You may have a septic system if you live in a rural area, a small community or have a cottage.

Septic systems are onsite wastewater treatment units that fulfill the role of municipal sewers in rural areas. Anything that goes down the drain — every shower drip and toilet flush — flows to the septic system.

Septic systems are made up of:

  • a tank
  • a network of pipes
  • billions of organisms that process your waste

SepticSmart! booklet

The SepticSmart! booklet (PDF) explains how your septic system works and how to keep it working properly.

You are responsible for the operation of your septic system and it is in your best interest to take good care of it from a health, financial and environmental perspective.

The booklet:

  • illustrates and describes the function and key components of a class 4 rural septic system
  • provides guidelines on minimum separation distances for type 4 systems
  • outlines best management practices for proper maintenance of a septic system

If you would like a printer-friendly PDF, email your request to info@rvca.ca.

The booklet is also available in the best management practices library.

Septic videos

These videos provide information about how septic systems work, how to take care of them and newer types of systems available for challenging locations.

Find out why maintaining your septic system is a good idea that can save you money and protect water quality.

Accessibility disclaimer

If you require this information in an alternative format, please contact ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca. We will:

  • acknowledge your request within 3 business days
  • provide you with the content within 15 business days

Contact us

If you have questions about Ontario’s Building Code and septic system requirements, contact the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.