2015 Wood Lake Septic Inspections

Fifteen years ago the Town of Bracebridge formally initiated a Septic Re-inspection program to locate and monitor septic systems in the Town. Its goal is improve water quality by finding septic system deficiencies that could contaminate lakes. The first inspection was done in 2002. In 2008 and 2010 properties on Milne Road were inspected. In 2015 the focus was on previously non compliant systems and the Islands (MacBeth, Oak, Echo, Auricula, Stuart and Evergreen). A total of 82 properties were inspected and 54 septic systems were found to be non compliant. Reasons for non compliance included: Septic Tank Deficiencies, Septic Tank Overgrown, Septic Bed Starting to Erode. Steel Tanks Corroding, Confirmation of System Onsite, and Request for Septic Pump-out Receipts.

We have requested a breakdown on these issues but have not yet received an answer. A few things we do know are:

  1. 6 of the 8 non compliant steel tanks were replaced last year and are now compliant
  2. The Town of Bracebridge records themselves are not always accurate. There have been cases where a septic system has been installed for many years but the Town has no record. In this case the cottager must work with the Town to update their records.
  3. Pump-out receipts are required for each property to prove when the last pump out was done.
  4. The Town of Bracebridge is in the process of tabling legislation that would provide the Town with mechanisms to ensure that compliance is adhered to. Specifically, if a site is deemed non compliant the owner will be given a certain amount of time to comply after which if the problem isn't fixed, the Town will arrange for the work to be done and send the owner the bill.

In Conclusion

There are an alarming number of non compliant septic systems on the lake. We urge Wood Lake cottagers who have been inspected and are non-compliant to work diligently to bring their septic systems into compliance. For those who haven't been inspected please ensure you are following best practices including appropriately scheduled pump-outs. The most effective thing we can do to reduce phosphorus in the lake is to make sure that our septic tanks don't leak, and that they are pumped out every 3-5 years.