Septic Re-Inspection Program

Central Frontenac’s Mandatory Septic Re-Inspection Program is Underway

Central Frontenac will be starting its mandatory septic re-inspection program in May. This program is replacing the voluntary inspection program in place since 2014.

The goal of this program is to help educate property owners while protecting the quality of surface and groundwater within the township.

2022 Central Frontenac Septic Re-Inspection Report

Septic Re-Inspection By-law

Septic Re-Inspection Program Publicity Card

Septic Smart!

 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
  1. Why is the Township implementing this program?
The Township understands the importance of protecting our drinking water and natural environment. It is critical that we ensure our impact on lakes, rivers and watercourses does not negatively impact water quality and fish habitat. Improperly working septic systems can contribute bacteria, viruses, parasites and nutrients into our groundwater and lakes and rivers. The inspection program not only provides education to the public but also identifies septic systems that have failed or are close to failure, so remediation can be undertaken to avoid contamination.
 2.  Who will be required to have their system inspected?
To start, older systems located on the sensitive trout lakes will be inspected. Then all waterfront properties, and eventually all properties located in Central Frontenac with any class of sewage system (including but not limited to privies, greywater systems, septic tank and leaching bed, septic tank with advance treatment unit and holding tanks). It is expected that all systems in the township will be inspected in a ten year period, based on 200-300 inspections a year.
 3.  Should the septic/holding tank be pumped before the inspection?

No! In fact, it is better to not pump prior to the inspection. The Inspector needs to see how the system processes solids, organize material and effluent. You may even save unnecessary pumping depending on the report from the Inspector.

4.  How much will the inspection cost?
The township inspection fee will be $100.00 plus HST. This fee will be invoiced to the property owner at the time of inspection. If the fee is not paid, the township will add it to the tax bill and interest charges will apply. The inspectors will charge a fee if they need to uncover the lids to the tank, so these should be uncovered prior the inspection to avoid further expense.

5.  I just submitted a planning application for my property which included fees to the Township of South Frontenac for application review and/or a performance review. Will this review suffice for my inspection as well?

Unfortunately, no. Those reviews serve a completely different purpose.  The review does not include a physical inspection of the system nor does it look at the same criteria. If, however, you are proposing a new system as a result of your planning application, the new system won’t need to be inspected until 10 years after installation.

 6.  Who will be doing the inspections?

The Township has contracted with the Mississippi Rideau Septic Systems Office for their inspectors to undertake the inspections on behalf of the township. Eric Kohlsmith is the lead inspector.

 7.  Are other municipalities doing this inspection program?

Yes, there are many rural municipalities in Ontario that have been doing re-inspection programs, some of which are voluntary and some mandatory for over 15 years. Township of North Frontenac, Tay Valley Township and Rideau Lakes Townships are some of the local ones.

 8.  How long does the inspection take?

Usually 30-40 minutes but it can take up to two hours depending on access to the system and the number of components.

 9.  How much notice will I have before the inspection?

Inspections will start as early as May, 2019 and will run through summer/fall until the ground freezes. The municipality will send out notices to homeowners starting in the Spring of 2019. That notice will provide you with a suggested date/time for the inspection and instructions to follow if that time/date doesn’t work.

 10.  What does the inspector look at?

The inspector will look at the location of all system elements, measurement of separation distances to key lot features, visual inspection of the tank structure, measurement of tank contents, and visual inspection of the bed.

 11.  When will the inspection be?

The inspector will contact the homeowner to arrange for a convenient time to do the inspection. Usually inspections take place during the week, however arrangements can be made to conduct inspections on a Saturday. The inspection period will run from the time the ground thaws, to when it freezes in the fall.

 12.  Do I need to be there for the inspection?

It is preferable that you, or someone familiar with the system be present for the inspection.

 13.  What if I don't know where the tanks are?

Look for the permit provided to you when you had the system installed. It will have a sketch of the location of the system/tanks. If you don’t have this, the Inspector will work with you to assist you.

 14.  What happens if my system fails the inspection?

The Inspector will inform you if there are issues with the system. Often these can be corrected by maintenance or remediation measures undertaken by a licenced installer. In limited circumstances, the system may need to be fully replaced. If the homeowner refuses to repair or replace the system, the Inspector will refer the system to Kingston Frontenac Lennox & Addington Public Health, who may issue an Order under the Building Code Act.

 15.  What if I don't want to allow the inspection?
Authority to inspect septic systems is contained in Div C 1.10 of the Building Code.

The Township passed By-law 2018-49 to implement the mandatory inspection. Therefore the Township and its inspectors have the authority to inspect your system with, or without, your express permission. The Building Code also provides the authority for inspectors to enter your home/cottage if deemed necessary, however this rarely is the case. More often than not, it will be the plumbing and infrastructure under the cottage that the inspector may need visual access to. The inspector will work with the homeowner if inside access is needed.

 16.  What if I cannot afford to fix or replace a failed system?
Alternative systems can be considered as well as the potential for local funding programs including the RVCA Rural Clean Water Program and Kingston-Frontenac Renovates.
 17.  Can my septic pumper professional do the inspection when he/she pumps my system?
Any septic pumping professional who is qualified under the Ontario Building Code to inspect (he/she must have a BCIN) may be qualified to do the inspection, however due to the conflict of interest provisions in the Act (See 1.10.13 of the Code for more information) it should not be a pumper who has a financial or professional interest in the system.  The inspection form must be completed in the prescribed form. If the inspection form is submitted and is satisfactory, the township will not require its inspector to inspect, and will not charge the $100 inspection fee. All costs associated with a third party inspection will be the homeowner’s responsibility.
 18.  My system is new.  Will I still need to have an inspection done?
Eventually, yes, however we will be focusing on the older systems first. It may take up to ten years to inspect all systems in the township.
 19.  I just pumped my system.  Can I provide you with a copy of my receipt in lieu of having the inspection done?
No. In fact, the inspection should be done before the system is pumped.

Pumping the tank doesn’t necessarily provide an inspection to confirm if the system is functioning properly. Further, your pumper may have a conflict of interest under Section (4) & (5) of the Code. Contact your pumping professional for more information and what the costs are for this service.

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