2024 Program Information

The 2024 Program will be focused on properties located within Area 5 of our By-law Schedule. To support the increased loading on the industry, we have decided to divide Area 5 into 2 years of focus. This year we will be inspecting properties within 30m of Benoir Lake, Elephant Lake, Farquhar Lake, Fishtail Lake and Grace Lake. The program will run from May 21st, 2024, until August 30th, 2024, on a Monday through Friday schedule. All inspections, whether completed by Municipal Inspectors, or by Third Party Inspectors are to be completed by September 1st, 2023. Property owners in the affected area will be notified of their inspection date, preparation details, etc. via letter mail. Initial Notice Letters were sent by letter mail to the mailing address on file on March 27th, 2024.

List of Area 5 Lakes
  • 2024
    • Benoir
    • Elephant
    • Fishtail
    • Farquhar
    • Grace
  • 2025 (Harcourt Park)
    • Allen
    • Big Barnum
    • East
    • Straggle
    • Little Straggle
    • Charlie George
    • Kennaway
    • Long

Property owners that require an alternate inspection date are asked to complete our Request Form a minimum of 5 days prior to their assigned inspection date. Staff will follow up in a timely manner to assist with rescheduling.

For information regarding your inspection appointment, results, etc. please contact the Program Supervisor by:

Thank you for your participation in the Sewage System Maintenance Inspection Program, a significant pillar in protecting the future of your lake.

Program Details

This program is ever-evolving as displayed by our various By-Law updates. 2022 was our first year operating the program entirely in house and overall staff are happy with the outcome. Some key program components are described in detail below. If you are looking for more information on the program that is not available on this page, or in our By-Law, we ask that you email us at septic@dysartetal.ca. Staff will respond in order of urgency as timely as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Staff have compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding the program and have done their best to answer them in an effort to assist property owners efficiently. Please review the questions in the drop downs below. if you can't find the answer to your question here, please contact us at septic@dysartetal.ca and we will do our best to assist you.

How do I locate my lids?
  • Your general tank location should be shown on your septic use permit. If you don't have a copy of your permit you can contact us and we will search our files for you.
  • On average, septic tanks have 2 lids - one on the inlet side and one on the outlet side. Larger tanks may have a third lid over the partition wall. All tank lids must be exposed prior to the inspectors arrival.
  • Tanks are typically buried 12-24 inches below grade, in some cases they may be deeper or shallower.
  • The average distance between lids is about 5-6ft apart, or a standard shovels length. 
  • When exposing your lids, please ensure you dig out the surrounding area of the lid to provide the inspector with safe means to lift the lid from the hole and securely place it on the solid surface. 

My dwelling is setback more than 30m from the water, do I still need an inspection?

Yes, the By-Law requires all properties that are within 30m of a lake be inspected. This setback pertains to the property boundary, not to the location of structures on the property.

I have a holding tank, do I still need an inspection?

Yes, a holding tank is a Class 5 sewage system and therefore still requires an inspection. The inspector will examine the access pipe, alarm, etc.

My dwelling doesn't have plumbing, do you need to come out?

Yes, we call this inspection type a Site Confirmation Inspection. This will be done at a lesser fee of $100 and allows us to confirm formally that there is no greywater on site and therefore no requirements for a sewage system.

I have a compost/incinerating toilet and/or an outhouse, why do you need to inspect?

We have to attend the site to make sure that all sewage is being treated properly. Even if there are no toilets on site we still need to make sure that the greywater from sinks, showers, etc. is being treated according to building code requirements.

I have a greywater pit, how do you inspect that?

The building code has specific design requirements for all types of sewage systems. A Class 2, or Greywater system is supposed to have an access hatch for maintenance purposes. This hatch needs to be identified and accessible for our inspectors to view. 

Should I pump my tank before you arrive?

If your tank is due for a pump out, we ask that you hold off until after your inspection is complete. This allows our inspector's to see your tank at normal operating levels, complete flow tests, etc. 

If you are planning on pumping your system in advance, we ask that you allow for roughly 2 weeks of regular usage between your pump out and inspection to allow for your tank levels to return to normal operating level.

Why is the timeframe so vast?

