Answering some of the most common questions about septic systems.

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  • General
  • Septic System
  • Septic Tank
  • Septic System Repairs
  • Septic Drain Field Remediation
  • Septic System Design & Installation
  • Septic System Inspections
Where do you provide septic services?

We service the areas of Midland, Penetanguishene, Tiny, Orillia, Coldwater, and Severn. Counties include Simcoe County, Tiny Township, Georgian Bay, Springwater, and Tay Township.

What is the cost of your services?

The cost of our services depends on the type of service you need and the complexity of the issue. We can provide you with a free customized estimate.

Do you have any guarantees or warranties?

Yes. We honour all manufacturer’s warranties on the equipment we supply and install. Our extended 20-year workmanship warranty is applied to all of our installations.

I have a minor septic issue. Can I wait to have it fixed?

Septic system issues are progressive and will eventually lead to more costly damages. The sooner we can assess and diagnose the issue, the higher the chance that we can repair it and avoid a full system replacement along.

Do you offer financing on your services, equipment, and installation?

Yes. We offer financing on approved credit for our installations and services.

Why is it so expensive to repair my septic system?

Most homeowners face a hefty septic system bill because they’re provided with only one option – a full system replacement. This is because most septic system service providers only know how to do a replacement and don’t have the technology to complete a repair. At Canadian Sanitation, we can reduce those expenses considerably by repairing your septic system and avoiding a replacement. Almost all septic system issues are repairable. Give us a call for an onsite evaluation and we will recommend the right solution.

How long will my septic system last?

The lifespan of a septic system is anywhere from 20-40 years before it needs a full replacement, if maintained properly.

Why is my septic system having issues when it rains?

In addition to the wastewater from your home, heavy rain will increase the amount of water flowing through the soil. Soil can only accept a certain volume of water over time, so water will stand on top when it’s too much water (rainwater and septic water). Due to organics settling in the soil as a septic field ages, it gets less absorbent over time. This can be reversed with soil remediation.

Will flushing or draining bleach damage my septic system?

Yes. Bleach and other harsh chemicals can kill the bacteria that is essential for the process of breaking down wastewater.

Are septic system fumes toxic?

Yes. The septic tank is filled with many hazardous gases and fumes, including methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen sulphide. The septic tank should only be accessed by certified personnel with the proper equipment.

How does my septic system work?

Septic systems process wastewater by collecting it in a secure vessel (septic tank) where the solids are broken down into sludge (the solid portion of sewage waste) and scum (fat, oil, and grease). In a drainfield, effluent (black water) exits the tank to be filtered naturally by bacteria in the soil and returned to the environment safely.

What is the cost of a new septic system?

The cost of a new septic system and installation depends on many factors, including size, location, and design. All septic systems are custom designed for the home, property, and occupancy. Each element must be considered to achieve a permit in all provinces of Canada. At Canadian Sanitation, we will provide an accurate and current estimate for a new septic system based on your property and needs.

What septic system is best for my home?

The right septic system for your home is a combination of the minimum regulatory and government requirements permitted for your region and any options you need. Our professional technicians design septic systems with both of these factors in mind to ensure a septic system that meets regulations, can handle the use of the occupants, and have a predictable lifespan.

What is a septic system?

A septic system is an onsite wastewater system that’s required for all rural properties not connected to a city’s main sewage system.

What are the different components of a septic system?

There are three main components of a septic system: a septic tank, a distribution system, and drainage. The pipe connecting the home to the septic tank, a pump, a timer, floats, and an alarm for high water levels are also important parts of the system.

Do water softeners damage my septic system?

Water softeners, iron filters, and other filters can have a big impact on septic systems because they introduce large volumes of water into the septic tank very quickly. As a result, the contents of the tank may not be given the time they need to settle in the tank before being pushed downstream and out to the drainfield.

Are bath bombs harmful to my septic systems?

It depends on the type of bath bomb, as there are varying ingredients. Bath bombs that are made with natural products are best.

Can I use a drain cleaner with a septic system?

Enzyme-based cleaners and ones that are made with natural ingredients are best. While harsh chemicals may do a good job at unclogging pipes, they are harmful to the bacteria in the septic tank that are required for the natural process of breaking down solid waste. The best solution to unclogging a drain is to use a snake or an auger to clear blocked lines.

