The Village of Sundridge and North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority (NBMCA) are closer to rolling out a plan for a sewage inspection program involving homeowners with septic systems on Lake Bernard.
The goal of the inspections is to make sure none of the systems are leaking or discharging human waste into, and negatively impacting, Lake Bernard.
“No one's system should be leaking into the lake and this is one way to make sure it's not happening,” Coun. Steve Hicks said.
The conservation authority would oversee the inspections and because the village is making the request, the municipality will pay for them.
Mayor Lyle Hall prefers having a full inspection done of the septic systems and giving homeowners a certain amount of time to fix any deficiencies that are identified.
Hall also says there need to be consequences if a homeowner doesn't fix a problem, or problems. He is calling for some kind of enforcement, otherwise the practice of someone's septic system leaking or discharging effluent into the lake will continue.
How homeowners pay for the repairs is something council still needs to decide.
When staff asked what happens if a homeowner can't pay for the repairs, Hall suggested the village loan the necessary funds and have them paid back.
But Hicks would have none of this. He maintained that the municipality should not pay for the repair work, even if it is done through a repayable loan.
Hicks said if someone's septic system needs repairs now, it was negligence on the part of the homeowner over time that resulted in the situation worsening and that person needs to be held accountable.
Deputy Mayor Shawn Jackson agreed with Hicks, while Coun. Barbara Belrose felt there was no harm in loaning out money for repairs.
Where council came to an agreement was on the idea of a full inspection, which would involve pumping out tanks and inspecting them.
Council was not interested in the NBMCA carrying out just a visual inspection of the systems.
One bit of information the village still needs from the NBMCA is what it will cost to inspect the systems.
About 12 septics would be involved in the inspection program.
Also, council is in agreement that it wants the conservation authority to carry out the inspections.
Hall and Jackson agreed it should not be a local business doing the work, because council wants to avoid any perception that there may be a conflict of interest.
Staff will now write back to the NBMCA to get a costing of the full inspection and then report back to council with the dollar amount at a future meeting.
Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative, The North Bay Nugget