Remaining high-risk septic systems concern deputy mayor

By Jenn Watt

High-risk septic systems in Highlands East have been troubling Deputy Mayor Cec Ryall who said during the municipality’s council meeting on July 14 that he wanted to see the number of them reduced much more quickly.

Reviewing numbers in a report compiled by septic inspector Arlene Quinn on systems inspected between 2017 and 2019 Ryall pointed out how many high-risk systems haven’t yet been resolved.
“I’ve had a lot of correspondence with [lakefront property owners] especially the ones that are in the 2017-18 timelines and I’m looking at the report and I’m noticing that we still have a tremendous number of high-risk outstanding issues and we’re getting into three years and we’re going into the fourth year in some of them” Ryall said.
On Koshlong Lake 221 septic systems were listed as either low moderate or high risk. To date 83 per cent of moderate-risk systems have been resolved but only 39 per cent (seven out of 18) high-risk systems have been. Tamarack Lake had four of 11 high-risk systems resolved. The information did not identify the dates of the lakes’ inspections.

High-risk systems include those that don’t comply with the code; have structures built on the septic bed; are homemade systems installed by the owner; or can’t be located by the owner.
Ryall said he knew there was a desire to expand the septic inspection program to other lakes this summer but wondered whether it would make more sense during the pandemic to focus on closing the cases on the high-risk ones.
“… the feedback I’m getting at this point from the [lakefront property owners] is we’re being very slow” he said.
Shannon Hunter chief administrative officer for Highlands East said the municipality could do both sending out questionnaires and letters to new lakes while also following up with those who aren’t compliant.
“I know it’s a priority in the building department” she said.

Ryall said he would like to see more statistics on the state of inspections and Hunter said she would follow up with that information.