Out of sight, out of mind; this describes most people’s relationship with maintaining their recreational home. If you are like most cottage owners, you probably do not give much thought to what goes down the drain (unless you have had septic issues in the past). That is, until the sewage backs up into the house or terrible odors start coming from the backyard. Most cottagers rely on a septic system to treat and dispose of household wastes. Proper maintenance and operation can impact how well your septic system works and how long it will last.
Septic maintenance is important for several reasons. Failing septic systems are expensive to replace or repair (costs usually range from $3000-$10,000) and the amount of preventative maintenance that septic systems actually require costs very little. It costs about $100 for an inspection and around $200 to have it pumped.
When septic systems they fail, poorly treated household waste is released into the surrounding environment. This waste potentially contaminates: wells, groundwater and drinking water sources. Any contact with untreated human waste can pose significant health risks. When septic systems fail, chemicals can be improperly released and contaminate local water sources
If you own a cottage with a septic system, you should be alert for the following warning signs of a failing system:
1. Slowly draining sinks and toilets;
2. Gurgling sounds in the plumbing;
3. Plumbing backups;
4. Sewage odors in the house or yard;
5. Wet or mushy ground underfoot;
6. Grass growing faster and greener in one particular area of the yard; and,
7. Tests showing the presence of bacteria in well water.
The appearance of one or more of these signs should prompt you to have your septic system at the cottage inspected. Although all of the above are good indicators that a system has failed, you can definitely have a problem without the symptoms.
If your cottage or recreational home does use a septic system, you should be able to answer the following questions about it:
1. Where is it located?
2. How often should you have the system inspected?
3. Do you know the last time your septic tank was pumped?
Doing a bit of research into your system is never a bad idea, neither is a septic system inspection, especially if you are selling or thinking of selling your cottage real estate. Buyers like to know that they are making a sound investment. Trust me – ignorance is not bliss when it comes to your septic system!
If you are thinking of selling or buying a home in the Near North, please give me a call directly, I would love to assist you.