Please feel free to contact the Ril Lake septic representative, Margaret Fielding at

Margaret would be pleased to assist or help with guiding you in the right direction to understanding and maintaining your septic system.

For an In-depth Look at Septic Systems
Septic Smart - Service Ontario.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 4.8 MB

Septic Systems

Many rural areas rely on septic systems for wastewater management. It is important to understand the operation of these systems and the part you play as the homeowner to ensure it is maintained efficiently. Improper maintenance can be harmful to your family's health and can compromise the surrounding ecosystems, wildllife and integrity of both ground and surface water such as wells, rivers, streams and lakes.

Returning Flooded Septic Systems to Service
Returning Flooded Septic Systems to Serv
Adobe Acrobat Document 153.1 KB

Flooded Well Disinfecting
Flooded Well Disinfecting.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 236.7 KB

How Does My Septic System Work?

A septic system is comprised of two major parts:

1.  the septic tank

2.  the leaching bed area


The tank is made up of two chambers usually underground where the wastewater flows from the home. The tank is sealed which allows no oxygen into the area, solids settle to the bottom and scum will float and rest on the surface. The liquids flow through a distribution box to the leaching (or tile) bed. This area can be made of clay tiles or perforated pipes which distribute the wastewater over natural soil or fill brought in to additionally help filter the water. The wastewater in the tile beds is further processed by bacteria and oxygen which digest and remove impurities such as chemicals, viruses, and/or harmful bacteria. The water eventually flows through to groundwater and ultimately to surrounding rivers, streams, and lakes. 

Common Septic Problems

It is important to be alert and check your septic system area frequently. The following are some signs your system may not be functioning effectively:

1.  Toilets, drains run slower or back up more frequently

2.  Unusual or foul odours in the house or in your drinking water

3.  Soggy ground around the septic area

4.  Surface flooding of sewage

5.  Greener, thicker grass around the bed

6.  Significant algae growth in nearby lakes, rivers or streams


It is extremely important to understand that septic systems are Not Garbage Cans. The bacteria within a septic system is essential to break down the wastewater properly. Introducing harmful bacteria by way of your drain or toilet can significantly impair the system by killing the essential bacteria within the system.


For your own safety and health, never put the following into the septic system:

1.  Fats, oils, and/or grease

2.  Gasoline and antifreeze

3.  Varnish, paints, solvents, bleach, and drain cleaners

4.  Pesticides

5.  Cat box litter

6.  Tampons, sanitary napkins, diapers, paper towels, facial tissue, condoms, and nail polish remover

7.  Plastics of any kind

8.  Coffee grounds, tea leaves, egg shells and/or other kitchen waste

9.  Cigarette filters

All of these items can kill the active bacteria in the system essentially making it unable to function. Adding a store-bought septic additive may increase the problem.


If you notice any change in the system it is important to contact a licenced professional septic company.

Maintenance Tips

Pumping out the septic should be done every 3 to 5 years.

There are several septic pump-out companies within the District of Muskoka. Many of these operators will offer a discount by volume. By communicating with neighbours or friends on the lake, you may be able to have a reduced rate if the operator can pump out multiple systems. Many also offer a "Seniors Discount", so if you have a "senior" within your family, make use of these offers.

Additional Information

The following links provide useful and informative resources.

Township of Lake of Bays

1012 Dwight Beach Road, Dwight, ON, P0A 1H0

(877) 566-0005


District of Muskoka

70 Pine Street, Bracebridge, ON, P1L 1N3

(705) 645-2231


FOCA Septic Systems