The Septic Re-Inspection / Education Program
From from 2008 to 2012 the St. Lawrence River Restoration Council (SLRRC) has delivered a free Septic Re-Inspection program. This voluntary homeowner educational program was made available through the Remedial Action Plan (RAP) for the St. Lawrence River (Cornwall) Area of Concern (AOC). Residents along the South Glengarry waterfront and those living within the vicinity of Westley's Creek, Pattingale Drain and MacIntosh / Ferguson Drain were eligible to participate.
A total of 133 residences took part in this program over four years. Volunteers that took part in the program were provided with septic records as well as an aerial photo of their property. They also received water efficiency devices, like tap aerators, toilet dams, low flow shower heads, and kitchen pivot sprayers. Residents were also shown how to properly test their well water to ensure its safety for drinking and home use.
While the Septic Re-inpection portion of the program was completed in the summer of 2012, homewoner workshops and resource material on private septic systems continue to be made available. Please check out the information and contacts below.
What Is Typically Involved in a Septic Re-inspection
A septic inspector or team will go onsite to visually inspect the property and note the location of structures, wells, vegetation and open water with respect to the septic tank. The septic tank is typically located and opened, assessing the condition of the tank and septic levels. The health of the leaching bed should also be inspected. If your system appears to have deficiencies, suggestions and contact information should then be provided to help you take the appropriate action(s).
Signs You Have a Problem
- Very green or spongy grass over the septic system
- Slowly draining or backed up toilet and drains
- Sewage odours become noticeable, often after a rainfall
- Gray or black liquids surfacing outdoors
- High levels of bacteria, nitrates or other contaminants in well water
How Your Septic System Works
Your septic system is a private sewage treatment plant that processes all the waste generated by your household. The most common septic system consists of two parts; a septic tank and a leaching bed. Waste is piped from your house into a double-chambered septic tank. The solids that settle form a layer of sludge at the bottom of the tank which should be pumped every 3-5 years. The liquids enter a series of perforated plastic pipes where waste water flows down through gravel before reaching a layer of soil called the leaching bed. Bacteria in the soil clean the water by breaking down material. Contaminants include solid and dissolved organic matter, nutrients, and harmful bacteria and viruses.
More information on Septic Systems can be found by clicking on the following publications:
Links and Contact Information:
Ontario Rural Wastewater Centre
Chris Kinsley - University of Guelph, Campus d'Alfred
31 St. Paul Street
Alfred, ON K0B 1A0 tel: 613 679 2218 x 609
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