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Septic Systems


Mandatory Septic Inspections, North Bay Mattawa Conservation Authority


A private sewage disposal system is comprised of two basic parts: a septic tank which allows for the separation of solids, grease, fats and oils from the wastewater and a distribution bed which allows the liquid from the septic tank to pass through it and infiltrate into the ground for further treatment and final disposal.


A septic system is designed to treat wastewater before it reaches the environment:

  • Locating your septic system too close to surface or ground water may allow movement of untreated waste into the environment causing contamination, affecting your drinking water and the water quality of Lake Nipissing at Callander Bay and beyond.
  • When locating a new septic system take into consideration its separation from; surface water bodies, wells, property lines, buildings, trees, groundwater, bedrock and areas prone to flooding.


A properly designed and functioning septic system can safely treat and dispose of household wastewater for many years provided that basic care and maintenance are observed:

  • The septic tank uses bacteria naturally occurring in the wastewater to treat human wastes and break down solids. The use of toxic substances such as bleach, solvents and antibacterial soaps can kill bacteria and cause your system to fail prematurely.
  • The septic tank is not a garbage disposal. The bacteria in the tank cannot break down candy wrappers, sanitary napkins, plastics and other inorganic materials.
  • Not all solids can be broken down by the bacteria in the tank. Cooking oils and grease do not biodegrade well and can cause blockage. Failure to pump out the septic tank on a regular basis will eventually allow the solids to escape and access the distribution bed, clogging the bed, leading to bed failure.
  • Excess water will overload the system. Practice water conservation.
  • Use phosphate-free detergents to avoid the seepage of unwanted nutrients into the watershed.

Regulations and Recommendations

  • Septic systems with a daily design sewage flow of less than 10,000 litres per day, located on the same property as the structure it serves are regulated by the Ontario Building Code (OBC). The OBC requires that a permit be obtained prior to construction, installation, extension, enlargement or alteration of a septic system or building serviced by a septic system. The North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority issues these permits. Please consult the NBMCA early in the process.
  • Callander Council approved By-law 2010-1210 on August 3, 2010, to regulate Septic tank Pump-outs. This by-law came into effect on January 1, 2011. All residents of Callander operating a septic system are now obligated to verify septic tank pump-outs with the Municipality on a regular basis, as defined in the by-law. For more information, please contact the Municipal office in Callander at 705-752-1410 or visit the Front Desk at 280 Main Street North, in Callander.
  • The closest a sewage disposal system can be located to Callander Bay or a stream flowing into it is 30 metres (100 feet).For creation of a new lot, please confirm requirements with the Municipality.


  • Always know where your septic system is on your property and get a copy of your septic record. Keep deep rooting vegetation or heavy objects away from it.
  • Collect your household hazardous waste and deliver it to the City of North Bay’s Hazardous Waste Depot.
  • Slightly over sizing your septic system could pay dividends down the road if you decide to build an addition. An oversized system improves its performance and could extend its life expectancy.
  • Contact the NBMCA in the early planning stages of building or development on your property.
  • The further your septic system is set back from a water body the better it is for the environment.
  • Get together with neighbours and organize several septic tank pump outs at the same time. You could save $$$.
Municipality of Callander 705-752-1410
North Bay District Ministry of Natural Resources 705-475-5550
North Bay – Mattawa Conservation Authority 705-474-5420
This information has been prepared as a guide only. Please contact the appropriate authorities prior to any works on your property to ensure that rules and regulations are interpreted appropriately for your individual circumstances.