The Mandatory and Discretionary On-Site Sewage System Maintenance Inspection Program was initiated by the Province of Ontario to help preserve and protect surface water and groundwater quality.  Both programs are outlined in The Ontario Building Code and supports the Clean Water Act, 2006 (CWA).  

The Mandatory Re-inspection Program was established in 2011 and the Discretionary Sewage Re-Inspection program was established in 2019 with Bylaw 2019.73.  With both programs, all properties within the identified mandatory and discretionary inspection program areas will be inspected once every five years. 

What are the inspectors looking for?

During an inspection, the Septic Inspector will look for signs of damage or system failure. The visual inspection of the property consists of the following:

  • Type and number of buildings on the property
  • Type of system being used (i.e. privy, grey water or leaching bed)
  • Evidence of sewage effluent ponding, odour or unusually green or thick grass growing on or around the tile bed
  • Surface water or groundwater flows toward the sewage system 
  • Trees or other vegetation has grown on the tile bed
  • Location of the components of the septic system
  • The number of septic systems.

Program areas and exemptions

The program areas provide information on properties included in the inspection program as well as those exempted. 

 Mandatory Inspection Program Area

The Mandatory On-site Sewage System Maintenance Inspection program includes all properties within 100 metres of the Lake Simcoe shoreline, within 100 metres of another body of water within the Lake Simcoe watershed, or near a municipal well or surface water intake area.

 

To view the inspection areas on our GIS map, please click the mapping link below and click Septic Re-inspection Phase and Year under Building and Planning Services.

GIS Mapping

 Discretionary Inspection Program Area

The Discretionary On-site Sewage System Maintenance Inspection program include all properties that utilize a sewage system and are within 100 m of all rivers, streams, lakes and ponds as identified in Schedule A.

 

To view the inspection areas on our GIS map, please click the mapping link below and click Septic Re-inspection Phase and Year under Building and Planning Services.

GIS Mapping

 Program Exemptions

If you have an Advanced Treatment Unit, your sewage system will be exempt from the programs as long as you submit:

  • A current Service Agreement
  • Annual Service Reports

If you do not have a Current Agreement or do not submit a Mandatory Annual Service Report, the Township will inspect and charge $150.00 fee for the annual inspection. Further action will be taken if you do not comply with the mandatory requirements.

Inspection Process

Both the Mandatory and Discretionary On-site Sewage System program will occur on a 5-year cycle. Inspections will typically take place during the spring, summer and fall months. The inspection process is as follows:

  1. An inspection will take place to examine the septic and surrounding areas. During the visit the following is observed:
    • Location of the tile field and tank where visible
    • Detectable odour
    • Discharge of effluent to surface
  2. A notice will be left at the door once inspection is complete.
  3. The Township requires a pump out certificate completed by a certified septic hauler of your choice. It is your responsibility to ensure that the pump out certificate is submitted to the Township within the inspection year.
  4. An invoice will be sent following the inspection. The fee is payable to the Township of Ramara.

Fee

We'll inspect all properties located in the mandatory and discretionary inspection program areas once every five years.

Once the Township has examined the septic and surrounding areas, residents will receive an invoice for $150.00. Please be advised that after the allotted thirty days for payment, the fee amount is transferred directly to the property tax account.

Deficiencies Report

If your system fails an inspection, you will receive a letter from the Township outlining your deficiencies with a deadline on your remedial action.

Further action will be taken if corrections are not complete.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between the Mandatory Septic Re-Inspection program and the Discretionary Septic Re-inspection program?

The Mandatory Septic Re-inspection program is required every five years under the Ontario Building Code for properties within 100 metres of the Lake Simcoe shoreline, within 100 metres of another body of water within the Lake Simcoe watershed or near a municipal well or surface water intake area. This program was established in 2011 and is required to protect Ontario’s drinking water and natural environment and support implementing the Clean Water Act, 2006 (CWA) and the Lake Simcoe Protection Act.

 

The Discretionary Sewage Re-Inspection program was established in 2019 by Bylaw 2019.73 to identify and resolve potential hazards associated with malfunctioning sewage systems. This program is required every five years for properties that utilize a sewage system and are within 100 metres of a lake, river, stream or pond as identified in Schedule “A.”

How was I notified about the program? 

2022 Discretionary Sewage Program Notice mailed to those in the 2022 inspection area.

2022 Final Tax Insert

2022 Interim Tax Insert

Council Highlights - May 9, 2022

Social Media

What is the fee?

