Septic system

A conventional septic system usually has two components that ensure the purification of wastewater from residences: the septic tank and the septic field.

The septic tank has two compartments which allow solid particles to settle to the bottom (sludge) and oils and fats at the surface (scum) through bacterial activity. Then, the septic field continues the filtering. Several pipes slowly let the water run into the ground. The latter’s filtering function and other microorganisms continue to clean the water.

In most case, we do a selective emptying of the septic tanks which consist of removing the solid sludge while the liquid is returned to the pit. The advantages are:

  • The maintenance of the bacterial flora that ensures the optimum functioning of the pit;
  • The return to the pit of a purified liquid up to 99% of its organic matter;
  • 80% reduction in the volume of sludge to be transported.

Implementation of a three-year inspection program for sealed pits

In case of a particular configuration of land (too small, well too close) where it is impossible to put a purifying element, the conclusion of the percolation test often indicates the installation of a tertiary system with dephosphatation;

However, Section 53 paragraph b) of the Regulation respecting wastewater disposal and treatment for isolated dwellings (Q-2, r.22) allows the installation of a retention pit with total emptying, provided that the municipality implements a three-year inspection program for the pits to ensure that they are watertight;

It costs approximately $30,000 plus an annual fee of between $1,000 and $1,500 for a tertiary system with phosphorus removal, while the installation of a sealed pit can cost approximately $5,000 in total;

Council is instituting a three-year inspection program for sealed pits in accordance with Section 53 of the Regulation respecting wastewater disposal and treatment for isolated dwellings (Q-2, r.22).

For more information, contact the environmental inspector: 

Emptying of septic tanks

Septic tanks are emptied every 2 years or 4 years in Stanstead Township. The frequency depends on the use of the residence. A septic tank used on a seasonal basis must be emptied at least once every 4 years, while a septic tank used throughout the year must be emptied at least once every 2 years.

A retention tank (sealed) must be emptied every two years, regardless of use.

The emptying is carried out during the summer by the company mandated by the municipality. A letter is sent to the citizen informing you of the date of visit. The cost of this drainage is allocated annually on taxes.

Here are some instructions to follow in anticipation of the emptying of your septic tank:

Owner Responsibilities

Preparing the pit

The two lids must be unearthed and a 20 cm (8 in) circumference must be made up to the level of the pit to allow the covers to be tilted without difficulty and to prevent the covering material (earth, etc.) from falling into the pit.

Attaching the dog

Out of respect for the employee performing the emptying of your pit, s.p. keep your pet indoors or tie it. In addition, it is recommended to protect your pet from any discharge from the pit.

Clear the path

The vacuum cleaner must have free and clear access to your septic tank. It requires a clearance of 3 meters (10 feet) and a height of 4 meters (13 feet).

To do your part, you must:

  • Open the gates (clearance 10′ wide)
  • Remove the clothesline if necessary
  • Remove toys and bicycles from path
  • If possible, remove the car
  • If necessary, cut the harmful branches

Allow the contractor’s vehicle to be at a distance of less than 45 meters (147 feet) from the opening of the pit.

Going on a trip?

Consider preparing your pit before you leave! Moreover, your presence is not obligatory during the draining. Once completed, the drainer will leave a notice to your residence.

Do you have a prefilter?

Do not forget to clean it! It is recommended to clean it twice a year. A little trick: clean it at the time change! This simple cleaning will help your pit and purifier work properly!

Civic number

Is your civic number easily visible? Too often, it is difficult to identify residences on the drain schedule because the number is not displayed. If this is your case, please see s.v. to correct the situation.

You can also consult the following document.

Maintenance instructions

For maintenance instructions for your septic system, see this document.

Financing program for the upgrading of septic installations

This program aims mainly septic systems constructed in whole or in part before 1981, prior to the first version of the Règlement sur l’évacuation et le traitement des eaux usées des résidences isolées Q-2, r.22.

Through this program, the municipality provides a repayable cash advance (grant) to the owner who replaces its septic system. Note that it is the property that guarantees the loan and not the owner.

The benefits to participate in this program are numerous:

  • Reduced risk associated with an aging septic system (contamination of land, of wells, discharge in the house, etc.);
  • Provides the ability to pay for the work over a period of 20 years;
  • The repayment of the loan is done every year on the taxes, at a favorable interest rate;
  • Upon the sale of the property, the next owner will continue to pay the refund;
  • This program is compatible with the provincial tax credit Réno-vert program. Replacing the septic system is part of eligible work for this tax credit for permanent residences (not second homes).

For more information and to verify your eligibility for this program, please contact the municipality.

Programme de financement des installations septiques

Maintenance contract

Bionest or Ecoflo style water treatment systems require a mandatory maintenance contract. This maintenance contract must be renewed annually with the manufacturer of the system. This maintenance contract is mandatory under the Règlement sur l’évacuation et le traitement des eaux usées des résidences isolées (Q2 r.22).

Signs of malfunction

If you see one of these signs of malfunction, call a specialist immediately:

  • Grass over the septic field is exceptionally green and spongy.
  • Water drains more slowly through the pipes (toilet, sink, etc.).
  • A sewage smell coming from pipes or ditches.
  • A gray or black liquid on the surface of your land.
  • Overflow traces are visible around the lids of the septic tank.
  • The analysis of your well water or the neighbor well water reveals bacterial contamination.