A septic system receives all the waste water from a building and is generally made up of two buried components:
- A septic tank
- A soil absorption system (usually a filtering ground called a leaching field or drain field) that discharges the treated waste water into the groundwater. The leaching field has a lifetime of 15 to 25 years, depending on the quantity of water treated, the environment where it is installed, maintenance and the frequency at which the tank is emptied.
The Regulation respecting waste water disposal systems for isolated dwellings governs septic systems, and every municipality is responsible for its application. Septic systems are not permitted to pollute, and if they are obsolete, they must be changed. If your property is equipped with a septic system, make sure you empty the tank every two years. Keep your invoices and send a copy to the city as proof of maintenance, in one of the following ways:
Send the proof to us at:
Édifice de la Mairie
5, boulevard d’Youville
Châteauguay (Québec) J6J 2P8
A number of signs may indicate that your septic system is not working properly:
- The grass over the leaching field is exceptionally green and spongy.
- Water is running more slowly down your drains (toilet, sink, wash basin).
- A sewer smell is coming from the pipes and tanks.
- Grey or black liquid appears on the surface of your soil.
- Traces of overflow are visible around the septic tank covers.
- An analysis of your well or your neighbour’s well reveals bacterial contamination.
A septic tank that has not been properly maintained can cause serious water contamination problems and sewer backups and have an impact on human health and the environment. It can also hurt your property value.
To make sure your septic tank is functioning properly:
- Empty it regularly.
- Do not throw garbage (tampons, cigarettes, etc.) or chemical products into the system.
- Avoid chemical drain openers and products to stimulate the bacteria in the septic tank.
- Avoid walking on your leaching field and make sure no sheds, vehicles, gardens or trees are over your system, to avoid compacting the soil, which may reduce the filtration capacity.
- Save water and spread out your daily consumption to avoid sudden large inflows in your septic tank.
- Redirect runoff water away from your leaching field, to avoid overloading it.
- Use biodegradable products.
- Use phosphate-free soap and detergent.