The Facts on Septic Inspections

The Facts on Septic Inspections

There have been a number of questions about the Dysart mandatory septic re-inspection program and some recent comments on social media which deserve a response.

First of all the KLCOA continues to be very supportive of the re-inspection process because we believe it is the only way we can be certain failing septic systems get repaired and the related harm to the quality of our lake water is stopped.

With the end of winter and snow melting away property owners will soon be looking to get their inspections completed. Some inspectors report they already have quite a number booked. The facts are that to date no inspection results from 2018 have yet been submitted to Dysart. So to date, there have been no failures.

As with the purchase of any product or service the phrase “buyer beware” is appropriate. Do your homework, consider the motives of any service provider who recommends a course of action and, if money matters, get more than one estimate.

How Do I Learn More

Some owners wonder about how to select an inspector. The KLCOA has circulated a questionnaire to all inspectors on the Dysart approved list and will provide a report at our May 19th Spring Meeting covering the responses provided by each inspector. We will share the responses but will not be endorsing any inspector. We continue to recommend you speak with multiple inspectors and look for one committed to educating you on their findings at your property. This knowledge can help extend the life of the septic system and ensure future pump outs take place only when necessary.

Elected officials from Dysart will also be at the Spring Meeting and we expect them to speak to the re-inspection program.

Bedrooms and Plumbing Fixtures – Do They Matter?

As part of the inspection process Dysart is asking the inspector to report on the number of bedrooms in the building(s). To be clear, the Ontario Building Code (OBC) defines a bedroom as a room with a closet so a pull out sofa in the TV room does not make it a bedroom. Neither the inspector nor Dysart are interested in how long your grandkids stayed last summer or how many guests you had for Canada Day weekend. The inspector will tell you (the owner) whether or not your system is appropriately sized given the bedroom count. In fact the inspector should also point out any signs your system is overloaded if that is the case.

Now if your building(s) has six bedrooms and the septic system has capacity for three the inspector will tell you there is a problem. You get to decide whether to reduce the number of bedrooms or increase the capacity of the septic. This is exactly what recently happened with the lawyer for a buyer telling his client to insist the seller upgrade the septic system prior to the sale closing because that lawyer reviewed the septic permit and noted that it stated the septic is sized for three bedrooms and somehow the cottage has grown to have six bedrooms according to the real estate listing.

The inspector will not be counting plumbing fixtures in your building(s) and Dysart is not collecting information about the number and size of the plumbing fixtures on your property. The OBC uses a plumbing fixture scale to size the septic system requirements for new systems but that is not within the scope of the Dysart program.

Dysart is looking to identify, and have remediated, failing (including severely overloaded) septic systems. That is the sole purpose of the inspection program.

Those are the facts. We will share more facts later this week and will continue to respond to specific questions from individual owners.

Here is a post from Dysart’s Chief Building Official – Karl Korpela Facebook Post


Questions or concerns may be directed to, a KLCOA volunteer who is not in the septic business.