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What is a septic system


If you live in a rural area, chances are you have a septic system. Septic systems are onsite wastewater systems that treat your sewage right on your own site and releases the treated effluent back into the ground eliminating the need for municipal sewer systems in rural areas.

How does it work?

The most common system consists of a septic tank and leaching bed, all of which are hidden underground. All wastewater exits your home from a pipe that leads to the septic tank. The tank helps solids separate from liquids and the remaining liquid called effluent moves out of the tank into the leaching bed and lets the liquid seep into the ground where bacteria and other organisms process the wastewater and filter it into the ground.

In Ontario, the Ontario Building Code governs nearly all rural septic systems. If you are installing, repairing, upgrading or replacing a septic system you MUST contact your local regulatory agency. It may be your health unit or conservation authority that inspects systems, issues permits, maintains records and enforces part 8 of the Ontario Building Code.

Typical septic system Photo: Credit Eric Brunet University of Guelph