By Tom Collins
TORONTO — The provincial government could be changing how often septic tanks need to be cleaned in a move to get more money and control, said the president of the Ontario Landowners Association (OLA).
The law currently states that septic tanks need to be cleaned whenever sludge and scum occupy one-third of the working capacity of the tank. The new rules would state it must be at the one-third mark or every five years, whichever occurs first. As well, those who own septic tanks must keep records of the cleaning and be able to give them to the chief building official upon request.
The fine for not obeying would be a maximum of $10,000 per day for a person and $100,000 per day for a company and would be added to your tax bill.
“You can imagine the kind of enforcement they’ll have to have and the bookwork to do that,” said OLA president Tom Black. “It takes a lot of fines to pay for the guy who is going to enforce this thing.”
It costs about $300 to clean a septic tank, but prices vary depending on the tank size. Some say they can go 20 years before having to clean the tank.
The change is part of an omnibus bill that is looking to change 17 different pieces of legislation. If approved, it could come into effect in 2019.
“It is private property,” said Black. “It is nobody else’s business unless it flows out off your property onto someone else’s or it contaminates a well. We feel they’re doing the mama state with us and they’re handling everything. There’s a social engineering side to it, where they want have control over all pieces of property and everything in it.”
The move is upsetting many rural residents. One person on the OLA web site said “Government has no business in my bathroom. Don’t they have better things to do?” while another said “As long as my septic system is working properly (the home owner definitely knows when it is not) I will not pump it. Anyone making this law knows nothing about rural life and they are making that clear.”