Monday, May 13, 2019

TIPS: Septic systems and flooding

During a flooding event, it is important to pay close attention to the condition of your septic system. If the system appears to be completely saturated, there is the potential that sewage may back up in the building. It is essential to limit the use of the septic system during this time. Closing off the drains, especially at the lowest level, may help to reduce the damage caused if the sewage backs up into the building. 

Once the water has receded, there are a few things that homeowners should remember: 
  • Don't open the septic lids until the water has receded. Make sure that the systems lid(s) remain secure. Once the water has receded, have an experienced professional check the condition of internal components (baffles, filters) and ensure they are secure and unclogged. 
  • If a back up in the building has occurred, use a proper disinfectant to clean the area.
  • Before using the system, make sure the water on the bed is lower than the water level around the house.
  • If drinking water for the property comes from a well, it is important to have the water tested before it is consumed to ensure it has not been contaminated.
  • Have the system pumped (and back washed) by an experienced professional after the water has receded in order to remove any silt and debris that may have been washed into the system.
  • Don't compact the soil over the septic bed. This may reduce the soil absorption ability to treat wastewater and cause the system to fail (and potentially cause a back up in the building).
  • Check all electrical or mechanical components (grinder pump, effluent pump, ejector pump, etc.) to ensure the connections have not been compromised. 
  • When the area is dry, repair any areas of erosion or sod damage over the septic bed to ensure an adequate cover and stability.  

For more information about septic system and flooding, visit: https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/septic-systems-what-do-after-flood

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The 2019 HK-CSI Inspection Season is now underway!


The 2019 HK-CSI Inspection Season is now underway! 

All properties that received an inspection under the HK-CSI program in 2011 are to be inspected in 2019. 


Properties within a Wellhead Protection Area (WHPA) that were inspected in 2014 are to be inspected in 2019 to satisfy the Source Protection Policy requirements (require an inspection every 5 years).

To book your appointment: Call the Township office (519)395-3735 to schedule your appointment in advance to ensure availability. Appointments for 2019 will be scheduled from May 1st to October 31st
·         Monday - Wednesday 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
·         Thursday 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
·         Saturday appointments may be arranged

Friday, October 5, 2018

Septic Tank Additives - Good or Bad?


The  Ontario Onsite Wastewater Association recently published  a memo on their website about septic tank additives. The topic is one that does not have a consistent view across the industry. Some experts believe that their use is important to aid the functioning of the system, while others are not convinced they provide a benefit. The composition and marketing of these additives have evolved over time to meet changing demands and perception of septic system care in the industry. 

The basic purpose of an additive is to aid the septic tank or bed in some way depending on the type. Additives fall into three types: inorganic compounds, organic solvents and biological additives.

  • Inorganic compounds - These products are typically made from strong acids or alkalis, marketed to unclog drains. Their composition can kill healthy bacteria in the tank, allowing raw sewage to potentially pass into the bed. These compounds may also corrode concrete tanks, risking the tanks to leak its contents.  These products are not recommended.


  • Organic solvents - These products are considered a degreasers to break down fats, oils and greases. Good bacteria in the tank may be killed off, therefore allowing raw sewage to potentially pass into the bed. These products are not recommended.


  • Biological additives - These type of additives, such as yeast, which are used to enhance the bacteria and microbes already present in the septic tank. Septic tanks have five types of waste: proteins, fibers, greases, pectins and starches. Biological enzymes are specific to each waste type - for example, Cellulase (enzyme), is specific to fibers and Protease is specific to protein-based wasted. The effectiveness of products depend on the health of the existing system and may not improve the efficiency of bacterial growth, reproduction, and function.
    • Bacterial based additives: These provide a boost of live bacteria and aid in bacterial growth. In cases where healthy bacteria is lacking in the system, a bacterial additive may provide a boost the bacterial population in the tank. If the system already contains healthy bacteria, adding a commercial product may cause competition between the existing and added bacterial. 
    • Enzymes: These are non living and cannot reproduce and are intended to stimulate growth and reproduction of existing bacterial. It is understood that some enzymes may break down the scum layer and allow for fats, oils and greases to reach the septic bed. 

