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Choosing the right septic system is a complicated task

You’ve found the perfect Muskoka getaway, a quiet retreat for weekends or a new year-round home. Congratulations!

Whether you have purchased land to build on or a property with pre-existing buildings to move into, you’re going to need a septic system. But it’s not as simple as digging a hole and installing a tank: Muskoka is a unique region that can throw wrinkles into your plans.

If you’re new to rural living, septic systems are onsite wastewater treatment units that accomplish the task of municipal sewers. Anything that goes down the drain — every shower drip and toilet flush — flows to the septic system, which is commonly made up of a tank, a network of pipes, and billions of organisms that process the waste.

Each property has its own factors to consider before installing a septic system, explains Jason Bailey of Cottage Septic and Plumbing. As a licensed septic installer and designer, Jason understands that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to everyone’s septic needs.

“The Muskoka terrain varies wildly. Even neighbouring properties can have very different terrain,” he says. “That’s why you’ll see many types of systems throughout the area.”

Some systems are gravity-fed, using only natural downhill flow to receive waste and make the system work. Other systems rely on pumps to move waste where it needs to go.

Another system is geared towards the future: Waterloo Biofilters are sustainable septic systems that provide a permanent combination of biological treatment and physical filtration of wastewater.

There are also a handful of system classes that you can expect to see in cottage country, says Jason.

Most of the septic systems in Muskoka are Class 4, consisting of a septic tank and a leaching bed. But there are others. Class 1 consists of chemical toilets, incinerating toilets, recirculating toilets, self-contained portable toilets, and all forms of privy and composting toilet systems. Class 2 are leaching pits and greywater systems. Class 3 are cesspits, which are typically connected to a Class 1 system. Class 5 are holding tanks, which need to be pumped out periodically.

“We design, build and install septic systems all over Muskoka,” says Jason. “From simple installations to complex installations, we can provide you with the most cost-effective and highest quality system for your application.”

That means selecting the best system for each project, choosing from manufacturers such as Waterloo, EcoFlo, BioNest, Eljen, and System O)).

The process begins with a site inspection to determine the best type of septic system and the ideal location on the property.

“Starting with a percolation test, we can determine the type of system you will need,” says Jason. “Our intentions are to meet your budget and get you the proper system according to the building code.”

A percolation test finds out the water absorption rate of the soil around the property. In layman’s terms, the test observes how fast water is absorbed by the soil. Clay soil, which absorbs water very slowly, will require a different system design than sandy soil.

But soil conditions are just one factor. Lot size and property access could also limit which system can be installed to meet building code requirements.

“You may be hoping for a simple gravity conventional filter bed, but the size of your cottage, and site constraints such as steep slopes, poor soil or limited area may require an advanced treatment system such as Waterloo Biofilter,” says Jason.

Preparing the site
Before any good septic system can be installed, the site needs to be prepared, and that’s why Cottage Septic & Plumbing has its own licensed and insured excavation team.

They are a full-service company, and the team doesn’t just excavate for septic systems. They can also clear the way for foundations or driveways, water mains, sewer pipes, drainage, and more.

“We don’t just work on our own plumbing and septic projects,” says Jason. “We also excavate for other types of building projects and work well with fellow contractors.”

There is peace of mind and convenience created when you can count on the same company to provide all the necessary inspection, design, and installation services to install your septic system.

“With a commitment to exceptional workmanship, we create a stress-free and relaxed environment for our clients,” says Jason. “Our clients can go about their business while we get the job done right.”

Whether you need a new system, or it’s time to replace an aging model, an expert company with knowledge of the local terrain will ensure the job is done right.

TEXT CHRIS OCCHIUZZI

www.CottageSepticPlumbingServices.ca

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