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Septic Inspection Programme Update

Sunday September 25, 2022

Some of you have been asking about the status of the Septic Inspection programme started by NK township a few years back.  Attached, please find a letter from me, Alex Kostiw, to Mayor Carolyn Amyotte inquiring about this programme, and a letter of response from the Mayor re: the status and continuity of the programme.  Hope this is helpful to those concerned.  Please note that HBM township has no similar programme in place at this time.


Email from JLA to NK Mayor

Sent: Fri, Aug 5, 2022 4:01 pm
Hello Carolyn
Further to my July 21st mail, this is a gentle reminder to kindly get back to me on the septic permit issue.  Attached please find a summary of the 2017 inspections noting that of 112 properties, 18 were designated as 'requiring' or 'recommended' to upgrade their systems.  Moreover, 64 properties required further information.  It is important to understand if there was follow up especially on those properties requiring updates.
As you know, there is a strong correlation between faulty septics and lake water health.  As such, it is vital to continue to monitor and address problems as early as possible to avoid further pollutants in our lakes, that in turn, encourage prolific weed growth, algal scum, and higher levels of phosphates/other toxins that negatively impact lake habitat. I believe NK Township committed to regular septic inspections in 2014.  Per our previous exchanges, I appreciate that the Township is undergoing logistic and staffing issues and that the inspection programme was paused this year as a result.  However, with the last such inspection performed quite a while back (2017/2018), and given your support for this programme, could the Township please commit to rebooting and completing such inspections starting next spring ?With elections around the corner, and Covid and the May 21st natural disaster barely behind us, I understand that this is a busy and challenging time for you, Council and Township staff.  Nonetheless, given that the requested information and Township's commitment go to the heart of ratepayer/lakers' priorities to preserve and ensure healthy lake water, the courtesy of a substantive response would be much appreciated.
Thanks again for your time and consideration of this matter, and wishing you a pleasant weekend.
Alex KostiwPresident, Jack's Lake Association 

Response from NK Mayor

Received: September 3, 2002
Hi Alex, 

It took a fair bit of time but staff were able to do some digging and have been able to provide me an update on this matter.  More follow up was done since 2017 and I have some new stats for Jack Lake.
Total number of files reviewed         151
Acceptable systems                           96          64%
Files requiring more information        27          18%
Files that couldn’t be located             13            9%                       
Systems requiring upgrades              12            8%
Properties with no septic systems        3            1%    
Hazardous/Unsafe                                0            0%   
As the inspections were underway, we sent a questionnaire out to the property owner asking for any information they had about their system (i.e.. location, fixture units, size of tank etc. to determine the load on the system) and for copies of their septic permit and then staff did their own visual inspection.  Often the property owners were there and they were able to gather information directly from them.  However, there were many that did not respond to our requests for information despite sending them out multiple times.  We issued orders for systems that were failing where the property owner seemed to be reluctant or refused to make the required corrections which was very rare.  Most people were eager to comply.
In all the cases reviewed, the systems that required upgrades were due to a system that was too small for the number of bedrooms that the dwelling had or included a Bunkie.  They were asked and notified by letter, to either decommission a bedroom or to apply for a new system.  Most people opted to remove a bedroom and we would do a subsequent inspection.  There were a number of properties that have applied for new systems since 2017.
There were no systems noted that were a "Health Hazard” in the Jack Lake area.  Any systems that were identified as a health hazard through this program were dealt with right away and corrected in a timely manner.  There were a couple of people who gave some push back but orders were put on those properties and they have since been dealt with and the issues corrected.
This program is ongoing and despite the challenges of the past few years (pandemic and lack of staff) it will continue. 

Sincerely, Carolyn.

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