Caring for your septic system

If you live in a rural area, waste from your home is likely treated in a private on-site septic system. In a traditional septic system, household wastewater flows through pipes to an outdoor, underground septic tank. Here solids settle and separate from the liquid. Light solids, like soap suds and fat, float to the top. Heavier solids settle to the bottom of the septic tank where they decompose by bacteria. Some non-decomposed solids remain as a sludge layer that must be pumped out every three to five years. The liquid waste flows through a series of pipes to where it is slowly released into the leaching bed. The leaching bed is made up of porous materials, such as sand and gravel. It acts as a filter to clean the water before it seeps back into the ground.

Regular septic system maintenance will help to protect you against costly system failure. This practice will also protect our water sources and the environment.

If you are not sure when your septic system tank was last pumped, it is likely time to do it again. Contact a local, licensed company to pump out your septic tank. Find one in the yellow pages or through an internet search. Be sure to keep a record of your septic system maintenance so you will know when to do it again.

Quinte Source Water Septic System Webpage 

Additional Resources

Septic Systems (pdf)

Caring for your well

Approximately half of the people in the Quinte Region depend on groundwater for their drinking water. Old, unused, or poorly-maintained wells can lead to contaminants in our drinking water sources . If you have a well on your property, make sure that it is well-maintained to protect our groundwater.

Here are some things you can do to keep your well water safe:

  • know exactly where your well is
  • keep potential sources of contamination away from your well
  • inspect your well regularly
  • have any necessary repairs or upgrades done by a licensed well contractor
  • make sure your well has a proper cap to prevent the entry of seepage or insects
  • maintain your septic system as this can be a source of contamination
  • have your water tested regularly to detect any problems so they can be fixed
  • have a licensed well contractor decommission old unused wells on your property

As a well owner, it is your responsibility to be ‘well aware' and to keep your water source safe.

Quinte Source Water: Wells – Protect Your Drinking Water (webpage)

Additional Resources

Private Wells – Care and Maintenance (pdf)