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Maintaining and operating a sewage system

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A sewage system which has been properly installed should, with proper care and maintenance, provide many years of service. There are some things which homeowners should be aware of that will help the system to function properly.

Tips for maintaining your septic tank

  • Do not allow roof drains, storm, surface or foundation water to discharge near or into the septic tank and/or tile bed area. Surface waters must drain away from the area of the leaching bed.
  • Conserve water as much as possible.
  • There should be no need to use starters, bacterial feeds or cleaners.
  • A licensed sewage hauler or onsite sewage system professional should remove the septic tank cover and inspect the system every three to five years and pump out the solids and scum when required.
  • Don't allow any vehicles over the leaching bed area (including snowmobiles).
  • The area over a leaching bed should have a good cover of grass but shrubs or trees must not be planted over the area. Good ventilation and adequate sunlight should be maintained in the area of the leaching bed.
  • If a sewage system develops operating problems which are not being corrected under arrangements made by the owner, such as pump out, servicing or repairs by qualified persons, the system will be classified as a malfunctioning system and the owner must report the problem to the Oxford County Public Health.
  • Don't install a swimming pool within 1.5m of a septic tank and within 5m of a tile bed.
  • Don't establish an outdoor fire pit on the leaching bed area.
  • Do connect all household wastes to the septic tank.
  • Water softeners and hot tubs are not recommended to be connected to a sewage system.


When to pump your septic tank
Dos and Don'ts for maintaining your septic system (PDF)
Obtaining a permit (PDF)
Decommissioning a septic system (PDF)
Maintenance Record (PDF)
Understanding your sewer system (PDF)
Be SepticSmart! (Video resources and information on understanding your septic system)