Septic System Solutions for Challenging Cottage Properties

Interested in improving the water quality of your lake?  Qualified Wastewater Designers Offer Septic Solutions to Reduce Environmental Impact.

Article written by Cambium’s Project Coordinator, Stew Dolstra, B.Sc., Hon., Dipl., BCIN  Well Technician.

On-site wastewater treatment systems commonly referred to as septic systems can be found at just about every rural residence or cottage.  In most cases, a conventional on-site wastewater treatment system consists of a septic tank followed by a leaching bed, both sized and designed accordingly based on the type of building it services.

Many cottage or lakeshore properties in Ontario exhibit challenging conditions in which even the smallest conventional system footprint may not be suitable for a property.  This can be due to limited space available, shallow groundwater, poor soils, shallow bedrock or steep slopes. There may also be setbacks from supply wells, water bodies, property lines, and buildings.

More discrete blending into the existing grade, minimizes tree removal.

In these cases an advanced treatment unit is considered as an alternative to a conventional system.  Advanced treatment typically use some form of media such as plastic, foam, or peat to circulate or spread the wastewater over an area to allow filtration and aeration to provide additional treatment.  Due to the higher quality of sewage treatment provided by this type of unit, a smaller leaching bed is permitted for final treatment and dispersion of the wastewater.  This allows more flexibility to place the leaching bed in an area where a conventional system will not fit.  Typically, the smaller footprint also saves trees from removal, allows for a more discrete installation and saves invaluable space on the property.

Up to 50% less footprint than conventional systems

There are many different manufacturers of advanced treatment units, however in order to be used in Ontario all advanced treatment units must obtain the same certification.  Although held to the same standard, these units offer a wide variety of technology to achieve the required treatment for your property use.

It is important that you consult with a qualified designer prior to selecting an advance treatment unit to ensure the property specific challenges of your site are considered. The designer will take into consideration any challenges with respect to restricted burial depths, power requirements, winterization, variable flows, as well as purchase and installation cost, maintenance requirements, and lifespan to ensure the ideal advanced treatment unit is chosen for the site.

These challenging conditions are typical of cottage properties, making it more important than ever for a property owner to work with a qualified third party wastewater system designer.  Conventional wastewater systems typically cost less to install and require lower maintenance than a system that incorporates an advanced treatment unit.  As such, a qualified designer takes into consideration the site challenges, system requirements and cost, as well as the design specifications to meet the Ontario Building Code requirements. Property owners can be assured that the wastewater system design options presented meet their needs and are tailored specific to the site.

A wastewater treatment system is the responsibility of the property owner as are the costs associated with it.  It is up to you to make informed decisions when selecting both a qualified and experienced designer and installer for your system. It is of the utmost importance to ensure the wastewater treatment system functions properly to protect you and your neighbor’s health and the environment as well as prolong the life of your investment.

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