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Wells and Septics

In rural areas, many homes do not have connections to municipal water and sewer lines. Homeowners rely upon privately owned or communal (shared) wells as their drinking water source, and individual septic systems to treat and discharge their wastewater. Homeowners must ensure that their well water is safe to drink, and that their well and septic system are properly maintained.

A malfunctioning well or septic system can pose a health risk to your family and neighbours, and can be expensive to repair or replace.

It is therefore important to conduct a detailed inspection of both the well and septic system prior to purchasing a home.This document will describe how wells and septic systems function and how to inspect them.

An old and / or unmaintained septic can be a

health hazard 

to a

person and to a body of water.

Did you Know?


GREY water can be bad for the environment?

Dead fish, dead dogs, sick people.....

Key nutrients in grey water can fuel harmful algal blooms (HABs), which cause mass ecosystem dysfunction by producing toxins, blocking sunlight and clogging fish gills. After the bloom dies, the process of decomposition consumes locally available oxygen, creating marine dead zones.


Human exposure to toxic HABs can cause ear, eye, nose, skin and throat irritation, as well as respiratory distress, abdominal pain, diarrhea, liver and kidney damage, vomiting, seizures and paralysis. Wildlife and domestic animals are similarly affected. Notably, exposure to toxic HABs has been linked to instances of dog mortality.


Ensure you have an updated and well maintained septic system, or a system designed to recycle and reuse grey-water.

Your Well

When you are purchasing a home with a private water supply (a well), there are three key items to consider:

  • well system

  • water quantity

  • water quality

Septic Systems

The septic system accepts wastewater from the home (sinks, shower, toilets, dishwasher, washing machine), treats the wastewater and returns the treated effluent to the groundwater. A conventional septic system is comprised of two components: a septic tank and a leaching bed.

Your Well and Septic Systems Reference and Check List

Wells and septic systems should always be checked before buying and or selling a residence and or cottage..  Look at the check list and Ask The Questions. 


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