Proposed Septic Re-inspection Bylaw Changes – Suggested Opportunity for Community Input
The KLCOA is bringing the following information to our members as both an update and an opportunity for community input. If you wish to give Dysart Council your feedback before the next Council meeting on March 24 and the Environment and Climate Change Committee meeting on March 12 please see the end of this report for details of where to send your communication. . In 2014 the KLCOA started an education and advocacy program around septic health to promote the quality of our water. (Check our website for ongoing education and communications.) The KLCOA, the CHA (Coalition of Haliburton Property Owners’ Association) and other Lake Associations have worked long and hard with Dysart Council and staff over many years to educate and advocate for these inspections and Dysart Council came through with a stellar program based on their commitment to protect the health of our Lakes.
In 2017, Dysart et al Council passed a bylaw requiring a level 4 septic inspection which included a pump-out to be done on every property in Dysart starting with a pilot program on the Kennisis Lakes. This program was deemed to be the most robust approach capable of identifying most septic system flaws and therefore doing the best job at protecting water quality. Over the two year program (2018/2019) almost 800 properties completed their inspections with a number of failures and remediations being reported and corrected. 112 Properties did not comply.
Dysart is now proposing to change the Septic Re-Inspection Bylaw. The KLCOA recognizes that the Kennisis Lakes area was a test area and as a result it would only be prudent to assess and make adjustments to improve the program before moving forward with the next area. Unfortunately, one significant change; no longer requiring a pump out will seriously downgrade the ability to identify undersized, damaged or malfunctioning septic systems and protect the water quality in the region.
The KLCOA has had an exceptional and collaborative relationship with Dysart Council and staff. The recent decisions by Dysart Council are very concerning to the KLCOA and the KLCOA Directors have agreed that it is important to challenge Dysart Council on their recent decisions regarding the Septic System Re-Inspection program.
The KLCOA is concerned that Dysart Council is forging ahead to change a bylaw without appropriate consultation with experts and stakeholders and without detailed review of the process and results. The proposed changes would also allow the 112 owners who did not comply to avoid a level 4 pump out process and potentially continue to pollute in our lakes.
The KLCOA is concerned that Dysart Council is forging ahead to change a bylaw without appropriate consultation with experts and stakeholders and without detailed review of the process and results. The proposed changes would also allow the 112 owners who did not comply to avoid a level 4 pump out process and potentially continue to pollute our lakes.
January 23,2020 – Upon review of the January 28 Dysart Council meeting agenda, an item was discovered on Septic System Re-Inspections including a letter to Dysart council from a Dysart Building Inspection Staff member requesting that some changes be made to the septic re-inspection program before it moves on to the next area. These proposed changes included the following (explanations for each change are in the letter to council above):
1. Change program from a mandatory tank pump (level 4) out to sludge/scum measurement (no pump out – level 3)
2. Request for tender for a single 3rd party inspector firm
3. Notify owners of inspection dates rather than relying on them to book inspections
4. Include remaining 112 uninspected Kennisis Lake properties into revised septic re-inspection program.
Note** The KLCOA has not been given the actual details of the Area 1 (Kennisis Lakes) inspection results. Reports submitted to Dysart only indicated pass or fail but not whether the issues would have been caught without the pump out.
From numerous conversations with septic system experts, association members and direct results from two KLCOA board members the KLCOA is confident that it is entirely inaccurate to report that a level 3 inspection (no pump out) would have been as effective in identifying compromised septic systems as a level 4 pump out inspection.
January 26, 2020 – KLCOA sent a letter to Dysart asking Dysart to reconsider some of the proposed changes.
January 28, 2020 – Dysart Council Meeting – After some discussion Council sent it to the Environment and Climate Change Committee for further discussion and direction.
February 13, 2020 – Environment and Climate Change Committee Meeting – The KLCOA, the CHA (Coalition of Haliburton Property Owners Association), a number of other Lake Associations and inspectors gave input outlining concerns especially with regards to downgrading to the level 3 inspection. The CHA shared data they had gathered over multiple years from communities all across Ontario that indicated 22-32% of septic issues were missed without the benefit of a pump out. John Smith, Councillor Ward 4 was also opposed to these changes. Following discussions Dysart Building Inspection staff were instructed to draft the proposed new bylaw and it was returned to council for discussion on Feb 25.
February 25, 2020 – Dysart Council Meeting – Council voted 6 to 1 in favor of developing a new bylaw consistent with Dysart Building Inspection Staff recommendations for presentation at the Environment and Climate Change Committee on March 12 and if approved there, to be brought forward for final approval at the March 24 Council meeting. Councillor John Smith was the sole opposing vote.
Minutes for all Dysart Council and Environment and Climate Change meetings can be found at: https://haliburton.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/41873 Dysart Contacts: Mayor Andrea Roberts email@example.com 705-457-6735 (cell)
Deputy Patrick Kennedy firstname.lastname@example.org 705-854-1404 (cell)
Councillor Nancy Wood-Roberts email@example.com 705-457-1371 (home)
Councillor Larry Clarke firstname.lastname@example.org 705-455-9236 (home)
Councillor Tammy Donaldson email@example.com 705-457-6325 (cell)
Councillor John Smith firstname.lastname@example.org 705-754-9844 (home) 647-393-5528 (cell)
Councillor Walt McKechnie email@example.com 705-854-0987 (cell)
The KLCOA would also like to hear what you have to say. We would welcome a copy of your communications to: KLCOA.President.firstname.lastname@example.org
There have been a lot of questions from members as to whether the 112 properties mentioned below included the newer systems that were given an exemption. Councillor John Smith has confirmed that the number DOES NOT include those exemptions. The 112 are properties that were required to do a level 4 inspection under the bylaw. ***Note*** The KLCOA does NOT know which properties fall into the 112. The KLCOA is providing a Form Letter that can be used by those members that would like a quick and easy way to submit a response to Dysart. The contact information is provided by clicking on the details link below.