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Alternative Wastewater Systems

There are many alternatives to the conventional septic system. This page outlines just a few of the new technologies being developed to help treat waste water in a more efficient and environmentally-friendly manner.


Treatment Units

There are several new technologies called "treatment units" that are approved under the Ontario Building Code.

Treatment units are aerobic devices or filters that provide treatment of sewage either in conjunction with a conventional septic tank or with an aeration chamber. They improve effluent quality through percolation through the filter bed and then discharge into the soil.

These systems require soil bases that may be smaller than those required for conventional systems and have no electrical components, making them ideal for use on difficult or remote sites.


Leaching Pits

Leaching (grey water) pits are allowed for low flow water conditions in remote areas. A leaching pit is an underground catch basin for liquid waste, lined with brick, concrete, or stone. The liquid waste is usually drained into the surrounding soil. They are not to be used for the disposal of toilet waste.


Pits Privies & Composting Toilets

Pit privies (outhouses) or composting toilets may also be used, but must meet current standards. Composting toilets with drains must be connected to a cesspool (drainage pit), and a permit is required.

Composting toilets provide alternatives to conventional toilets and outhouses at your cottage or remote home. They can be used aboard boats, in pool sheds, at the cottage, at home or at a resort.

Most composting toilets are designed to break down human waste through decomposition. Oxygen, moisture, heat and organic material are all that is needed to allow minute natural organisms to transform the waste to a fertilizing soil.


Holding Tanks

Holding tanks just hold the wastewater until it can be pumped out to be treated off site. In Muskoka, holding tanks are only permitted under specific circumstances where other alternatives are not feasible.


Call your local Area Municipality for information on what kind of system may be considered for approval in your area.