Proceed with caution - products that claim to reduce or eliminate the need for tank pump out shall be used with caution. Many solids in the tank that require to be pumped out are ones that cannot be broken down using an additive. The accumulation of scum and sludge inside a septic tank cannot be completely prevented. 

Expert opinions on the use of additives in a septic tank remains inconclusive. If you believe your system could benefit from using an additive, be sure to use a trusted supplier and a product that is environmentally friendly (look for the green eco-label) - anything that is put down your septic system will eventually make its way to the environment.

Want to ensure your septic system remains efficient? Follow a regular pumping schedule to remove any solid build up in the tank, clean your effluent filter and inspect the components of your system annually, and always consult a reputable expert when in doubt.


Ontario Onsite Wastewater Association: Septic Tank Additives - What you need to know!
Link: https://www.oowa.org/consumer-information/septic-tank-additives-need-know/



Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Are 'Flushable Wipes' safe for my septic system?


Are 'Flushable Wipes' safe for my septic system? 

The answer - NO! 

Although manufacturers market some wipes at 'flushable', these wipes may not break down quickly enough (if at all) in your septic tank, like toilet paper does. An overload of wipes may cause a blockage in the septic system and may result in a backup of your septic system, costing you hundreds to thousands of dollars in repairs. 

An example of a septic tank full of wipes
that are  not broken down

The best advice for disposing of anything other than toilet paper - put it in the trash!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Filter Friday - Effluent Filter Maintenance


Do you have a filter in your septic system? If you have a newer system, you will have a filter on the outlet baffle of your septic tank. 

What does a filter do for my septic system? Filters prevent solids from leaving the septic tank and entering your septic bed. If solids enter your septic bed from the tank, there is the potential for them to accumulate and cause a failure of the bed (and contents from the tank may eventually back up into the house). 

What maintenance is required for my filter? It is important that the filter is cleaned annually to remove any build up of solids that is preventing liquids from entering the septic bed. 

Cleaning a filter is simple - just rinse it out with a garden house!



This picture shows a clogged effluent filter that requires cleaning. If the liquids cannot enter the septic bed, a back up of the contents of the septic tank into the house may occur.

Monday, May 21, 2018

YOU ASKED - The 'when' and 'what' of septic system pumping


How often do I need to pump my septic system?
When to pump a septic system depends on the age and capacity of the tank and the usage of the system (number of users, frequency of use). 
  • It is recommended that a system is pumped out every 3 - 5 years.
  • Under the Ontario Building Code:
    •  "a septic tank must be cleaned whenever sludge and scum occupy 1/3 of the working capacity of the tank" (Section 8.9.3.4)
  • Pumping your system on a regular basis allows you (or your pumper) to ensure all components of your septic system are properly working.

What you need to know when a pumper comes to clean your tank
  • Septic tanks with two compartments (most tanks installed after 1973 will have two compartments) will require both to be accessible so they can be pumped out.
  • A pumper may "backwash" the tank  to remove any accumulation of solids at the bottom of the tank which can then be easily removed. 
  • On average, pumping of a septic tank should take between 20 to 30 minutes to complete.
  • After a septic system is properly pumped, there should be very little scum, sludge or liquid remaining in the tank.
  • If your system has an effluent filter, it is good practice to have your filter cleaned annually as well as at the time of pumping. 

Monday, April 30, 2018

The 2018 HK-CSI Inspection Season is now underway!


The 2018 HK-CSI Inspection Season is now underway! 

All properties that received an inspection under the HK-CSI program in 2010 are to be inspected in 2018. 


Properties within a Wellhead Protection Area (WHPA) that were inspected in 2013 are to be inspected in 2018 to satisfy the Source Protection Policy requirements (require an inspection every 5 years).

To book your appointment: Call the Township office (519)395-3735 to schedule your appointment in advance to ensure availability. Appointments for 2018 will be scheduled from April 30th to October 31st
·         Monday - Wednesday 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
·         Thursday 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
·         Saturday appointments may be arranged