A dirty job: but students up to the septic challenge
|By Mark Arike - Staff Writer | June 15, 2017
It’s full speed ahead for a septic re-inspection program in Highlands East thanks to the hard work of two summer students.
Since the last week of May, engineering graduate Robert Carter and current engineering student Adam Bird have examined an average of 20 properties with septic tanks per day at Glamor Lake and Little Glamor Lake. The student septic maintenance inspectors have been to all 299 properties in the area.
“We’ve actually been making out really well,” Bird told council on June 7.
The purpose of the program is to ensure that existing septic systems don’t have a negative impact on the watershed and public health, according to Laurie Devolin, chief building official and program manager.
Initial assessments include photos, a site plan and site report. Each property has been categorized into four risk factors: low, medium, high and very high. (See sidebar for more details.)
Of those inspected, 203 properties (68 per cent) are deemed low risk, 60 (20 per cent) are medium risk, 31 (10 per cent) are high risk and only five (two per cent) are very high risk. The overall response from property owners has been positive.
“So far, we haven’t come across anyone that’s given us a hard time,” said Bird.
After the inspection, homeowners receive a short questionnaire that asks for details about their property, the type of system they have and their source of drinking water. Once that information is submitted and analyzed, a follow-up letter is sent to let them know if their system has passed the initial test or if they need a follow-up inspection.
“Very well done,” said Reeve Dave Burton. “I’m amazed at how quickly you guys move along.”
Councillor Cecil Ryall also praised them for their efforts.
“I’ve had nothing but great response from the people,” said Ryall. “You’re doing a great job.”
The properties they will visit next are at Billings Lake, Stormy Lake, Tamarack Lake and Trooper Lake. The re-inspection program is costing the municipality about $15,000, most of which is for wages.
Council approved the program because it’s committed to preserving the environment and its natural resources.
Council received the students’ report for information only.
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander.