Don't Flush and Forget



  • If anti-freeze is required in your sewer lines or pump chamber over winter, please use a plumbing or RV type.
  • Cottage owners with above ground sewer lines should check them when opening the cottage each year for damage that may have occurred over winter.
  • Cottage opening is also a good time to check inside your septic tank to verify that the liquid level is near the top. This indicates that there are no holes in the tank and that it is not leaking sewage. Replace steel septic tanks.
  • The Ontario Building Code requires that you pump out your septic tank when it is 1/3 full of solids. As a gen- eral rule of thumb consider every 4-8 years for a year round home and every 5-10 years for a cottage. Better still, find the inlet side of the septic tank then ex- pose/open the lid and measure the depth of the solids or have a licensed contractor evaluate.
  • Pump septic tanks in early summer rather than fall. This allows the tank to re-activate with sewage and prevents heaving or freezing. Pump out holding tanks as required in the summer and in the fall.
  • Keep water usage to a minimum. Try to avoid high use periods such as multiple laundry loads or excessive toilet flushing during large parties. Check for leaking fixtures.
  • If you have a greywater pit, ensure that only sinks or showers discharge into it – no toilets or laundry. Make sure that it is covered. Be careful of over use.
  • For an outhouse - keep it well back from water in deep soils and not in an area subject to high water table.


  • Avoid placing buildings or driving ATVS, cars, boat trail- ers and snowmobiles over your septic system.
  • Do not alter the grade over, through or around your septic system without checking with the inspector.
  • Do not direct roof drains, sump-pump discharge or surface runoff towards or into your tile field system.
  • As much as we all love trees, shrubs and raspberries the tile field is not the place to grow them. The roots will plug the tile and cause the bed to fail before its time. Stay back at least 10 feet – the area directly downhill from the bed is perfect. The bed should be seeded to grass, clover or wildflowers and be exposed to adequate sunlight.
  • Pump chambers must be sealed to prevent inflow of rain or groundwater or entry by animals and insects.
  • Under no circumstances should an unqualified person enter a septic tank. The gases besides being disgustingly noxious, are extremely toxic.
  • Do not overuse special additives that are touted to enhance the performance of your tank or bed. They are not required.
  • Do not use your sewage system as a garburator - try composting. It is also not a hazardous waste dump – don’t pour gasoline, paint thinner, etc., down the drain. Normal use of bleach, grease, soap and deter gent is acceptable.

The Township of The Archipelago recommends the use of phosphate free household cleaning products.

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