Township of Tiny: Septic Reinspection Program

Municipal Profile

The Township of Tiny is located south-central Ontario in the Southern Georgian Bay region and is part of the Severn Sound watershed. The Township has a population of 11,232 (2011) with a high percentage of residents considered seasonal.

The Township has a total area of 344 square kilometers and has a coastline on Georgian Bay measuring 70 kilometers. The southern boundary, about 16 kilometers long, abuts the Springwater Township and the northern tip of the Town of Wasaga Beach. The eastern boundary, 17 kilometers long, marks the western boundary of Tay Township. The Township skirts the municipalities of Midland and Penetanguishene and embraces the coastline in a sweep around the peninsula.

The Township of Tiny includes the following communities/hamlets:

  • Lafontaine
  • Perkinsfield
  • Wyevale
  • Wyebridge
  • Toanche

In addition to the mainland and Giant’s Tomb Island, the Township also has three First Nations Islands; Christian, Hope, and Beckwith. Christian Island is home to the Chippewa people of the Beausoleil First Nation and is a self-governing body. The Beausoleil First Nation also owns an 8 hectare shoreline property on the mainland, specifically in the Cedar Point area, which accommodates private dwellings for individuals who wish to live on the main land. It is also used for the ferry service to and from Christian Island.

Project Lead

C.C. Tatham and Associates Ltd.
Bill Goodale, C.B.O. Sewage Systems
130 Balm Beach Road West
P.O. Box 98
Perkinsfield, ON
L0L 2J0
P: 705.527.0119

Project Contact

Shawn Persaud, Manager of Planning & Development
Township of Tiny
130 Balm Beach Road West
Tiny, ON
L0L 2J0
P: 705.526.4204 x. 240

Date of Implementation

On April 29, 2002 the Township of Tiny passed By-law 02-018 implementing a Township-wide sewage system reinspection program. The Township contracted the services of C.C. Tatham and Associates Ltd. to deliver the program in conjunction with the Township’s Planning and Building Department.

Project Description

The septic re-inspection program was initiated to ensure regular maintenance of septic systems through mandatory inspections. Every septic system requires regular maintenance to ensure it is operating efficiently and safely. The Ontario Building Code identifies the property owners as the responsible party in ensuring the system is functioning properly and thereby safeguarding community residents and the natural environment. Prior to the re-inspection program being implemented, a letter is sent by the Township in April of the year in which the system will be inspected.

The first part of the reinspection process is a visual surface inspection of the sewage system by C.C. Tatham staff for system damage or potential failures, such as pooling effluent, improper care, odours and/or vibrant green areas of vegetation or grass near the system. If the system on the property is 10 years old or newer – the landowner is not subject to the reinspection program, as systems of that age have a very low rate of required service. When the system does approach 10 years of age, the property will then be inspected as part of the program.

The second part of the program is that the property owner must arrange for their septic or holding tank being pumped out by a licensed sewage hauler. The property owner must have the hauler provide them with a written report detailing the condition of the tank at the time of the pump out, which was to be submitted to C. C. Tatham and Associates Ltd. If the landowner has a record of service from within the last two years, that can be provided as record and the landowner will not be required to have the system serviced in response to the program. The program operates on a six year cycle, with the Township divided into six management areas, with each area receiving inspections in a specific year (May to September).

Beyond the inspections, staff perform a variety of tasks to ensure the efficiency of the program, some of which include:

  • Research existing septic approvals for reinspection,
  • Obtain utility locates for each property to be inspected,
  • Inspect the system, completing the standard Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) form,
  • Follow-up with 10%-20% of the properties,
  • Connect with landowners in which a problem has been identified by the licensed sewage hauler,
  • Digitally recording and organizing all landowner and inspection information,
  • Public relations and communications/information requests,
  • Community engagement and interaction activities, and
  • Preparing and posting Orders as required.

Project Goals

The overall objective of the Septic Reinspection Program is to keep the Township’s lakes and ground water clean, and protect the natural environment and the health of the community by inspecting existing systems and bring unsafe systems into compliance with the Ontario Building Code. The project staff also work proactively with property owners to provide information and increase awareness about their sewage disposal systems.

