Do I Repair or Rebuild My Septic System?
Try to Repair First
If you have made an attempt at fixing leaking plumbing or diverting excess water from the Septic System and this does not work, you now have to begin spending some time and money to diagnose the problem. A phone call will bring an experienced person from Slagter Construction and we will look at several factors before we begin digging and making a mess of your beautiful yard. If we drive into your neighborhood and recognize that we have done several replacements for your neighbors, then not a lot of work will be required for our recommendation. If your home is over 25 years old, and you live in a region with heavy clay, usually your bed is filled with biomat and need to be replaced. However, if your trouble is infrequent or comes only during a party, we can look more deeply into the problem.
We will look at your septic tank first. What shape is it in? Does it still have the effluent baffles in it? Frequently the hydrogen sulfide has dissolved the concrete so badly that the tank itself may be worn out and collapse if disturbed. An old rotten tank is dangerous! If the tank is worn out, it can be replaced, sometimes with a new concrete tank, or in difficult access sites, with a new plastic tank. Once you have the old tank dug up, you will disturb the header (that is the main pipe that feeds all the lines in the tile bed) and the header may need to be replaced or repaired.
See how we helped this customer who lived on the Niagara Escarpment by replacing her septic tank with a new one and found several blockages in her header. We replaced that as well.
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For another client on Waterdown Road in Burlington, we had to replace the septic tank, run a new 4” ABS main through the wall and into the house, repair the headers and then install “Footers.” Few contractors install footer pipes. A footer pipe is a pipe at the far end of the septic system. They are valuable because if for some reason there is a clog in the line, the entire line is not lost because the septic waste will run to the end of the bed, travel across the footer pipe and then run backwards up the tile that is blocked, utilizing the whole bed, and not losing that whole line.
Doing this degree of repair to an old system is quite a gamble but fortunately this client had enough money to try to fix his old system, and if it did not work, he was willing to replace it with an entirely new system. Many clients do not have the capital to risk trying to fix an old and then still have enough capital to throw most of that away and put in a whole new system. For this client, we installed a new septic tank that was large enough to meet the new 2006 OBC regulations, so that worst case we could re-use the plumbing we repaired and still use the new tank.
Try to Replace Second
When repairing an EXISTING system, it is FREQUENTLY impossible to meet the current OBC requirements for sizing and setbacks, since property lines are already established. In days past, local regulators allowed high density development of rural lands that are now illegal. Conservation Authorities, Municipal Well Head Protection Legislation and Escarpment Protection Legislation make repairing a septic system that conforms to the OBC perfectly, either difficult or impossible to achieve. However, the Ontario Building Code had made allowances for repairs to a building and the OBC considers your septic system a building!
(OBC Interpretation 1.-(1) Definitions states: 1. (1) In this Act, “building” means… (c.1) a sewage system…)
Since a septic system is a building, it is allowed to be renovated to make it work or work better according to OBC 126.96.36.199.(1) which states
(1) The performance level of a building after construction shall not be less than the performance level of the building prior to construction.
This means that you have the right to repair a broken septic system, but you must try to make it work as well or better than it did before you tried to fix it. Regulators by their very nature will demand that you do your best to meet or exceed code minimums for performance and spacing etc.
OBC 10.4.1.1discusses how a home owner or his agent may use expertise to repair or replace a broken septic system as long as the system works as good as or better than the system it is replacing, regardless of whether it meets or complies with clearance distances and performance as found in section 8. In order to meet all the regulations and rules, you don’t want to have to cut down every tree on your property and remove your patio, deck and pool to get a new system to be compliant with the code, making the regulators happy, even if you could.
Why Hire Slagter Construction?
When it comes to these minor nuances of the OBC, the Chief Building Official (CBO) must make a “Judgment Call.” In order to make a good judgment call, the CBO looks at who is making the application, and then decide if he is willing to sign off on the Permit. There is pressure on him or her not to allow this or to stall it as long as possible, because if it does not work, the City or Region may be sued by the home owner or future home owner if the system fails!
When Slagter Construction officials show up, we are able to produce hundreds of cases of successful projects where systems installed by Slagter are working in the most difficult of sites. IT PAYS TO HIRE SLAGTER CONSTRUCTION BECAUSE WE ARE ABLE TO GET SEPTIC PERMITS WHERE OTHER INSTALLERS WITH LESS EXPERIENCE OR TROUBLED RECORDS CANNOT.
In many cases, an Ecoflo septic system will fit where no other system will fit and it will meet all the current OBC requirements for set-backs etc. and also allow the home owner to keep his favorite trees, patio and pool. Slagter has expertise in reading and explaining the special BMEC (Building Materials Evaluation Commission) agreement that Ecoflo has with the OBC regarding performance, clearance distances and sizing.
What this means is that if we can show that the system we designed complies with the building code as is, then there will be no hold-up regarding your permit because the CBO will not have to make a “Judgment Call” and you can build right away.
In some instances, Slagter Construction has gotten Building Permits for clients who had been waiting months for acceptable designs or septic plans that complied with the OBC within 24 hours of application! In one extreme case, Slagter was given SAME-DAY SEPTIC APPROVAL for a Construction site that was shut down due to an OBC non-compliance issue.
Our client, a private golf course, was ecstatic that they could resume using their bar and dining facilities while we installed the septic system.
To find out how we can get a permit for you, Call or Email our office at: Support@SepticSystemsOntario.com