septic system is a private sewage treatment plant that must
process all the wastewater from your house. Rural residents depend on
an on-site septic system to treat household sewage since Municipal
Sanitary Services do not extend to all areas. In Ontario, a septic
system conventionally consists of a septic tank and a septic bed.
There are, however, many alternatives to this conventional system and
many options to consider when installing a new system or repairing,
renovating, or replacing an existing system.
septic systems can be very large and require extensive area on a
property. This style of system is commonly found at many older
residences since it was once the only type of system available. These
systems are still a desirable choice but are often not capable of
fitting into today’s smaller building lots. A typical
conventional system consists of a standard septic tank with two
compartments which outlets liquid waste (effluent) out to a
leaching bed. The conventional tank simply holds waste until it
breaks down on its own accord. Often the liquid waste in these
systems is moved by gravity so mechanical pumps, which require
occasional maintenance and can break down, are not needed. Even with
a pump, these in-ground and raised bed systems provide the most
dependable form of on-site waste disposal.
alternative systems typically use mechanical, electrical, or
other means to help speed up the treatment and breakdown of the
wastewater from a residence and therefore can discharge to a
relatively smaller leaching bed area. Some of the systems use means
such as agitators, aerators, or the natural properties of peat, sand
or synthetic media to enhance effluent quality. These systems can
cost more since they are often proprietary units, but this cost can
be offset with a lower cost for the smaller leaching bed area. These
types of systems can often be the only choice for properties without
sufficient area for a conventional system, or in an area with 'poor'
considering the type and location of a new sewage system, the
following should be considered:
The chosen system and its location must conform to the Ontario
Building Code and to local zoning bylaws.
Installation cost: although
modern sewage systems can be expensive, savings in imported sand and
aggregate often outweighs the extra cost. Septic systems can be very
expensive; obtaining a cost estimate early in the planning stage is
Operating costs: Several sewage
systems use pumps and/or air compressors to provide treatment. Other
pumps can be avoided by ensuring that the house is built high enough
to allow gravity flow into the sewage system. Annual maintenance
costs should also be compared.
Aesthetics: Does the chosen
system blend well into your landscaping or will there be an
unsightly hump or plateau in the yard? Are there access hatches,
compressors, control panels, etc., that must be left exposed?
Johnson Engineering does not sell
septic systems and can therefore provide you with un-biased and
knowledgeable advice to help you select, locate, and design a sewage
system that best suits your needs and budget.
When building a new house:
applying for a building permit, your municipality will require you to
submit an application to install a new sewage system. Each
municipality will have its own way of dealing with these
applications: some municipalities review these applications within
their building departments, others may ask that you deal with your
local Health Unit or Conservation Authority.
all municipalities require an Engineered Septic System, but it is
still a good idea. Mortgage and insurance companies often ask about
the state and age of a septic system, especially at the time of
re-sale of a property. A final inspection approval from an engineer
is often asked for by the mortgager or insurer with regard to the
septic system. If these documents are not available or are not
adequate, then an engineering review is likely needed for an
Engineering will provide a complete design package that will gain you
a septic permit, provide on-site inspection during construction, and
provide a final inspection approval report to keep on file for future
designing a system for a specific lot, Johnson Engineering can also
provide the lot grading and drainage plans that are often needed for
the building permit. By having these plans designed by us, we can
ensure that the design of the lot grading and septic system work
together to achieve a safe and functional property.
When buying a house:
Many real estate agents will/should recommend that
before you consider purchasing a rural home or cottage, you should
have the septic tank inspected. Septic tanks are rarely damaged so
typically the inspection, conducted by a sewage hauler, will reveal
that the tank is in good working condition. What this report doesn't
tell you is the state of the septic field or leaching bed. It also
doesn't tell you that the septic tank represents about 10% of
the cost of the full septic system. To make sure that your septic
system is in good condition, have it inspected by an engineer.
Johnson Engineering Consultants will conduct an inspection and
provide a report that describes the current condition of the complete
system, as well as maintenance recommendations, replacement options
and cost estimates if required.
To many rural homeowners and
cottagers, a septic system is "working" as long as the
toilet is not backing up and no wastewater is ponding in the
investigators currently estimate that 30% of the estimated one
million septic systems in Ontario are failing to adequately protect
the environment. (Septic Smart!, 1999)
A poor septic system can become a serious health
risk. Poorly maintained, improperly installed or damaged septic
systems can contaminate ground water with E.Coli or nitrates. This
can affect your well and your neighbors' wells. Poorly located or
poorly designed septic systems can also contaminate lakes and streams
with phosphorus, which can have an adverse effect on fish
Proper care and maintenance of your septic system
can greatly improve its treatment capabilities and increase its life
expectancy. Many new treatment technologies are available which
provide a cleaner and safer effluent. Contact Johnson Engineering
Consultants for more information.
residential systems of different types and styles all over Perth
County and surrounding area.
of Brampton system design for 100 acre soccer park.
Army Campground, Bayfield: 1995 Sewage Treatment facility and Class
'C' Environmental Assessment
Municipal Airport: Septic Bed design
Nursing Home, Fordwich: Sewage disposal pumps, tanks, and leaching
area, design and approval through Huron County Health Unit
- Canada Packers: 1990-1991 Sewage disposal for administration
Brothers, Sebringville, 1994 Septic bed detail
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