MH to explore septic inspection options
By Chad Ingram
Published Sept. 7, 2017
Minden Hills councillors have asked for a report on types of septic re-inspection programs the township may undertake.
The province has mandated that municipalities create programs for the re-inspection of septic tanks of 10,000 litres or less. Some of the county’s municipalities already have programs in place.
In Highlands East, council voted to hire environmental studies students for data collection, the students performing a rating of septic systems.
Tanks that are deemed high-risk have an on-site inspection performed by the municipality. The process started with evaluations of waterfront properties this year. The program is only assessing waterfront properties for now.
In Algonquin Highlands, the township has hired firm WSP Canada, which will perform lid-off septic inspections through appointments with property owners. That program will begin next year, with the township charging residents $180 per inspection to offset costs.
“I want to start next year on some form of it,” said Reeve Brent Devolin during an Aug. 31 Minden Hills council meeting.
Chief building official and bylaw officer Colin McKnight said he would like to issue a request for proposals, to see just what types of services companies who perform inspections might offer.
McKnight expressed hesitance about using students to do the work.
“Sometimes, I’m not sure that’s the best way to go,” he said.
“I think I’d like to see some of it done in house,” said Councillor Pam Sayne, adding that could help the municipality save on program costs.
However, Devolin said the township would definitely need assistance with the workload.
“It requires more labour than we have available, that’s a fact,” he said.
Councillor Jeanne Anthon said she would like to see full, open-tank inspections, like the ones that will be performed in Algonquin Highlands.
Councillors agreed that starting with the most sensitive areas – waterfront properties – made the most sense.
Sayne also pointed out that the program will require some residents to install new septic systems, which may cause financial hardship for some, and said the township should be taking that into consideration, perhaps creating some kind of fund from fees.
Council requested a staff report detailing how different inspection models might flush out in Minden Hills.