There is to be no inspection charges for septic tanks under new plans being drawn up by Government, Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has said.

However, from 2012 the owners of homes with septic tanks will have to pay a "very modest" registration charge when registering their tank with the authorities, according to Mr Hogan.

This fee would not have to be paid every year, but would have to be paid every few years, the minister's spokesman said.

However, she would not be drawn on what the fee would be or how often it would have to be paid.

From 2013, inspectors from local authorities will then come out and inspect tanks to ensure they comply with rules and standards to be agreed between Government and the Environmental Protection Agency.

If a tank does not meet the standards, it will be the responsibility of its owner to carry out work on it and cover the cost of that work, the minister said.

Ireland is under pressure from the European authorities to comply with a European Court of Justice ruling, by bringing in measures to improve ground water quality.

IFA national environment & rural affairs chairman Pat Farrell rejected the proposal from Environment Minister Hogan that rural households will be required to pay a recurring registration charge for septic tanks.

Mr Farrell said the imposition of a recurring registration charge was no different from the inspection charge that had been under consideration, and that the IFA maintained its position that there should be no charge.