Local authorities will carry out 1,000 inspections on septic tanks across Ireland over the next 15 months.

The Environmental Protection Agency is training county council staff to carry out the inspections.

However, an education and awareness campaign will be held first over a three month period.

The EPA said county council inspectors will have the power to enter private property and seek remedial works to be carried out if a septic tank is not in an appropriate condition.

It will be up to the householder and the inspector to then agree on a period of time in which the work will be carried out.

If this is not done, the local authority will have the responsibility for following up with a prosecution.

The European Commission has welcomed the publication of the inspection plans by the EPA.

It is understood the move will lead to the cancellation of daily European fines, which Ireland was facing because of its failure to implement proper septic tank regulations.