There may be ways around the "system", but if your system is not designed or installed by a provincially certified professional, it may cause problems down the road when it comes time to finance or refinance your home, sell it, or have it appraised. It may even come with legal consequences. It isn't our intent to scare you, but we want to make sure you make an informed decision. It is a major component of your home, and probably the last thing that you want to fail because it can be very unpleasant, as well as costly and inconvenient to repair or upgrade.
For design and installation:
In Alberta, professionals must be certified provincially and have a PSDS ticket issued by the province.
In BC, professionals must have a valid Registered Onsite Wastewater Practitioner (ROWP) by ASTTBC.
What type of maintenance do I need to do?
Most systems are very low maintenance. Inline filters (usually inside your tank) need to be cleaned or replaced every 6-12 months. Pumps and pump cycles should be checked. Sludge and scum levels should be checked and pumped as needed (usually every 18-36 months). You can organize and complete most of the maintenance yourself, or for peace of mind you can have us take care of it all at a very low cost with an annual inspection.
A great question, but not easy to answer. Because each home has different soils, # of family members, lifestyle and other factors, no one system will be exactly the same. However, with that said, a typical 3-4 bedroom home on an ideal lot with good soils would see a cost of $15,000-$20,000.
A properly designed septic system will equal, if not outperform, conventional treatment quality seen in municipal or city treatment plants. If your onsite system is performing correctly, it will return your wastewater to the environment and remove nearly 99%-100% of all infectious pathogens. Chemicals, however, (such as prescription drugs, birth control hormones, etc) are very difficult to remove with any type of sewage treatment system. Hence the importance of being environmentally friendly with our household cleaners and other chemicals.
Graywater is considered as any water from sinks, showers, kitchen etc. Blackwater is considered as wastewater from toilets. In Alberta, both graywater and blackwater must be collected and treated before disposal back to the environment.
There are many things that can make a system fail. If, for example, your system is built to handle 3 people in the household but you now have 5 people living there (inlaws move in, renters in basement, etc), this will overtax the system and can cause early failure. Excessive water use causes oversaturation and will damage the soils. Improper maintenance. Driving over your field with a vehicle. Use of harsh chemicals or garburators will overtax or destroy the system.
You will know if your system is failing if you see effluent coming to the surface of the ground or if the ground becomes spongy around your field, or if you smell offensive odours.