Community Septic Inspection Program
The Program is currently in the second round of inspections, which began in 2015. All properties that received an inspection under the HK-CSI program in 2009 are to be inspected in 2017.
If you own a septic system in the Township of Huron-Kinloss, here’s what you need to know about the HK-CSI program:
- You must have your septic system inspected every 8 years under the HK-CSI program
- Properties within a Wellhead Protection Area (with a vulnerability score of 10), require an inspection every 5 years to satisfy the Source Protection Policy requirements
- Property owners must call the Township (519-395-3735) to book an appointment for an inspection.
- Inspections are completed between May 1st to October 31st, weather permitting.
- Appointments are available Monday to Thursday between 9:00a.m. – 3:00p.m., with some evening and Saturday appointments available.
- If you haven’t had your septic tank pumped in the last twelve months, it is recommended that you have it pumped prior to the inspection.
- Inspections are carried out by a qualified Ontario Building Code Part 8 Sewage Systems inspector.
- At no time during the inspection will you be asked for payment. The program is funded by a flat rate on the annual tax bill of properties with a septic system.
- Once an inspection is completed, property owners are mailed an inspection report which includes an aerial photograph of the property outlining the location of the septic system.
- If you sell your property, please leave the inspection report for the new owners.
The Township of Huron-Kinloss initiated the Huron-Kinloss Community Septic Inspections (HK-CSI) program in the spring of 2007. The goal of this program is to encourage regular maintenance of septic systems, through mandatory inspections. If unmaintained, septic systems are a threat to public health and the environment. Regular maintenance, however, can ensure that systems work efficiently and safely, protecting the natural environment. Through the program, 3,023 inspections of properties with a septic system were inspected during the first round of inspections, which was completed over an eight year period (2007-2014).
A full copy of the summary on the first round of inspections can be found at HK-CSI Cycle 1.
Visit our blog at hkcsi.blogspot.com for additional information or to post any comments you have.
If you have any questions about the HK-CSI, please contact the Township of Huron Kinloss municipal office at 519-395-3735.
About the Program
The Huron-Kinloss septic inspection program represents a proactive step on the part of the Township and the citizens in addressing the possibility of septic systems affecting surface and groundwater quality. The project was developed as a response to requests from property owners throughout the Township and designed to complement the existing water quality monitoring program.
Septic systems are a common method of waste treatment and disposal within the Township; it is estimated that there are approximately 2900 private septic systems along the lakeshore and in the rural areas of the Township. Properly maintained systems are very effective in treating and disposing of wastes, however, poorly designed, installed or maintained systems can have serious environmental and health impacts. With these impacts in mind, the Township implemented a septic inspection program to identify systems with deficiencies and work with property owners to ensure that their septic system operates properly.
Under the Ontario Building Code (OBC), building officials and inspectors have the authority to enter onto private property for the purposes of inspecting a building or sewage system to determine whether the building or sewage system is unsafe. Section 15.9(3) of the OBC states: “a sewage system is unsafe if it is not maintained or operated in accordance with the Act and the building code”. With these requirements of the OBC, it was determined that a septic system inspection program could be instituted to identify whether systems in the Township are being properly maintained and operated. Amendments to the Building Code in 2010 defined the scope and application of sewage system maintenance inspection programs; in areas where discretionary programs are in place, all on-site sewage systems must be inspected, and the program must provide inspectors with the authority to inspect all systems.
Each year, between 300 and 400 tanks will be inspected. The inspection is a non invasive, visual inspection carried out by a qualified Part 8 inspector. Pump outs are not mandatory, but are recommended. Also, if tank levels are too high during the inspection, the inspector can order a pump out. The inspector, when on site, will document the location of buildings, wells, watercourses and property lines in respect to the location of the septic system. Vegetation around the drainfield and any septage leaks will also be noted. For inspections it is recommended that the property owner is present to answer any questions the inspector may have. After an inspection, the property owner will receive the results of the inspection and notice if any follow up actions are required.
The HK-CSI is funded by a flat rate assigned per eligible property on the annual taxes. A flat rate is assigned to the annual taxes so that property owners will not be charged for anything at the time of inspection.
The first round of inspections for the HK-CSI program took place between 2007-2014. At the end of 2014, 3,023 inspections have been completed (this includes multiple systems on properties and follow up visits). The number of inspections completed per year is shown in the figure below. The number of inspections includes follow up vistis to properties when replacement tanks or systems were installed following an intial inspection. Over the 8-year cycle, it was the intent to complete approximatly 350 inspections per year.
Inspections completed as part of the HK-CSI program, per year, 2007-2014
The risk assessment assigned to each septic system during an inspection became a large source of information to the Township, as it revealed the overall trend of systems in the Township. An in-depth review of the risk assessment statistics supports the need for a continued inspection program. In the first round, 52% of the inspected systems were given a low risk rating, as they did not require any repairs and were under 25 years in age. By the end of the second round, half of these systems will have a minimum medium - age rating, as they will be older than 25 years. Some will likely require repairs and some may fail for various reasons. More disconcerning are the systems currently rated as medium - age. The average age of these systems is 43 years.
Risk Assessments of Inspected Systems, 2007-2014
Given the average age and increasing medium aged septic sytems, it is expected that in the near future there will be an increasing trend towards problems and failures as these systems continue to age. The second round of the program will identify these problematic systems. A septic system is considered an asset to the Township, each a conservative cost of $15,000, so it is inevitable the need to maintain their value. The HK-CSI program intends to act as an asset management plan, protecting approximately $45,000,000 of assets present in the Township. The cost of the program, with two pump-outs over the eight year cycle, equates to an annual cost of about three-quarters of one percent of the value of the asset. The HK-CSI program represents good value for property owners and good due diligence by the Township.