Township Assumes Responsibility for Sewage System Approvals

If you are not on the municipal water system, chances are you have your own wastewater system in your backyard, most commonly called a septic system.  These onsite wastewater treatment systems process every drip that goes down the drain and every flush of the toilet.  They consist of a tank and a network of pipes that are home to billions of live organisms that play a critical role in the water cycle.  Their activity removes contaminants in the effluent coming through the pipes before it flows back into the source of the water supply.  The substances removed include bacteria and other pathogens, nutrients, solid waste, fats, oil, metal, organics and gasses.  In short, effective septic systems keep drinking water sources safe.

There are a variety of treatment systems available, but most homes and business rely on an anaerobic system with a two-compartment septic tank and an absorption trench or filter bed.  Licensed designers help property owners find the best solution for their situation.

Septic systems must follow stringent requirements including proper design, adequate size and appropriate location.  The Ontario Building Code (OBC) describes these requirements and outlines the mandatory qualifications of those involved in the design, installation, repair and inspection of these systems, who must be licensed by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.  All installations, repairs and upgrades to septic systems must also be approved by the local regulatory authority which in Peterborough County has been Peterborough Public Health (PPH).  Early this year, the organization announced that they were discontinuing this service this November,  after which this responsibility falls to Peterborough County municipalities.

Rather than wait until the deadline, Cavan Monaghan assumed responsibility for sewage systems effective April 1st, to allow a smoother transition for applicants and to help PPH wrap up current permit applications.

Because sewage systems are complex, staff assuming this new supervisory role require additional training and certification.  While Building Department staff work towards certification in this field, the township has engaged the services of Kathleen Shepherd on an as-needed basis to review sewage system applications and inspections.  She is a certified inspector and who brings 35 years of experience most recently through PPH.

Like any system, septic systems require maintenance to ensure they continue to function properly.  A septic system failure can contaminate local water resources.   This can be avoided with a regular inspection every three to five years by a licensed professional who will remove the buildup of solids to keep things flowing smoothly and the purification processes operational.

We all have a role to play in keeping our water supply healthy.  To learn more about sewage systems for the homeowner, visit under Build and Invest, or search for a brochure entitled Septicsmart: Understanding your Home’s Wastewater System, or contact the Building Department.  KG

Tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.