Here are some good videos on the workings of a septic system:
Protecting Our Water Quality
from Jacquie Lecuyer, Mulberry Lane
- We swim in it
- Some of us drink it
- Most of us use it to wash, to shower
- We fish and boat in it
- No one wants to consider what happens if we lose our water quality - whether it be ground water or lake water - Can Walkerton happen here? One beach area on a lake in North Frontenac had to be closed this past summer due to E.coli
- The largest potential source of pollution to our lake is faulty outdated septic systems
- Septic systems older than 1970 may not have been built according to current building code requirements and will likely not be recorded with municipal and/ or health officials
- Septic systems have a normal life span of 20 to 30 years
- Septic systems require intermittent pumping - cottagers should consider pumping their primary tank once every 5 to 8 years depending on usage
- Septic tile beds must be kept free of tree roots to function properly
- Apart from E.coli, the next largest concern from non functioning septic systems is increased Phosphorous levels in our lake water- this leads to a decrease in water quality, increased algae levels and increased plant growth
- Our lake and surrounding Shield country with very thin soil levels, rocky shore lines sloping towards the lake, and possible rock fissures means that we have to rely entirely on our septic systems functioning properly
- Do you know the current status of your septic system?
- Do you know when the system was installed?
- When was your system last pumped?
- Is your septic tank plastic, steel, concrete or other (Steel tanks are very vulnerable to rust)?
What can we do?
- You can initiate your own update by gathering information on your system, physically inspecting your tank and septic bed, and if you have concerns, contact the Ontario Ministry of Health.
- If you wish to learn more about septic systems, access one or more of the following publications: “Care and Feeding of Your Septic System” Ontario Ministry of Environment and Energy - PIBS 3209E ( you can access this and other related publications through the Ontario Government Web Site); “1997 Ontario Building Code: Code and Guide for Sewage Systems 1997”. Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. ISBN 0-7778-7343-5; “Septic Smart: new ideas for household septic systems on difficult sites”-available from the Landowner Resource Centre, Manotick Ontario and/or the Ontario Soil Crop Improvement Association, 1 Stone Road West, Guelph, Ontario N1G 4Y2.