Sewage System Maintenance Inspection Program

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The Township of Muskoka Lakes is committed to the protection of the health and integrity of the natural environment and the water quality of its lakes and rivers, which are all part of the Township’s most valuable resources. To ensure that environmental protection meets the highest standards, the following policy expands on the Township’s existing Discretionary Sewage System Maintenance Re-inspection Program. The Township of Muskoka Lakes enhanced Discretionary Sewage System Maintenance Inspection Program is to be administered by the Building Division of the Development Services and Environmental Sustainability Department in accordance with the Building Code Act, Ontario Building Code and

The Township of Muskoka Lakes is committed to the protection of the health and integrity of the natural environment and the water quality of its lakes and rivers, which are all part of the Township’s most valuable resources. To ensure that environmental protection meets the highest standards, the following policy expands on the Township’s existing Discretionary Sewage System Maintenance Re-inspection Program. The Township of Muskoka Lakes enhanced Discretionary Sewage System Maintenance Inspection Program is to be administered by the Building Division of the Development Services and Environmental Sustainability Department in accordance with the Building Code Act, Ontario Building Code and the Township of Muskoka Lakes Property Standards By-law 1999-34.

Sewage System Maintenance Inspection Policy

The policy outlines a risk level classification for all properties containing a private on-site sewage disposal system, as well as detailed procedural steps, responsibilities and definitions.

Updated Property Standards By-law

Current Program

The On-Site Sewage Re-Inspection Program was introduced some 20 years ago and has been a seasonal program since its inception. The program aims to first and foremost educate and inform property owners of the importance and requirements of on-site sewage system maintenance and operation. The program is administered by seasonal staff under the supervision of the Sewage Inspector, Deputy Chief Building Official (DCBO) and Chief Building Official (CBO). Each year nearly 500 properties are inspected by seasonal staff and where follow up is required this is either addressed by seasonal staff members or the Sewage Inspector. The program has primarily focused on the smaller lakes with history of water quality concerns (such as Blue Green Algae Blooms) but has included waterfront properties on the larger lakes as well. The current program also allows staff to request sewage system information from a qualified third party, where no records exist for the sewage system. The current program has identified systems with: minor maintenance issues, no records, potential failures, damaged system components, and system failures, and allowed staff to address these issues in a professional manner.

Updated Sewage System Maintenance Re-inspection Program

The updated program is proposed to encompass all properties in the Township of Muskoka Lakes that are serviced by private on-site sewage systems with a daily flow of 10,000L/day or less. While the goal of the program will be to inspect every private sewage system on every property in the Township of Muskoka Lakes, the initial focus of the program will be private sewage systems that are identified in accordance with the policy as being High Risk. Each sewage system will be classified by reviewing available documentation for each property and the type of system installed. The classification will be as per the scale below:

Risk Level
High

Sewage systems:

  • Without any record on file; or,
  • Utilizing steel tanks; or,
  • Greater than 30 years old; or,
  • Greater than 10 years old and Installed on a property abutting a waterbody where a water quality indicator has been confirmed in accordance with the policies of the Muskoka Official Plan.
Moderate

Sewage systems:

  • Between 10 and 30 years old; and,
  • Installed on a property abutting a navigable waterbody where a water quality indicator has not been confirmed in accordance with the policies of the Muskoka Official Plan.
Low

Sewage systems:

  • Less than 10 years old; or,
  • Installed on a property not abutting a navigable waterway.


Once the Risk Level has been confirmed, an Inspection Type and Frequency are assigned, as follows:

Risk Level
Type of Inspection
Frequency
HighPhase II
every 5 years
ModeratePhase I
every 10 years
LowNone
None


Phase I Inspections

Where the risk level classification determines that a Phase I Inspection is required, this inspection will be undertaken by Township staff. Property owners will only be notified of the results of a Phase I Inspection if further information or action is required by the property owner.

Phase II Inspections

Where the risk level classification determines that a Phase II Inspection is required, this inspection will be undertaken by the property owner through a qualified Third Party Inspector. Upon completion of the Third-Party Inspection, the Phase II Inspection shall be submitted to the Township. Should the Third-Party Inspector find the system to be in good working order, a Certificate, Discretionary Sewage System Maintenance Inspection Program as approved by MMAH shall be provided.

  • Sewage System Maintenance Inspection Program Update - Winter 2023

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    The Sewage System Maintenance Re-inspection Program Policy (C-PS-04) was approved at the October 2022 Council Meeting. Additionally, there is an update to the Property Standards Bylaw planned in the coming months, and as such, the amendments related to the Sewage System Maintenance Re-inspection Program, will be incorporated at that time.

    A business case has been prepared to present to Council during the 2023 Municipal Budget process for an Administration/Enforcement Officer position to manage the new Program. Moreover, an additional seasonal position will likely be presented as part of the 2024 budget process to increase the compliment of Phase I Inspectors.

    Pending budget approval, once the Administration/Enforcement Officer has been on-boarded, staff will begin the RFP process for the Third Party Phase II Inspection provider and aim to have this in place, and be prepared to roll out the new program for the 2024 season. Those owners required to have an inspection completed will be receiving correspondence from the Township in due course.

    Should you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to Nick Snyder, Chief Building Official at nsnyder@muskokalakes.ca.

  • Sewage System Maintenance Inspection Program Review - Planning Committee March 17, 2022

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    Township staff will be returning to Planning Committee on March 17, 2022 with the results of public feedback and direction to move forward.

    A staff report will be attached to Planning Committee’s Agenda Package, which will be available for download here on Friday, March 11, 2022 by end of day. The meeting will be held virtually via Zoom and a link to join the meeting will be included in Planning Committee’s Agenda Package.

    If you wish to attend to speak to Planning Committee regarding this matter, please request to delegate by emailing Lauren Cochrane, Planning Assistant at LCochrane@muskokalakes.ca. If you wish to make a written submission in advance of the meeting, it can be emailed to Planning@muskokalakes.ca.

Page last updated: 26 Jan 2023, 01:01 PM