Through the Docktalk program, the Federation of Ontario Cottagers Association (FOCA) encourages landowners to look after their septic systems.
WHY? Problems can arise with septic systems that have serious impacts, including:
Overload/leaking of sewage
A septic system is designed to treat a set volume of waste water. Every time water goes down the drain into your septic tank, the same amount of liquid leaves the tank and enters the leaching bed. If too much waste water enters the tank, from extra guests, heavy water use – too much waste is forced out, too soon. Untreated waste water escapes, including solids that can clog up pipes and/or enter the leaching bed as well.
Wiped out waste digesters
Sewage is broken down by millions of bacteria and enzymes in your septic tank and soil within the leaching bed. That bacteria is harmed or killed by (1) cleaning products that are antibacterial, non-biodegradable, chlorine-based and/or full of toxic materials; and (2) hazardous products like varnish, paint, pesticides and gasoline.
Water quality affected, algal blooms erupt, and nuisance plants choke the lake
Septic systems were designed with public health in mind. They are designed to remove contaminants such as organic solids, bacteria, and viruses, but not to prevent the release of nutrients. Nitrogen and phosphorus released from septic systems can negatively impact water quality and cause algal blooms and increased growth of aquatic plants. Excess nitrogen can also pollute drinking water, endangering people.
Build up of solids
There’s a lot that can’t be digested by your septic system. Fats, grease, and oils don’t break down, and can form a scum layer at the top of your septic tank. Paper products, coffee grounds, hair, tampons, and other common sewage items inhibit the work of bacteria and quickly fill tanks. Combined, they can clog the system significantly hampering your septic’s effectiveness.
Hazardous products (paint, varnish, pesticides, gasoline, antifreeze) dumped down your drain, come out of the septic system just like they went in, but now they’re in the ground and water with the potential to poison wells and lakes.
Contaminated drinking water and swimming areas
If your sewage is leaking, not getting cleaned, or building up, the end result could be contaminated water entering wells, ground water, lakes, streams, etc. Your health and the environment’s health are at risk.
A septic system treats your waste water and sewage. Your household drains connect to a septic tank and a leaching bed. Both are buried beside your cottage. The leaching bed is made up of pipes (with holes) buried in gravel, surrounded by natural or imported soil.
Find out what you can do to keep your septic safe…
Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations 201-159 King Street Peterborough, ON K9J 2R8 Phone: (705) 749-3622 Fax: (705) 749-6522 Email: email@example.com