Are flushable wipes safe for septic systems?

No, it’s never a good idea to flush wipes down the drain – including those labelled “flushable” and marked as “septic safe”.

Can I use regular CLR for my septic system?

CLR’s main ingredients are lactic acid and gluconic acid, which won’t have an overall adverse reaction in the septic tank when used in moderate amounts. However, large amounts of CLR are not healthy for your septic system

Can I flush or drain Pine-Sol with a septic system?

​​No, it’s best to avoid flushing or draining any sort of disinfectant and other harsh chemicals down your septic system.

Can you flush Kleenex with a septic system?

No. Kleenex and any other brand of tissues do not break down easily.

Can detergent harm my septic system?

When it comes to detergents, the more natural the product, the better. Avoid flushing or draining detergents made with harsh chemicals.

What laundry detergents are safe to use with a septic system?

We always recommend natural products over ones with heavy chemicals. Some of the safest detergents to use with a septic system are Ecos, MelaPower.

Is ammonia safe for septic systems?

Because ammonia is not a disinfectant, it shouldn’t harm your septic system’s bacteria. Ammonia can be considered safe for your septic system when used in moderation. However, since it introduces more nitrogen into your system, too much ammonia can alter the chemical reactions that normally occur in your septic tank.

Can I use laundry pods with a septic system?

We can’t currently recommend laundry pods or dishwasher pods as these are fairly new products, and their overall safety for septic systems is unknown. While the pod material is designed to dissolve, the concern is that the plastic material can potentially return to a solid form in your drain field.

Is Borax safe for septic systems?

Yes. Borax is a safe, non-toxic cleaning product that is considered septic-friendly at normal usage amounts.

What time of the year should septic tanks be installed?

The best time to install a septic system, including the septic tank, is when the ground is warm and dry and when frost does not exist in the ground.

Can you repair my septic system?

Yes, most septic system issues can be repaired and remediated, which is a fraction of the cost of installing a new septic system.

Can septic tanks freeze during winter?

Typically, septic tanks do not freeze during winter as they are buried deep enough where the temperature inside the tank combined with the flow of warm water prevents freezing. The pipe leading to the septic field or in the soil can freeze, which can be thawed by injected steam and/or in-line heat trace.

If the septic tank is not used for an extended period of time during the winter, it can freeze. If you’re planning to be away from your home for more than a week during the colder months, we recommend having your septic tank emptied.

Can my septic tank work without power?

It depends on the design of the septic system. Power is required if a pump is used to distribute the wastewater, while some septic systems use gravity or a siphon that does not require power to work.

Why is my septic tank alarm going off?

A septic tank alarm sounds when the level of water in the tank is too high and poses a potential risk of overflow or backup. When your septic alarm is activated, it indicates that your system needs attention.

What are the most common septic tank problems?

A blockage caused by flushing or draining non-biodegradable materials, a slow drain or backup caused by blockage, and hazardous chemicals killing the bacteria that break down solid waste are some of the most common septic tank problems. Avoiding flushing or draining non-biodegradables and harsh chemicals is the best way to avoid these issues.

Do I need to clean my septic tank filters?

Yes, if your septic system has filters, a yearly inspection or regular maintenance will include cleaning them. They should be cleaned more often with heavy use or loading.

How often should I schedule a septic tank pumping?

We typically recommend having your septic tank pumped every 2-3 years, depending on the number of occupants in your home and the volume of water used.

What is the difference between a septic tank and a holding tank?

While both are intended to collect wastewater, the main difference is that a holding tank does not have a drainage feature such as a field or mound. Instead, holding tanks are pumping out when it’s full. A septic tank is designed with a delivery system (outlet) and drainage system.

How do I know if my septic system has failed?

When your septic system has failed, you may notice standing water in your drain field, sewage leaking into your home, a foul odour, and sinks and toilets not draining properly. If you suspect your septic system has failed, give us a call. We will respond promptly, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Is a septic system repair legal?

Yes. Canadian Sanitation is a registered service provider as a fully licensed and recognized trade. We are insured, bonded, and certified, with extensive documentation provided to every client.

Can I do part of a septic repair now and the rest later?

This depends on the repair. Our priority is safety, which is why we will only agree to do a repair in stages if it still keeps your family and property safe. A certified technician will advise you if the repair can be done in stages.

