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  Decommissioning Existing Systems
  Application and Process — Septic System Decommissioning
  Download Decommissioning Form

Septic System Decommissioning Form: A septic system decommissioning form is used when municipal sanitary sewers are present and you would like to discontinue use of your septic and connect to the municipal sewer. Proper decommissioning methods will help ensure that our health, safety and environment are protected.

Septic tanks are full of untreated wastewater. Wastewater is loaded with contaminants including bacteria, viruses, parasites and nitrates which can cause diseases or other health or environmental problems. If abandoned and not properly decommissioned, wastewater will eventually leak out, contaminating the soil, groundwater and polluting local watercourses.

Septic tanks that have not been properly taken out of service can also create a safety hazard. If an abandoned septic tank has not been filled in with soil, the lid or top of the tank may collapse or cave in. There have been serious injuries and even deaths caused by a fall into an abandoned septic tank when the lid collapsed.

Note: Septic systems can include holding tanks, pretreatment tanks, pump chambers and advanced treatment units.

By following this decommissioning and inspection process, homeowners will have the peace-of mind that their family’s health and safety is protected. This official record certifying the decommissioning will also provide value-added support during future real estate transactions.

The Process

  To ensure your decommissioned septic tank does not create a hazard, do the following:
  1. Complete and submit the Septic System Decommissioning Form along with payment to the Ottawa Septic System Office at least five days prior to starting work.
  2. Locate the septic tank and uncover the top of the tank (generally 12–24 inches below ground level). Do not enter the tank.
    Note: If you are unsure of the location of your system check your septic records or conduct a Septic System Record Search to obtain a copy.

  3. Have the septic tank wastewater (liquid and sludge) pumped out by a licensed septic hauler. It is important to pump the wastewater, as it contains bacteria and viruses that could make you or your family ill. Keep the pumping receipt as it acts as proof-of-pumping and will be required prior to Ottawa Septic System Office inspection as part of the approval process.
  4. Fill in the septic tank completely with sand or gravel and put the access lid(s) back in place, or demolish the tank and fill in with soil.
  5. Request an inspection by fax, email or calling the Ottawa Septic System Office. Please include your name, the address of the decommissioning and file number. An inspection will take place within 48 hours.
  6. Once you receive paperwork approving the decommissioning of your septic tank, backfill the soil around the septic tank slightly higher than ground level to allow for settling.
  7. Be sure to store your approved Septic System Decommissioning Form in a safe place. This documentation will be of value should you choose to sell your home in the future.

    Note: Septic Systems and their contents can be hazardous to you and those around you. Never enter or leave a tank open. For your safety it is highly recommend that you contact a licensed septic hauler, installer or service provider to conduct any work on your system.


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