Septic systems and wells

About septic systems

A septic system is a small network of components (generally a supply line, a holding tank and a purification unit or field) used to treat and evacuate wastewater and grey water.

Septic systems are governed by Québec regulation Q-2, r.22, which applies to residences with no more than six bedrooms and to businesses using no more than 3,240 litres a day. The application and enforcement of Q-2, r.22 falls upon municipalities.

Municipal Septic System Management Program

For your convenience, we’re posting the inspection schedule for our septic system program.

To search the document, press Control F (that is, the Ctrl and F keys at the same time) and enter your street name. Once you see your street, locate your address to view its schedule.

In April 2020, our staff started to inspect your system to advise you if it needs cleaning/emptying.

Any servicing needed is at your expense as the owner, but you get to choose the contractor. What’s more, our program is designed to ensure that septic systems are properly inspected every year, but emptied or cleaned only according to actual need, not on an arbitrary schedule.

For more details, contact the Environment and Urban Planning Service at 819- 457-9400, extension 2315, or the program officer directly: Charles-Henri Paquette, at extension 2311; you can also email him at

To obtain a septic-system installation permit, you must submit plans and specifications signed by a professional engineer or technologist.

Also, if you want to add one or more bedrooms to a building or to change how all or part of it is used, you must have a professional check if your current septic system’s capacity can handle the extra load.

Various factors dictate the type of septic facility you can have on your property, like slope, rock and groundwater depth, type of soil, distance from nearby wells and area available for a septic system. All these factors must be verified on site by engineers or technologists.

A professional engineer or technologist must oversee the septic system’s construction; and, once work ends and before the building is occupied, you, as the owner, must submit a certificate confirming that the system complies not only with the building permit issued, but also with applicable laws and regulations.   

Once construction ends, if the design details of the septic system differ from those in the report approved in the initial permit, your Certificate of Compliance must include an “as built” plan.

Regulations prohibit anyone from allowing toilet water, grey water or other type of wastewater to discharge from an isolated residence into the environment. That means, as the owner of the residence and its septic system, you’re responsible for maintenance and repairs (permit required) that prevent the system from polluting.

You need to have your septic holding tank emptied periodically, as two types of solids accumulate in it over time: sludge settles to the bottom and scum accumulates on the surface of the liquid. If allowed to accumulate excessively, both these solids can block the piping and infest the leaching field, undermining the system’s performance.

That’s why we implemented our septic sludge/scum measurement program.

Many household products and other substances absolutely don’t belong in a home’s plumbing  and septic systems, which are simply not designed to handle them. Here’s a partial list of things to never send into a septic system:

  • Chemical products (cleaners) in large quantities
  • Condoms
  • Cooking grease and oil
  • Cotton swabs (Q-tips)
  • Paper towels
  • Petroleum products (oil, gasoline)
  • Pharmaceutical products
  • Tampons and sanitary napkins
  • Tissues and toilet paper not designed for septic systems
  • Toxic or non-biodegradable items
  • Wet wipes