Environment

Septic installations

The Municipality has more than 1500 septic installationsin its territory. They are measured annually during the months of June and July.

This program for the measurement of septic sludge and scum is that all owners of such facilities receive annually a measurement report indicating whether their tank must be emptied or not. If so, the owner must send the Municipality a proof of emptying.

Companies offering septic tank emptying services in the region

Pompage West Brome

1089 Ch. Knowlton, West Brome 450-263-4751

Beauregard Fosses septiques

400 boul. Industriel, Asbestos 819-879-5245

Normand Brassard

588 Rue Principale, St-George-de-Windsor 819-828-3214

Bylaw for the Measurement of septic sludge and scum program (french only)

+ Practical Guide on the Protection ans Use of your Septic System for our citizens

Good practices

As the owner of a septic system you must meet certain requirements in order to meet the regulations. A well-designed, properly installed, used and maintained septic system sees its enhanced durability while ensuring environmental protection. It goes without saying that in addition to cause adverse impacts on the environment and a reduction in the value of your property, faulty septic systems, which must be repaired or replaced, generate significant expenditure. In order to promote the proper functioning of your septic system and increase its useful life, good practices can be adopted. This document tells you your principal obligations, the actions you must take and the behaviours you should avoid as owner and user of a standalone device for wastewater treatment.

Owner obligation

The main obligations of an owner of a septic system are:

  • Get a permit from the municipality prior to the construction of the residence, an addition of a bedroom or of another building, prior to the increase in operating capacity or operation of installation. A permit must be obtained before construction, renovation, alteration, reconstruction, relocation or expansion of a septic system;
  • Ensuring the upgrading of septic tanks by a professional if it is a nuisance or contamination, and this in the shortest possible time;
  • Replace defective parts or whose end of life has reached;
  • Making the tank available for emptying;
  • Ensure the maintenance of septic tanks when the municipality does not take charge.
Certified treatment systems

If your septic system is equipped with a certified treatment system according to NQ 3680-910 of the Bureau of normalization of Québec (BNQ), you must follow the recommendations for use and maintenance contained in the manufacturer’s guidelines and remain bound by any binding contract with the system manufacturer, his representative or a qualified third party. The contract must stipulate that minimum annual maintenance of the system will be made, unless the municipality conducts the overview. The owner of the treatment system must file a copy of the service contract to the local municipality where the isolated dwelling is located. The person doing the overview must transmit the maintenance report processing system to the municipality.

Good practices to adopt within the residence

Certain products, when routed in a septic system, are harmful to the treatment of waste water and can contaminate groundwater and surface water. Some products may also increase the amount of sludge and grease accumulated in the septic tank, cause premature clogging of the pre-filter and require more frequent emptying of the tank. It is therefore very important not to throw them in your septic system.

Examples of products that should not be thrown into the septic system :

(or directly into the pit, or through your toilet or your sinks)

  • Paint;
  • Toxic or inflammable products;
  • Floor wax, carpet cleaning products;
  • Products to unclog pipes;
  • Chloride, products for the maintenance of a spa or swimming pool;
  • Drugs; household cleaning products (it is recommended to use environmentally friendly cleaning products);
  • Cat litter, tea bags, coffee grounds, egg shells, lint filters from the dryer and cigarette butts;
  • Newspapers, paper towels, sanitary napkins, diapers and condoms;
  • Hair and tissue.

In fact, it is better to use the toilet uniquely for which it was designed for and nothing else.

Garbage disposals

The use of a garbage disposal is not recommended, since it generates a large amount of solids to the septic tank, which increases the amount of sludge. The use of this equipment can cause overloading of the pit and require more frequent emptying to prevent clogging of the downstream device. Composting food scraps is still the most environmentally friendly method, otherwise it is better to throw them in the trash rather than in the garbage disposal.

Reduction in consumption of drinking water

As the owner of a septic system, you have to take advantage of water saving practices. A lesser amount of water used in the house means a lesser amount of water directed to the processing device.

Here are some well known water saving practices:

  • Take shorter showers or do not overfill the bath;
  • Do not unnecessarily let water run when brushing teeth, washing hands or washing dishes;
  • Promote the use of a washing machine or dish washer only when the amounts are important ;
  • When possible try to do many washes in a short period of time (spread them over a few days);
  • Use water saving devices for faucets and showers;
  • When it is time to change the toilet, washing machine or dishwasher, purchase a model that consumes little water;
  • Ensure that toilets and faucets do not leak.

