Private Septic System Owners of Mississippi Mills – by Jeff Bogearts

In 1998 the new Town of Mississippi Mills (“MM”) was incorporated by amalgamating the Town of Almonte, and the Townships of Ramsay and Pakenham located in Lanark County, Ontario Canada.

The sewage treatment plant which formerly serviced the old Town of Almonte was replaced on July 25, 2012 at a cost of $24.7 million. Funding came from a grant submitted by the Town under the Building Canada Fund (2010) where MM was to contribute 1/3rd of the cost with the balance of 2/3rds provided by provincial and federal governments.

The new plant offers capacity to serve the growth needs of Almonte to 2031 when the population is expected to reach over 8,000. The population of Almonte as of the 2011 census was 4,752 (Statistics Canada). Households in Almonte use water and sewer pipe connection.

Residents who have private septic systems call a private hauler to pump out their septic tanks as required. The private hauler is running a service business and after pumping the private septic tank he is paid by the private landowner and the contract is completed.

The hauler now finds the best price per cubic metre to process the thousands of litres of septage collected. The fees charged by MM to the hauler for processing may or may not be competitively priced and there is no requirement for the hauler to use the MM facilities.

There are approximately 2,985 landowners who process their wastewater using their own private septic systems. The council of MM has decided to charge each of these landowners a capital cost recovery fee of $115 to pay for the Almonte sewage treatment plant for a total of $343,275. The $115 on your property tax invoice gives the impression that it is a required payment as part of your property taxes which it is not.

The cost of a private septic system can run $20,000 or more depending on the type and size (not including the cost of a well). Why are private landowners who have paid thousands of $’s for their septic systems, not including ongoing maintenance, required by a law passed by council to pay for a service they already have in their backyard?

The residents of Almonte do not pay towards the installation, replacement or maintenance of the rural landowner’s septic system. They are responsible for their own costs. The rural landowner is being forced by law to help pay for the sewage treatment plant.

This is your opportunity to defend your land against a law that is wrong and is in violation of not only the Municipal Act of Ontario but the Charter or Rights and Freedoms. Not from MM? It’s your opportunity to help see justice done.

Donate to the Litigation Fund for a Class Action Suit against the Council of Mississippi Mills. If you allow this regulatory taking of $115.00 from your pocket (or your neighbour’s) today and say nothing, what will be taken from you tomorrow?