We are covering a large number of properties each year, geographically spread over a large area. We have done our best to schedule inspections in close proximity to each other but unfortunately sometimes unforeseeable circumstances happen and inspections take a little longer than expected. We provide a timeframe of 9-4 because we would rather over achieve by being there earlier, than under achieve by being later than expected. 

If you cannot accommodate our time frame, you do have the option of hiring and approved third party inspector. See the dropdown titled Third Party Inspections for more details on this. 

I only use my cottage for part of the year and rarely have guests, why do my bedrooms still count?

When it comes to septic sizing, the building code does not distinguish between seasonal or occasional use versus full time use. The building code sets out minimum design requirements and therefore the property must comply or exceed this requirements to be deemed as compliant. 

If you have been flagged to have too many bedrooms you have the option to decommission 1 or more bedrooms to bring it back into compliance with your approval, or choose to upgrade your system to accommodate the additional loading. 

In some cases, a system may have been installed "oversized" but be approved for a lesser number of bedrooms. If your property meets this description, you can choose to go through a Septic Evaluation which allows for us to do a thorough review of the property and formally change the septic use approvals.

Preparing for an Inspection

  • If your assigned date is not manageable you must contact our building department a minimum of 5 business days prior to your scheduled appointment.
  • You, or a familiar representative, must be on site for the inspection, for the entire time frame provided.
  • We ask that you hold off on any planned pump outs until after your inspection is complete. This allows our inspector's to see your tank at normal operating levels, complete flow tests, etc. 
  • Your tank and pump chamber lids must be uncovered prior to your inspection. Please note, a septic tank should have 2 lids, please uncover both.
  • Access to the dwelling and all accessory structures will be requested during the inspection.
  • Any tools required for tank access are to be provided at the time of inspection.

What to Expect During the Inspection

  • Your inspection will take up to 30 minutes.
  • The inspector will request access to the dwelling to verify design flow and determine which plumbing fixture(s) to use for your flow test. The inspector will also require access to any accessory structures on site.
  • A flow test from the dwelling, through the tank will be completed.
  • A visual inspection of the tank, and bed will be completed.
  • A measurement of sludge/scum levels will be taken using a specialized tool.
  • Owners will be informed/ educated on any visual deficiencies once the inspection is complete.
  • Following the inspection, a complete report will be emailed in a timely manner.
  • *NEW* Properties that are inspected by municipal staff will receive a complimentary Lake Health Assessment. Staff will review the shoreline area and provide an informational grade to owners, along with suggestions for future improvements. This will not result in enforcement.

Lake Health Assessment

New to the program in 2024, staff will be completing complimentary Lake Health Assessments. This will include a brief review of the shoreline, as well as the remaining 30m setback. Staff will be looking for natural, or mostly natural shorelines and will be providing informational feedback to property owners on how to improve their property.

Following the inspection, property owners will be provided a score out of 100 along with detailed resources on how to make improvements should they desire. This assessment will not result in enforcement as the Site Alteration By-Law is a complaint based and this assessment is designed to be an added effort to promote lake health. 

Staff will be referencing our Site Alteration Sample Site Plan when assessing and scoring properties. 

Pump out Requirements

Once your inspection is complete, the inspector will inform you if you require a pump out. A pump out may be required under the following circumstances:

  1. Septic tank was installed prior to 1980.
  2. The Municipality does not have record of the sewage system installation.
  3. A septic tank other than certified concrete, plastic or fiberglass is used.
  4. Where scum and/or sludge occupy 1/3 or greater of the working capacity of the settling chamber; or,
  5. Where an issue with the levels in the septic tank or other concerns with the functioning of the tank is determined.

If your property is required to have a pump out, the tank contents of both chambers must be pumped entirely in accordance with this By-Law.

Rescheduling Requests

Property owners will be notified via letter mail of their assigned upcoming inspection date. We understand that these dates may pose a conflict for some people and will do our best to be accommodating with these changes. 

Owners wishing to make a change to their inspection date are required to provide a minimum of 5 days' notice to the department prior to their assigned inspection date.

Complete our online rescheduling Request Form. Upon submission, staff will contact you to coordinate to the best of our ability. 

My system didn't pass the inspection, what do I do?

