Private on-site sewage treatment systems are used throughout Ontario and Canada to safely treat and discharge wastewater. Septic systems may be in use in unsewered urban centers, however they are primarily found in rural areas. Septic systems are regulated under the Ontario Building Code (OBC) in section 8 which deals with acceptable standards of on-site sewage systems in order to protect public health and the natural environment.
Although septic systems are regulated by the OBC and enforced by the Municipality the responsibility for ensuring that the system is operating properly and that maintenance requirements are being met is that of the property owners. The septic system is an integral part of a home’s mechanical system. However, we tend to only pay attention to it when it stops working. It is a significant part of the investment that we make in our homes. It makes good sense to maintain it so it works properly and lasts as long as possible.
The Ontario Building Code requires septic tanks to be pumped/cleaned when solids occupy 1/3 of the tanks capacity. Under normal use conditions this should be done every 3 to 5 years. This can be done by an approved septic hauler and is a perfect opportunity to have your septic system inspected by a qualified septic inspector. The inspector will coordinate with the hauler because it is necessary to perform some functional testing prior to pumping the tank.
In most cases your home is the most significant investment you will make in your lifetime. Whether you have purchased a number of homes or it’s your first home, it is important to ensure that the whole mechanical system is performing as it was intended, including and especially the septic system. It’s not uncommon -because it is sight unseen- to ignore this part of the home’s mechanical systems. When purchasing a home have the septic system checked by a qualified septic inspector.