Company hosts open house to clear the air regarding septage
By Nate Smelle
Published Oct. 24, 2017
Total Site Services Inc. held an open house at its Coaldale Road septic field on the Saturday of the holiday weekend to give residents of Haliburton County a better idea of what happens to their septage after their tank is pumped. Within the last few years, TSSI owner Pat Casey has noticed an increasing unease regarding field spreading and septic fields. Recognizing that some residents in the county have concerns that there is a lack of spreading capacity within the county, and that field spreading and septic fields are detrimental to the environment, he said they decided to invite the public in to see their operation for themselves.
“Our field is in the perfect location,” he said.
“The conditions of our site here are those of a massive septic bed. We are currently spreading only one-third of the septage that our licence allows. To put that into perspective, we estimate that the whole county volume combined could be serviced by our field alone. Of course, those volumes will fluctuate with how often individuals have their septic systems pumped.”
Casey is in full support of the septic inspections that many municipalities are implementing. He believes they are a crucial step in maintaining the health of the area’s lakes, residents’ property values and the environment itself. He said the team at TSSI are always careful to keep in line with the standards set by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, and take pride in being responsible stewards of the environment and the community. One way they do this, he said, is by scheduling pump-outs logistically so they can service as many people as they can in a day, while creating the smallest carbon footprint possible. This past summer, they hired an engineer from Hutchinson Environmental Services Ltd. to conduct an impact study on the plants, birds and other species that also use the field. The method of spreading and the maintenance of the septic field is also important in terms of environmental sustainability, explained Casey.
“We take care of the field by grid spreading, cutting the grass, picking up the debris is required in ensuring that the ground stays level so that no rainwater or substance can accumulate in puddles on the property.”
The MOECC is currently reviewing its policies regarding field spreading and septic treatment, and their findings are expected to come out within the year. According to Casey, this may or may not change the way field spreading takes place. Over the past year, Casey said TSSI has been putting together a plan for the future. As part of this plan, the company is planning to present a proposal to install holding cells on site, so that they can service the county on a year-round basis. This will save residents money, he said because they won’t have to spend it on hauling the septage out of the county during the colder months.
TSSI’s pump truck operator Mike Morrison has some 30 years of experience pumping and spreading septage in Haliburton County.
He is confident that TSSI’s site on Coaldale Road, and the method of field spreading he practises with the company, is sustainable.
“When you have a site this good it is very easy to keep within the MOECC guidelines,” he said.
“That’s why they have the guidelines. When you follow them, there is not usually a problem. There is the odd day you get the wrong tank and then we will take it to the end of the property where the wind won’t pick it up. I know that I don’t want to smell it at my home, so I don’t want other people to have to smell it.”
Morrison said that in areas such as Bracebridge where there are no spreading fields, septic pump-out costs anywhere from $300 to $600 depending on the size of the tank.
The increase in cost, he explained, is because the septage must be treated by a sewage treatment plant, field changes for filter bags, which are costly.
Currently, TSSI charges an average of $175 for a pump-out in Haliburton County.
In addition to septic design, installation, repairs, inspections and pumping, TSSI also provides services such as helping clients apply for permits, lot clearing, driver installations, demolition, excavation, drill and blast, landscaping and in-house well drilling and geothermal.