Sewage System Inspection Program

The City of Guelph is implementing the Sewage System Inspection Program to meet the provincially mandated requirements as per Division C, Part 1, Article of the Ontario Building Code. The Ontario Building Code requires that a maintenance inspection be conducted on all properties with a sewage system. The objectives of the maintenance inspection program is to determine  if the existing  system is functioning properly and to ensure that there are no unsafe conditions associated with the sewage system.

These systems will require a re-inspection every five years as per the Ontario Building Code.

What do I need to do?

Arrange for a qualified contractor or consulting engineering firm to perform the inspection. They can be found on the Ontario Onsite Wastewater Association website or the Ontario Association Sewage Industry Services website. They will perform an inspection, complete a survey and evaluate the system performance. The inspection is primarily visual and requires input from property owners with regard to sewage system type, age, location and past operation.

If upgrades are required you must arrange for these to be completed immediately.

Complete an On-site Sewage Survey Form and submit it to the City by email to

Submit a certificate (Certificate Sewage System Maintenance Inspection Program) to the City once completed and necessary upgrades if required are complete.

75 kBSewage Survey form 42 kBInspection certificate

Is a Building Permit required?

Upgrades may be required, some of which may need a Building Permit and inspection. Permits can be applied for at 1 Carden St, 3rd floor. Permit inspections can be booked by calling 519-837-5614.

Note: As per Division C, Part 1, sentences (4) & (5) of the Ontario Building Code, persons cannot perform the required inspection and also complete any necessary upgrades to your sewage system.

Signs your system might be failing

  • Slowing or backed up drains in your home.
  • Spongy spots on or near the leaching bed.
  • Sewage on the ground or near the bed
  • Odor in the basement or outside
  • Poor well or surface water quality

Dos and don’ts


  • Familiarize yourself with the location of your system
  • Keep the tank access lid secured to the riser at all times
  • Keep an as built system diagram in a safe place for reference
  • Keep accurate records of septic system maintenance and service calls
  • Test your well water at least three times a year, spring, summer and fall, for indicator bacteria
  • Have your tank inspected for sludge and scum buildup on a regular basis (3-5 years) and pumped out when a third of the depth of your tank is full of sludge and scum
  • Have your effluent filter checked and cleaned every year; if you don’t have an effluent filter, consider adding one
  • Divert surface water away from your leaching bed
  • Conserve water in the house to reduce the amount of wastewater that must be treated
  • Repair leaky plumbing fixtures
  • Replace inefficient toilets with low-flush models
  • Consider installing a lint filter on your washing machine’s discharge pipe
  • Spread the number of loads of laundry throughout the week


  • Enter a tank, gases and lack of oxygen can be fatal
  • Put cooking oils or food waste down the drain
  • Flush hazardous chemicals, pharmaceuticals, cigarette butts or sanitary products
  • Use a garbage disposal unit/garborator unless your system has been designed for it
  • Use special additives that are claimed to enhance the performance of your tank or system
  • Dig without knowing the location of your leaching bed
  • Drive or park over your tank or leaching bed
  • Pave over your leaching bed
  • Allow livestock on the leaching bed
  • Plant trees or shrubs too close to the septic tank or leaching bed
  • Connect rain gutters, storm drains, sump pumps or allow surface water to drain into a septic system
  • Connect leaching bed or greywater system to agricultural field drainage
  • Discharge water softener backwash to the septic system unless your system has been designed for it
  • Drain hot tub and spa water to the septic system
  • Install sprinkler system over the leaching bed

For more information

Jeff Crossman
Backflow Prevention Officer
Building Services
519-837-5615 extension 2725