Why have I never heard of a septic repair?

Septic service companies tend to focus exclusively on replacing septic systems and do not offer the newest technology that can repair and restore their systems. Wastewater management (septic) has evolved and continues to focus more on science and technology than plumbing on a daily basis. Using the latest technology that allows us to make septic repairs is what sets Canadian Sanitation apart.

What is a septic drain field, and how does it work?

The drainfield is a shallow excavation created in unsaturated soil that is used to eliminate impurities from wastewater released from the septic tank. An underground network of perforated pipes transports effluent from the septic tank to a final treatment process that removes pollutants in order for it to be returned safely to the groundwater.

How long is a septic drain field?

It can range from very short and small to very large, depending on the customized design for each home. The larger the home, the larger the drain field.

How deep is a septic drain field?

Typically, septic drain fields are buried at a depth of approximately 1-3 feet below the surface. Septic system design considerations such as location and weather can be deciding factors on the depth of the septic drain field.

How do I maintain my septic drain field?

The septic drain field can be maintained by scheduling an annual inspection of the entire system. Do not flush or drain items that are not biodegradable, such as cigarettes, diapers, sanitary napkins, tampons, or hazardous chemicals. Since the drain field is the final step in treating wastewater, problems with the septic tank, the pipes, and the entire system can affect it.

Can you rebuild or relocate my mound/field?

It depends on the property and how simple or complex the project is. In Canada, drain fields require permits, so we will need to assess the situation before we can say yes to a rebuild or relocation

What does ‘Lifetime Warranty’ mean?

For all equipment we install, we provide a Lifetime Warranty that covers the item or service after the manufacturer’s warranty period. Every piece of equipment we install includes this warranty, assuming that it is used for the purpose intended and is properly maintained

What factors need to be considered in the design of the septic system?

Some of the most important factors that go into designing a septic system are local codes and regulations, household size, soil testing, the type of septic system, and the client’s budget.

What is included in a septic system design?

A septic system design includes ensuring the design and installation meet all local regulations, the size and type of the septic tank, the septic field design, pump sizing, piping specifications, and septic tank accessories such as alarms.

Are septic system inspections necessary?

Yes. A septic system inspection can help detect problems early when they are repairable before they become bigger issues that require a full system replacement. We also recommend an inspection if you are purchasing a property that has a septic system. While a pre-inspection is not required by law, it can help you avoid costly issues after you’ve signed off on the purchase.

When should I have my septic system inspected?

We recommend a yearly septic system inspection.

What does a septic system inspection include?

At Canadian Sanitation, our septic system inspections include:

  • A full assessment of the drain field area
  • Any concerns with landscaping or grading that could impact the system operation
  • Any concerns regarding the size of the system compared to the home’s occupancy
  • The condition of mechanical and plumbing equipment, alarms, etc
  • Testing and analyzing the performance of all equipment
Are there different types of septic system inspections?

Depending on the information and detail requested by the homeowner, a septic system inspection can be a short walk-through, a ‘walk and talk’ with a certified technician, or a more extensive investigation with cameras, video, and tank entry. At Canadian Sanitation, we can draw a lengthy written report after an inspection with all of the information and details you need.

Is a septic system inspection required when buying a home?

While it’s not legally required, a septic system inspection can save you a lot of headaches and money down the road. Septic system inspections are typically not included in the overall home inspection because it is a specialized trade and requires a certified septic professional.

A septic system inspection is important because if the previous homeowners did not disclose an issue with the system and you legally purchased the home, you could be left with a costly full system replacement. It’s best to be proactive and request a septic system inspection before making a final real estate transaction.

What is a septic system inspection?

Inspecting a septic system involves checking the entire system’s health, integrity, and condition. A proper inspection doesn’t just involve checking the septic tank, which is only one part of the system.

How much does a septic system inspection cost?

Depending on the extensiveness of the inspection and the detail of reporting, a septic inspection can range from $249 – $699.

How long does a septic system inspection take?

Typically, a septic system inspection takes about 1.5 hours on site and 1 hour for reporting.

Should a septic tank be pumped before an inspection?

No, not necessarily. Inspecting the system with contents present allows us to observe it in its regular operating state and test how the system is working.