Most residents of rural Ottawa are not connected to the City’s water and sewer system. They require a private septic system to deal with household wastewater.
The septic system processes all the wastewater from your home (toilet, bathtub, shower, sink, washing machine and dishwasher). All this wastewater flows to your septic tank, which is a good reason to conserve water usage as much as possible.
To ensure your septic system doesn’t become full, which could back up waste into your home or leech out into the soil, it must be pumped out regularly. It is recommended that a licensed contractor inspect your septic tank for cracks and leaks every three to five years.
Homeowners are responsible for maintaining their own septic systems. To ensure your septic system is working properly, learn how to manage your septic system.
Septic approval and inspection
The Ottawa Septic System Office (OSSO) of the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority co-ordinates the review and approval of any septic system installed, altered or repaired, anywhere in Ottawa. Information packages that include the required application forms are available from OSSO, or from the City's Client Service Centres.
Alternatively, you may refer to the Ottawa Septic Office for their fees, application forms and other relevant information.
Well and septic grants through the Rural Clean Water Program
The Ottawa Rural Clean Water Program provides funding for projects that protect surface water and groundwater quality. Rural property owners are eligible to apply for a series of grants including well decommissioning. As of 2016, grants are also available for repairs of faulty septic systems that are close to watercourses or within Wellhead Protection Areas.
Septic system records
If you require a septic record for a system installed 1978 or later, contact the Ottawa Septic System Office. For systems installed prior to 1978, contact Ottawa Public Health or call 613-580-6744.