an overall framework of best practice in relation to the development of domestic waste water treatment systems, in unsewered rural areas, for protection of our environment and specifically water quality and human health.

The 2021 Code of Practice for Domestic Waste Water Treatment Systems (Population Equivalent ≤ 10) applies to site assessments and subsequent installations carried out on or after the 7 June 2021.

The 2009 Code of Practice Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Systems Serving Single Houses (p.e. ≤10) may be used for site assessments and subsequent installations commenced before the 7 June 2021 or where planning permission has been applied for before that date.

The Code of Practice sets out a methodology for site assessment and selection, installation and maintenance of an appropriate domestic waste water treatment system. It includes information on:

  • policy and legal background
  • waste water characteristics and loadings
  • how to characterise a site and decide on the type of domestic waste water treatment system
  • required minimum separation distances, depths of unsaturated soil and/or subsoil above the bedrock and the water table, and percolation values
  • design, installation, operation and maintenance

The Code, explanatory letter and response to the public consultation are available online at:

Who is involved?

Quite simply, everyone in Ireland has a role to play. This can be from something as simple as making sure you don’t pollute your local stream, or a local community working together to establish a Rivers Trust to enhance the rivers and lakes in their area, to a Government Department or Agency helping a Minister implement a new policy to help protect and enhance all our water bodies.

This website has been developed and is maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is a collaboration between the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Local Authority Waters Programme.


Local Authority Waters Programme

The Local Authority Waters Programme coordinates the efforts of local authorities and other public bodies in the implementation of the River Basin Management Plan, and supports local community and stakeholder involvement in managing our natural waters, for everyone’s benefit.


Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA is responsible for coordinating the monitoring, assessment and reporting on the status of our 4,842 water bodies, looking at trends and changes, determining which waterbodies are at risk and what could be causing this, and drafting environmental objectives for each.


Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

The Department is responsible for making sure that the right policies, regulations and resources are in place to implement the Water Framework Directive, and developing a River Basin Management Plan and Programme of Measures to protect and restore our waters.