List of Key Stakeholders

Residents of Tiny Township – although clean and non-polluted water is an important issue for all residents of the Georgian Bay area and further.


What was your municipalities’ main reason for moving this project forward? Who was the biggest champion for the project?

Members of the community approached Council to develop a solution for water quality issues which were occurring in the Township. Council then considered the available options – being a full waste water treatment centre (WWTC) or the development of a septic reinspection program, with the program being the only feasible option due to the cost associated with building a WWTC.


Summarize 2-3 points of frustration faced with this project, and describe how you or the project team developed solutions to those challenges.

Initially, landowners were concerned regarding the fee associated with the inspection. During the first few years of the program, staff held additional open houses and public consultation sessions to provide residents with the opportunity to provide feedback and ask questions. This alleviated most of the issues – and the program is now well-known and accepted throughout the Township.

Financial Considerations

What was the cost of the project? How was the project funded? Internally or externally? If externally, where was the support acquired (i.e., grant program, community donations, multiple methods)?

When first initiated in 2002, the reinspection program cost to each landowner was $81.55. Since then, that amount has increased $92.55, still payable to the Township of Tiny. This fee is applied directly to the septic reinspection program - and provides for all human resources and administrative costs associated with the delivery of the program.

Measures of Success

How has the project helped your municipality or department achieve its sustainability goals? What specific metrics can you share about the impact it has had?

Number of Systems/Lots Inspected (1,200 per year minimum target)

    • 2015: 1,387
    • 2014: 1,341
    • 2013: 1,199

Number of Systems/Lots in Which a Deficiency was Identified During Initial Inspection

    • 2015: 165 of 1,387 (12%)
    • 2014: 142 of 1,341 (11%)
    • 2013: 197 of 1,199 (16%)

Number of Systems Which Require Additional Follow-up After Servicing (20%**)

Number of Community Members Engaged with (1,200 per year minimum)

Materials Distributed (i.e., educational materials, brochures, etc.) (+2,000 per year)

Program Progress (Cycle #1 – Complete, Cycle #2 – Complete, Cycle #3 – 2 nd Year In)

Number of Systems Inspected Since 2011 (6,223 Systems/Lots)

**This is an estimate of the systems which require additional service based on the condition of the system during pump-out by a licensed sewage hauler.

Based on a project report summarizing the program for 2015, 1387 sewage systems were inspected, with 165 of those deemed to be deficient.

Project Impact (Summary)

Why would you encourage other municipalities to adopt/implement a similar practice?

As a small, rural municipality – the development of a full WWTC was not a feasible option for a community which is populated in the way that the Township is. Although only those septic systems located in ‘vulnerable areas’ and identifies them as potential significant threat to drinking water - are now supported through changes made to the Ontario Building Code in recognition of the Clean Water Act through Ontario Regulation 315/10 (which requires 5 year service records); the establishment of a Township or municipal-wide on-site inspection program shows local government is taking a proactive approach to a clean and sustainable environment. The program also provides the Township with the avenue to educate residents on the care and required service for a sewage system – and engage with the community on the importance of water resources and sustainability, giving them the tools needed to become better land and water stewards.

Strategic Plan Linkages

Deliver Efficient & Exceptional Municipal Services.

Manage our municipal assets to offer better (more efficient, more effective) services to our clients. Demonstrate good governance and value for the tax dollar.

Healthy Environment & Sustainable Community Planning.

As the Township grows we will protect our environment which is the foundation for healthy communities and a healthy population.

Support Community Health, Safety & Well-Being.

Promote wellness and active lifestyles. Improve access to healthcare services and improve connectivity across the Township. Build well-planned communities that are healthy, diverse and safe.

Community Engagement.

Promote a better connected and more engaged community. Keep our citizens engaged by promoting open, inclusive decision-making and governance.

Township of Tiny Strategic Plan

Document Links as.pdf

Type of Case Study

☒ Education and Outreach

☒ Policy Adjustment or Development

☐ Partnerships & Collaboration

☒ Enforcements & Incentives

☒ Implementation of Programs & Services

☒ Facilities & Infrastructure Improvements

Additional Resources

Website: Visit Site


130 Balm Beach Road West
Tiny, Ontario, L0L 2J0