In December of 2017 Dysart’s Council passed a By-law which requires that a comprehensive septic inspection be completed at every property within 100 feet of a lake when the existing septic system has been installed for more than five years. Given that there are several thousand private septic systems in Dysart the implementation of the inspection requirement is spread out over a period of 12 years.
The Kennisis Lake Cottage Owners’ Association (KLCOA) was a strong supporter of the need for a mandatory septic re-inspection program and continues to believe this By-law will help maintain, and may even improve, the quality of our lake water for generations to come.
Extensive scientific evidence points to failing and overloaded septic systems as leading contributors to declines in lake water quality. Most septic systems add some phosphorus to our environment. Leaking and overloaded systems allow significantly larger amounts of phosphorus to reach our lake.
Blue-green algae blooms can result from rising phosphorus levels. The warmer water temperatures caused by climate change add to the risk. People and animals cannot drink the water or swim in lakes contaminated with blue-green algae blooms. One result is a very substantial decline in property values on lakes affected by blue-green algae.
As part of the implementation of its new By-law, Dysart published a list of twelve licensed inspectors approved to perform the required inspections. Property owners can select the inspector of their choice and arrange the inspection and pump out at a time convenient for them. Pumpers cannot do inspections. Owners in Area 1, which includes both Kennisis lakes, are required to have inspections completed and submit the related paperwork no later than the end of 2019.
Should owners fail to complete this responsibility in a timely fashion, provisions of the Ontario Building Code and the Dysart By-law allow Dysart proceed with enforcement under the Building Code Act which could lead to charges and a restraining order for failure to comply. Added costs are almost certain in this scenario. Property owners are therefore encouraged to complete the inspection prior to the deadline for their Area.
Eleven of the twelve approved inspectors provided responses to a questionnaire developed by the KLCOA and these responses are available for review by clicking here.
The video available for viewing below outlines all of the steps involved in the Dysart inspection process. The creation of the video resulted from a suggestion by a member at our Spring 2018 meeting. Much of the video was filmed at a septic inspection open house sponsored by the KLCOA in June of 2018. This inspection was performed by Karl Korpela, Dysart’s Chief Building Official. As viewers will see in the video, even a newer septic system can have problems. The system in the video was installed in 2005.
The reality is that no one can know for certain if their septic system is performing properly without the benefit of a comprehensive inspection that includes a pump out. If the roof of our home leaks, evidence of a problem is generally visible very quickly. Unfortunately with the septic being underground major problems can go undetected long after serious harm is done to our lakes without occasional inspections by trained professionals.
We all care about our lake and no one would purposely want to contaminate the water. Completing an inspection can provide peace of mind by knowing that our septic is not harming the lake. At the same time many naturally worry about the cost of repairs if there is an issue.
The reality based on early results of the Dysart inspections is that most systems do not require major repairs. The majority of systems are performing properly. Some require relatively minor repairs to stop septage leaks – say around the inlet/outlet connections. Often these minor repairs can even be completed by the pumper under the guidance of the inspector at the time of the inspection resulting in a final outcome of a pass on the report.
Some systems will require more expensive repairs and this is terribly unfortunate. However even the cost of replacing an entire system is small compared to the lost property value that would result from an outbreak of blue-green algae blooms.
The KLOCA strongly encourages all property owners to have inspections performed prior to the deadline for the Area in which your property is located. Should your system need a pump out prior to the inspection window for your lake, consider having it inspected at the same time since the inspection is valid for a full five years. Remember that it requires a licensed inspector as well as a pumper to complete the official Dysart inspection.
Should you have any questions please feel free to contact the Dysart Building Department by telephone at 705-457-1740 or email to email@example.com.
The actual By-law and the implementation dates by area can be found by clicking Septic-Re-inspection-By-law.