The fee for both the Mandatory and Discretionary Septic Re-Inspection program is $150.00. Council set these fees as it takes into account the following:

  • Administrative staff time organizing the program, researching each property, processing reports and following up with calls.
  • Inspector time, which can take five to 20 minutes, in examining the system and taking an assessment of the property.
  • Inspector travel time.
  • Inspector vehicle time and use.
  • Liability 

What are the inspectors looking for?

This program includes a visual inspection of the property and consists of the following:

  • Type and number of buildings on the property
  • Type of system being used (i.e. privy, grey water or leaching bed)
  • Evidence of sewage effluent ponding, odour or unusually green or thick grass growing on or around the tile bed
  • Surface water or groundwater flows toward the sewage system 
  • Trees or other vegetation has grown on the tile bed
  • Location of the components of the septic system
  • The number of septic systems.

What is the process for the Septic Re-inspection programs?

 This is the process for the Septic Re-Inspection Program for 2021. 

  1. An inspection will take place on those properties identified in the 2020 and 2021 programs (Mandatory ListDiscretionary ListGIS Map). 
  2. A notice will be left at the door once the inspection is complete.
  3. The Township requires a pump-out certificate from a certified septic hauler of your choice. Your responsibility is to ensure that the pump-out certificate is submitted to the Township within the inspection year.
  4. An invoice will be sent following the inspection. The fee is payable to the Township of Ramara.

What is the qualification of the inspector completing the Septic Re-inspection program, and why are they asking me questions? 

Inspectors are instructed to talk to homeowners to assess the property and get as much information as possible about the property to ensure that no information is missed. Inspectors are under a company BCIN and are qualified to perform the visual inspection. 

Why did the inspector ask me the location of our septic system? Shouldn’t the Township have this information?

Inspectors are instructed to talk to homeowners in order to get as much information on the property and to ensure that no information is missing. In some files, the Township has little to no information regarding resident’s septic system.  As a result, inspectors will ask questions to further verify field observations.

 

I just had my tank pumped out, but I didn’t get a pump-out report. What do I do?

A receipt of septic pump out from a certified septic hauler from 2020, 2021 and prior to June 6, 2022 will be sufficient proof of a septic tank inspection for properties in this year's Septic Re-inspection program.

Please note, with the Discretionary Septic Re-Inspection Program, septic systems installed within two years of the program commencing, starting in 2020, are exempted from the program. 

Why is an inspector showing up if I have a system that is inspected annually (Advanced Treatment System)?

A tertiary system, such as Waterloo Biofilter or Elgin System, that treats the effluent to a higher standard, as a part of their approval under the Building Code, they require yearly maintenance. The inspection is done by the installer or the company and is given to the property owner. The property owner then must send that report to the Township in order to be removed from the re-inspection program. If we have not received any records, the system is in default and as per the bylaw we have to inspect. There are 28 systems in the program that the Township has identified, with only a handful providing information to the Township. 

My road is not identified as part of the Re-Inspection program, but I am within 100 metres of a lake or watercourse.

This program is an ongoing program that runs in a five-year cycle continuously. Missed areas will be re-examined to ensure that all properties are captured. If a street or a property is missed, the Township will be able to identify the missing area and add it to the list to be inspected. Everyone in the Mandatory and Discretionary areas will be inspected at some point in the five-year cycle.  

What is the process if my septic system has failed? 

If your system fails an inspection, those residents will receive a letter from the Township outlining the deficiencies with a deadline on the remedial action. The Township will work with those homeowners to correct the issue as quickly as possible.

Further action will be taken if corrections are not complete.

 The Mandatory On-site Sewage System Maintenance Inspection program includes all properties within 100 metres of the Lake Simcoe shoreline, within 100 metres of another body of water within the Lake Simcoe watershed or near a municipal well or surface water intake area.

Caring for your System

  • Be mindful of what is flushed down toilets: Do not flush wipes, napkins, feminine hygiene products, dental floss, plastic, or other miscellaneous items.
  • Be mindful of what is going down your drains: Be sure to put your coffee grinds, fats, greases and other compostable products into your green bin.
  • Avoid harsh cleaning chemicals, paints and oils that can upset the balance of live bacteria necessary for the treatment of the effluent in your septic system.
  • To keep your system clean and avoid clogging of your bed all septic tanks should be pumped regularly, it is recommended at least every 5 years for a system serving a regular household in a single family dwelling.
  • The Ontario Onsite Wastewater Association has a complete homeowners guide to a healthy sewage system.