Septic Maintenance Program (SMP)
Under the Ontario Building Code, the Township must administer the provincially mandated septic maintenance program. There are approximately 2,000 affected properties in the Township.
In 2011 the Ontario Building Code was amended to establish mandatory on-site sewage maintenance inspection programs. The programs help protect Ontario’s drinking water and the natural environment while supporting the implementation of the Clean Water Act and the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan.
There are 2,024 properties in the Township subject to the provincial Septic Maintenance Program.
- SMP2025 - 1,882 septic systems located within 100 m to the Lake Simcoe shoreline or tributary.
- Current 5-year cycle (2021-2025); compliance deadline December 31, 2025
- WHP2021 - 142 systems located within 100 m of a municipal well head.
- Current 5-year cycle (2017-2021); compliance deadline December 31, 2021
Property owners and the Township are responsible to gain compliance for each 5 year cycle.
Township inspectors will conduct visual site inspections at all affected properties throughout the 5 year cycle. Inspections are conducted to identify any evidence of malfunction or failure, a notification status card will be left on site. A map of the 5 year inspection schedule is available for viewing. Interactive Map
Property Owner's Responsibility
Property owners shall submit the appropriate supporting documents:
- Septic Tank Inspection Report - Applicable for all septic tanks - except as noted under "Service Report".
- Maintenance Agreement - Applicable for all treatment units (i.e. Ecoflo, Waterloo Biofilter, Eljen, Enviroseptic, etc). – except as noted under "Service Report".
- Service Report - Applicable for Norweco & Aquarobic treatment units only. Will be accepted as an alternate document to above.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What if I have a treatment unit?
- Visual inspections must be conducted on the entire system (septic tank, treatment unit, and distribution bed).
- Most systems include a septic tank and treatment unit (Exception is Aquarobic and Microfast).
- Units require annual maintenance and sampling as per your Maintenance Agreement.
2. What if I have a holding tank?
- Existing holding tanks are acceptable. Tanks shall be pumped and are maintained regularly. A visual tank report is required.
3. What if it’s only for seasonal use?
- All identified properties are subject to the program regardless of frequency of use.
4. How do I locate a qualified pumper?
- Yellow pages / Online search
5. Compliance goal
- Provincially legislated compliance is required for all properties. Those properties that have not complied by the deadlines will be subject to issuance of applicable orders and further legal action. This is not the preferred approach for the Township.
6. How was the mapping created?
- The mapping has been provided to us by the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) and Ministry of Environment (MOE).
- The Township is administering the program based on properties that are located within the 100 m buffer from the lakes, streams, ponds and waterways identified by the LSRCA and MOE in this mapping.
7. Is there available funding?
- Please contact the Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority, Severn Sound Environmental Association, or the County of Simcoe.
8. What if my sewage system is not within the 100 m buffer?
- Staff conducted a comprehensive review of all affected properties based on mapping and septic records. All sewage systems identified outside the boundary were deemed exempt from future cycle compliance requirements.
9. If it is determined the tank and tile bed is not within the regulated distance why is the property not exempt from the program from that point forward?
- Properties located within the 100 m boundary remain in the septic maintenance program. Although the sewage system may be outside the boundary, the remainder of the property is still within the program and staff are required to ensure future development does not change the status of the file.
10. What if I complied in the first 5 year cycle?
- Thank you for your cooperation
- The program is a reoccurring 5 year cycle with no end date identified by the Province.
11. Why is it necessary for Township staff to visually inspect the bed each time the tank is pumped, even after the first inspection/cycle has taken place? Can the pumper not confirm both the condition of the tank AND the tile bed?
- The Township administrates the program as a municipal staff inspection program. The Ontario Building Code (OBC) requires a qualified Building Code Identification Number (BCIN) Municipal Inspector to conduct the necessary visual inspections, which includes the tile bed, septic tank, and surrounding area. Previous administration through third party certificates was unsuccessful due to the varying cost and detail of reports provided.
12. Does the legislation apply to the stream only or does it actually apply to the regulated lands as well? Originally it applied only for the distance from an actual body of water (Lake Simcoe).
The program includes all properties within:
- 100 m of Lake Simcoe shoreline (2011)
- 100 m of source protection areas - Municipal well heads (2012)
- 100 m to rivers, streams, lake or ponds (*New for 2016)
- Properties have been identified through mapping provided by the LSRCA, MOE and OBC requirements.
13. If we have a qualified maintenance inspection program for our septic and tile bed, why do we also need the inspection from the Township?
- Advanced Treatment units and the requirement for annual inspections address ONLY the treatment unit and not the tile bed or septic tank. The provincially mandated septic maintenance program does not exempt advance treatment systems.
14. It does not seem reasonable for one individual living in a home with a 1000 gallon tank to be required to have it pumped every five years rather than a longer period of time. What, if any, consideration can be given for this?
- Seasonal or occasional use is not monitored or regulated by the Township; all identified properties are subject to the same Provincial requirements regardless of use or occupancy.
- The inspection report is a visual inspection of the septic tank and if the tank is not pumped a measurement of the sludge and scum would be needed to ensure that it does not occupy more than one-third of the working capacity of the tank. You may wish to find a company that is able to assess the capacity of solids and scum to avoid unnecessary pumping.