Municipal Advisory Group

The following letter was sent from the FRSC to Municipal Council in October 2010

To: the French River Municipal Council

From: The French River Stewardship Council                                      October 1, 2010

Water quality in the French River and surrounding waters

As another cottage season comes to a close the FRSC has continued our testing and observations of the water quality of the French River and surrounding waters. We are pleased with the proactive approach that the French River Municipal Council is taking to protect this resource from further nutrient loading and thank you for your efforts to date as concerns your work on sewage handling.

As you now are aware we have had continuing blue green algae blooms this year in many areas of the French River and surrounding waters as confirmed by our observations and by localized testing by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

As a stewardship group we are submitting these three priorities that we see as critical to our ability to gradually improve the water quality in our streams, river and lakes.

  1. Please continue your efforts with respect to the lagoons with the target of a 150 day retention time between when a lagoon is filled and subsequently discharge. This will allow the required time for the bacterial processes to complete and coupled with Ministry of Environment discharge requirements produce a relatively clean decant.
  2. From the Trow report consider further work with respect to a sewage holding tanks, (those not provided with a field bed), to ensure proper pump outs are occurring. For tanks with an associated field bed we recommend the municipality require documented pump outs using the current resources of local sewage haulers. Pump out frequencies would have to consider tank size, the number of occupants and the annual usage rate, be it seasonal or a full time residence. These recommendations would require an appropriate bylaw such as the one now existing in North Bay that requires the septic hauler to issue that the owner then must submit with their tax payment.
  3. Consider a bylaw which would require all for sale residential and business properties have the septic systems appraised by a credited agency or contractor prior to sale and that systems are brought to acceptable standards, (Health Unit for those under 10,000 liters per day and Ministry of the Environment standards for those over 10,000 liters), to before sale or by a legally binding agreement to do so by the purchaser. Septic haulers or bylaw officers can be trained and qualified to conduct the required inspections prior to property sale.


As a water stewardship group our focus is on water quality which we see as a critical part of our collective future. We trust we can continue to work together in cooperation, not confrontation, and ask that we be given the opportunity of a formal presentation of our findings at an upcoming council meeting.

Joe Dippong

On behalf of the French River Stewardship Council

Agenda item 4.3 meetings with the Municipality re the sewage treatment systems.
Joe Dippong was invited by our mayor Mr. C. Bourgeois to attend a meeting on Friday October 16th. To review a report received from the Ontario Clean Water Association (OCWA) Engineering Services Division.

The meeting was attended by our mayor Mr. Bourgeois, Mr. M. Monette the Chief Administration Officer of our municipality and Joe Dippong on behalf of our FRSC.

Joe is pleased to report that this initial input was well received and a follow up meeting to review sewage systems drawings and a system tour was completed on Thursday October 22nd. After this second meeting a brief report was issued by Joe to Mr. Monette providing a summary of the current system operation and our recommendations for follow up. Joe reviewed his report during the FRSC October 24, 2009 meeting.

Our current understanding is that the municipality plans to issue a Request for Tender to various consulting firms to prepare a Septage Plan for the Municipality. As a request to tender must be treated as a confidential document Joe could not elaborate further but noted the excellent cooperation received from our municipal leaders.

Ron Garbutt noted that a subsequent Municipal Council Meeting Mayor Bourgeois spoke favorably of the input received.