First season of septic inspections complete
By Chad Ingram
Published Nov. 22, 2018
Nearly 1,100 septic systems were inspected during the first year of a four-year, mandatory septic re-inspection program in Algonquin Highlands.
Representatives from WSP Canada, the firm hired by Algonquin Highlands to conduct its program, gave councillors an update on its progress during a Nov. 15 meeting.
Between May and October, 1,095 systems in the township were inspected, located mostly in the Boshkung, Beech and Maple Lakes area. Of those, 39 per cent, or 426 systems, required some kind of remedial action, however, as project co-ordinator Kathryn Stasiuk pointed out, in most cases, that remedial action was simply a pump-out.
Thirty-nine properties required additional investigation. This could have been due to factors such as tree roots interfering with a system, or driveways located over the weeping bed, for example.
“We did recommend those homeowners hire a qualified person,” said Paisley McDowell, who’ll be the project co-ordinator for the program for the upcoming season.
Twenty-four old metal tanks were located, nine of those systems being older than 50 years in age. Stasiuk said those homeowners were spoken to about the decommissioning of those systems and why metal tanks are environmentally dangerous. They are no longer permitted under the Ontario Building Code.
A metal tank means property owners will automatically fail their inspections, and for the upcoming season, Stasiuk said there would be an option for property owners with metal tanks to apply for a building permit to construct a new system and forgo the inspection. Inspections for systems newer than five years old are deferred under the program.
“To me, the most important thing is getting the metal tanks out of the systems,” said Mayor Carol Moffatt. While Moffatt conceded that some residents have taken issue with the mandatory nature of the program, she said she thought there had also been a great deal of education and that some residents seem to appreciate learning more about their systems and the ecological importance of having them operating property.
“They finally understood the whole process, and why it’s important to keep things moving,” she said.
Thirty-four property owners were not present for their scheduled inspections, which were deferred to the upcoming season.
In 2019, inspections will take place in the Kushog, Halls and Kabakwa Lakes areas. 2019 inspections will also include an inspection of system pumping chambers, where problems can occur.
Moffatt said a blue-green algae bloom that appeared in the township this past summer should underscore the importance of the re-inspection program and lake health.
“I think the blue-green algae bloom that we had this year needs to be a warning bell,” she said.