Township water systems rated well, private septic systems overdue for inspections: report

BRUCEDALE – Guelph/Eramosa councillors learned recently the township’s water systems are operating smoothly but private septic systems in the municipality are overdue for inspections.

Harry Niemi, the township’s director of public works, and Kyle Davis, risk management official for Wellington County, presented the township’s annual drinking water report to council on March 20.

Councillor Corey Woods congratulated Niemi and his team as there were no violations and “everything was great in the water report… and that goes to Harry and his staff there. They are doing their job.”

Councillor Mark Bouwmeester echoed Woods’ comments.  

The annual report, a statutory requirement, outlines “all the activities that happened” at all three drinking water systems in Rockwood in 2022, as well as an appendix section on source water protection, Niemi noted. 

Davis highlighted two items in the source water protection summary: the upcoming Waterloo Wellington Children’s Groundwater Festival and septic system inspection program.

Water festival

The annual festival has taken place since 1996, but this is the “first time ever it will be in Wellington County” Davis noted. 

The festival will bring between 4,000 and 5,000 students in grades 2 to 5 to Guelph Lake from June 6 to 9 “to learn about water, water conservation and wastewater topics,” he added.

Septic inspections

The septic inspections are overdue. The program should happen every five years, and the last was from 2015 to 2017. The delay is due to the COVID-19 pandemic and inspections must be completed by 2025. 

EnVision has been hired to “start the program county wide, including here in Guelph/Eramosa,” Davis noted. 

“There are 414 properties in Guelph/Eramosa that are subject to this inspection program and the letters will be going out in April/May.”

There will also be “septic socials,” he added, explaining those are “open houses, essentially, for residents to come, meet the consultant, talk to the CBO (chief building official), talk to myself and our staff about any questions or concerns they may have.” 

Davis said 99 per cent of properties participated voluntarily in the 2015 to 2017 inspections.

Woods clarified the inspections are a mandatory provincial requirement, and asked Davis how they would address “properties that don’t want to do it.” 

Davis said “there were six properties … last time that did not comply. We have since received a legal opinion … and we have a process in place with the consultant about how we are going to handle those that chose not to participate.”