By James Matthews (Local Journalism Initiative)
There’s truth in numbers, especially when you’re talking about results of Dysart’s Sewage System Re-Inspection Program.
Council received a report into work completed as part of the 2022 re-inspection program during its Oct. 11 regular meeting. The report showed issues identified in 488 inspections have been resolved.
As of the end of September, roughly 770 properties required some form of remedial action as per their inspection results. Those results were graded into three risk levels.
Low risk infractions includes properties with no noted compliance concerns. Medium risk infractions include pump-out requirements, compromised or missing lids and baffles. High risk infractions indicate failing systems, septics that are not operated in accordance with their use permits, and grey water discharging to ground.
Any on-site sewage system, at the end of the day, still has some risk, said Brianna Quinn, supervisor of the sewage system maintenance program.
Ward 4 Councillor John Smith said the program’s numbers demonstrates the value and importance of re-inspections when you consider the number of medium-risk and high-risk systems that have been corrected before they caused greater environmental problems.
“Some of the things that our inspectors saw this summer were literally shocking,” said Mayor Andrea Roberts.
The mayor said some residents casually, jokingly said not to send inspectors to their properties because they felt their septic wouldn’t pass muster.
“That’s the point, if we care about the health of our lakes,” Roberts said.
Properties are very valuable. If someone owns a property, it’s their due diligence to protect the lakes, the mayor said.
Some people who have cottages that are in the range of 50 years old, many of them don’t know the age of the septic system, she said.
“Get an inspection now, if you want to. Go ahead,” Roberts said. “Maybe do the remediation now. Don’t wait for Dysart inspectors to come out and tell you your septic system is a high risk to fail.”
She said it’s everybody’s responsibility as homeowners to protect the lake they’re on.
The program update was part of the Building and Bylaw report, which revealed a higher number of septic permits, with 18 of 42 due to the Sewage System Re-Inspection Program.
Quinn said a more in-depth report will be forwarded to council later.
“We were finding that some of the places that we have recorded … our numbers weren’t matching up entirely,” she said.
Quinn said on-site inspections have ended for this year, and there are 13 properties that haven’t been inspected.
“That’s with multiple attempts,” Quinn said. “Some of those properties, we were out there over five times.”
Property owners are invoiced $180 each time an inspector visits.
Last year’s program closed with more than 54 properties that missed inspections.
“I honestly think … anyone on a septic system should have a septic inspection,” said Roberts.
September building permits increase over last year
Further to the Building and Bylaw report, permits were issued in September for five new dwellings and seven seasonal dwellings.
There was speculation as to whether or not the relative increase in issued permits compared to the same time last year could be due to people wanting to get a jump on construction.
The eagerness to break ground could be due to starting before the winter freeze-up or before the costs of construction materials makes living in a tent attractive.
Dysart isn’t on a hurricane track, but there are other effects of such weather incidents that can cause headaches to builders in the Haliburton County region.
Take, for instance, the recent Hurricane Fiona and the destruction inflicted on Canada’s East Coast and the eastern seaboard in the United States.
“We don’t have buildings demolished,” Roberts said. “But, when billions and billions of dollars of property (is affected) … I imagine it’s going to cost a lot of money to get a two-by-four.
“I think building costs are going to go through the roof. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the next couple years, how that ripples down.”