Marc Daigneault, Alfred-Plantagenet’s executive director, wants residents in Wendover to be conscious of the need to check and maintain their septic tanks. A study suggests that some residences along Principale Street and on private roads such as Prud’homme and Chrétien in Wendover might have cracked septic tanks, which would send rainwater to be treated unnecessarily at the water treatment plant.
Since the 1990s, a large number of houses in the village of Wendover have been serviced by a wastewater collection system known as the STEP System (Septic Tank Effluent Pump). This wastewater collection system was installed due to the topography of the area and the average basement depth of residences. The wastewater collection system operates with a septic tank and a pump installed outside each home. Wastewater is gravity-fed into the septic tank, and pumped into the sanitary sewer system before being directed to the sewage treatment plant.
“What we have now is infiltration in people’s septic systems,” said Daigneault. “Some have even connected their sump pumps and gutters to their septic system, which then sends extra water to be treated at the water treatment plant. We want to make sure they’re informed of the fact that they are paying for that water to be unnecessarily treated.”
“We’re hoping to put a stop to this,” he continued. “I understand that some areas don’t have any pluvial sewer systems, but residents will need to find other ways to draw water away from their houses. By sending a higher volume of water to the treatment plant, residents will be paying more for the service – and that’s aside from the electricity cost of pumping that water from their tanks to the municipal system. I believe that if residents are well informed, they will make the best decision.”
The Alfred-Plantagenet Municipality is requesting that residents on the STEP system inspect their septic tanks and find new ways of drawing water away from their houses, instead of dumping it in the municipal system. Below is more information concerning the STEP system and its requirements.
What is a sump pump?
Many residences in the Alfred-Plantagenet area are equipped with a sump pump, which is found in the basement. This pump is used to discharge rainwater that accumulates under the foundation to prevent back-flow and flooding of the basement. Sump pump and eaves trough connection to the STEP System are not permitted.
When a sump pump is connected to the septic tank of the STEP system, it generates not only electricity costs for pumping rain water into the septic tank but also the cost of the electricity needed to pump that same amount of water into the sanitary sewer. The same applies when eaves troughs are connected to the STEP system septic tank. Sump pump outlets cannot be placed in a residential drain or in the septic tank. Water exiting from the sump pump should be directed away from the house, towards a ditch or drainage swale or scattered onto the lawn. Water is not to be directed to neighbouring properties (Regulation 47- 2001).
Septic tank repairs
It is recommended that homeowners inspect their septic tank every 5 years to determine its condition and integrity. If the septic tank is cracked, it can be repaired or sealed with adhesive products or it can be wrapped with an outer impermeable membrane. It is recommended that clay fill be used to provide additional protection against water infiltration around the septic tank.
Alfred-Plantagenet, in collaboration with the Ontario Clean Water Agency, has implemented a program to replace the pump located inside the septic tank of the STEP System. The pump is replaced on average every five (5) years.
Septic Tank Replacement
If the septic tank needs to be replaced, contact the Alfred-Plantagenet municipality or the Ontario Clean Water Agency to ensure all equipment and controls are compatible with the STEP system.