There are various reasons why a sewage system may be deemed non-compliant. Following your inspection, you will be provided with a written report which outlines the outcome of your inspection. If your system is flagged as non-compliant, you will be provided a description on what you need to do to remedy the situation.

A few common issues and suggested remedies are:

  • Too many bedrooms according to the permitted use
    • Apply for a septic review to formally decommission the use of the extra bedroom(s)
    • Upgrade the system to accommodate the additional loading
  • Broken or missing baffles
    • Contact a qualified local installer
    • Replace or repair, submit photos and receipts upon completion
  • Cracked lids
    • Replace or repair, submit photos and receipts upon completion
  • Impeded outlet
    • Contact a qualified local installer to investigate the issue. Submit the required application in bed replacement is required and/or receipts for completed repairs

Your inspection report will contain information specific to each deficiency, along with timelines and remedial action requirements. 

Septic Review

If your Septic Maintenance Inspection resulted in a required remedial action to decommission a bedroom to return your property back to the permitted use, a Septic Review is required. This form will also be used in cases where there is an owner dispute based on the number of bedrooms recorded during the inspection. 

Please complete the septic review application form and submit the required supporting documents and fees. Following submission, a site visit will be completed to confirm bedroom count.

PDF Copy of Form
Septic Review Application

Completed applications can be submitted to septic@dysartetal.ca. Payment options will be provided at the time of submission.


Exemption Criteria

As per By-Law 2023-03, properties that meet one or more of the following criteria are eligible for exemption from the Maintenance Inspection Program. 

  • The system is newly installed, or has been fully replaced within the last 5 years.
  • A planned installation of a complete system that is completed by September 1st, 2023.
  • The property is served by a sewage system that treats to a higher quality that a common septic system and meets the criteria of the By-Law.
  • The property has completed their inspection using a Qualified Third Party Inspector that meets the requirements of a previous or current By-Law, within the last 5 years.
  • The property is connected to Municipal Sewers.
  • The property is vacant.

If you feel that your property meets any of these criteria, but you have been assigned an inspection date, please contact us at septic@dysartetal.ca and staff will review your claim accordingly.

Third Party Inspections

Homeowners are still welcome to retain the services of an Approved and Qualified Third Party Inspector. This inspector must have the required qualifications, be current in their registrations and they must have attended a mandatory meeting with the Building Department in order to be accepted in this program. If you are looking to hire an inspector who is not listed in the drop down below, they must contact the Program Supervisor to get approval prior to completing this inspection. Obtaining an inspector other than those who have been approved by the Supervisor can result in a Failed Inspection Attempt. 

In addition to paying the inspection fee imposed by the private inspector, there will also be a fee issued by the Municipality for the cost of reviewing the inspection reports. All reports must be submitted prior to September 1st. Additionally, any incomplete third party inspection reports that are received will be charges a Failed Attempt fee.

Approved OBC Qualified Inspectors

Mike Rahme




Murray Parish





Samson Williams



42798 / 46930

Frank Salaris




Robert Ramsdale




David Montrose




Visit our Third Party Inspection Report Submittal Form to submit your completed report along with payment online.

Fee Schedule
  • Sewage System Maintenance Inspection Fee - $220.00
  • Partially Complete Return Inspection Fee - $100.00
  • Inspection Outside of Inspection Schedule - $320.00
  • Vacant Lot/ No Plumbing Site Confirmation - $100.00
  • Remedial Action Septic Review - $150.00
  • Remedial Action Letter - $25.00
  • 3rd Party Inspection Report Review - $50.00
  • Failed 3rd Party Inspection Attempt - $50.00

Note: owners will be charged the Sewage System Maintenance Inspection Fee for each inspection attempt carried out by the Municipality. Please be sure to pay attention to your inspection date and preparation instructions to avoid unnecessary fees. 

Inspection Program Schedule

Under the current By-Law, the Sewage System Maintenance Inspection Program has been divided into 5 Areas of Coverage. Presently, we are focused on inspecting properties within 30m of the water in the areas set out in our map. Staff will be working through each area in numerical order.


Please view our Area Map to view the intended order of inspections. 

Useful Links

Below are some media references for information on the important of sewage system maintenance and inspections. A special thank you to our partners in the field for creating and providing these useful tips!



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