Note that a toilet leak can use 10-20 times more water in a day than an entire residence in the same time frame. Try to spread your water intake to avoid strokes of water in the septic tank. A water stroke occurs when a large amount of water coming into the pit in a very short time, creating turbulence and recovering suspended solids, which promotes their training to other components of the septic system . For example, the simultaneous use of the dishwasher, the washing machine and the shower can cause a significant water supply to the pit.

Water softener and other drinking water treatment systems

Before purchasing and installing a water softener or an other drinking water treatment system, it is recommended to seek the advice of your septic system designer or a competent professional in the field to know if your facility is designed to receive wastewater from the equipment. Some certified treatment system manufacturers prohibit such discharges to their processing system. The use of additives does not exempt the owner from draining the sludge from the septic tank connected to his residence, as required by the Regulations on the disposal and treatment of wastewater from isolated dwellings (Regulation Q-2, r.22).

The use of additives in septic tanks is left to the discretion of each owner. However, the Ministry does not recommend their use. In fact, studies indicate that the additives does not prevent the accumulation of sludge. In addition, some types of additives promote the solubilisation of fat, while others interfere with the settling of solids. The fats and solids which are not intercepted in the pit are transported by water to the other components of the septic system, which can affect their performance and service life. Moreover, the added bacteria in septic tanks can destroy those that are already present in the wastewater, which reduces the efficiency of the pit.

Adoption of practices outside the residence

It is important that the owner of a septic system is familiar with the location of each component of the system. This way, if broken, it will be easier to intervene. It is recommended to keep the plans of your septic system and the documents required for maintenance (contract and maintenance reports); you may need it in case of a malfunctioning septic system or when selling your home.

The septic tank

The lid of the septic tank must be safe and in good condition to avoid any risk of falling inside the pit. Lids must be accessible at all times to allow emptying of the pit. The drain should be done regularly to prevent excessive accumulation of sludge and scum. If your tank is equipped with a pre-filter, it must be cleaned regularly to prevent clogging. The presence of a pre-filter, its good maintenance and regular emptying of the septic tank maximize the useful life of the septic system by limiting the amount of floating materials (oil, grease, etc.) and suspended matter are routed to the other components of the septic system. The Regulations require, in Article 13, a septic tank seasonally used or drained at least once every four years, and a tank used year round be emptied at least once every two years. However, when a municipality supports the emptying of septic tanks, these can be emptied according to the annual measurement of scum and sludge.

It is important to never go inside a septic tank. This is a closed space which contains poisonous gas and very little oxygen, which can rapidly be fatal. The maintenance of a septic tank must be done by professionals in this field. It is important to remember that only domestic waste water must be channelled into the septic tank. Gutters and foundation drains should not be connected to your septic system. If necessary, it is important to conduct their disconnection to avoid over-burden your septic system and decrease its useful life. If a floor drain in a garage, is connected to the septic system, it is important not to evacuate large quantities of water (note the large volume of water generated by washing the car). It is also important not to throw in the garage drain products which may affect the septic system, for example, fuel, oil, solvents, antifreeze, paint, pesticides or fertilizers.

Additional precautions regarding the installation of the septic tank

In order to promote the proper functioning of your septic system and prevent breakage, some precautions can be taken outside of your residence. Some of these precautions are designed to prevent soil compaction or maintain a good oxygen supply to the processing device.

Above you septic system it is important not to:

  • Build or construct a swimming pool, a patio, a shed, a parking lot or other structure;
  • Travel by motor vehicule;
  • Creuser;
  • Dig;
  • Make a garden;
  • Plant trees or plants near drain pipes; their roots can clog and prevent the passage of water.

To promote the proper functioning of your septic system, you should:

  • To divert runoff water (from gutters, slope etc..) away from your septic system in order to avoid oevrload;
  • In the winter allow the snow to provide a cover which is a natural insulator for your septic system. However , it is important not to compact the snow to maintain a maximum aeration ;
  • In the summer, leave a vegetation cover (type of vegetation whose roots will not clog pipes).
  • Remember to follow the recommendations contained in the manufacturer’s guide for your processing system.
Defect indicators

Some clues can alert you that your septic system is faulty. If you see one or more of the following signs, contact a qualified professional in the field who can determine the source of the problem and that you plan the repair work required: Fumes an odours near your septic system are noticeable indicators (disgust smell); The sewage in your home is slow; Near your septic system, the grass is much greener or longer than the rest of the field, or the grass is spongy even in times of drought; resurgences of water occur near your septic system; The presence of bacterial contamination or nitrates is noted in the analysis of water from your well or your neighbours.

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