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Small Cabin Forum / Off-Grid Living / Old Quebec Cabin - Wastewater Improvements
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# Posted: 15 Jul 2022 16:31

Hello everyone! My family (we live in Florida), through my grandparents, own a small primitive lake cottage in Quebec that we thoroughly enjoy visiting for a few weeks every year (hopefully our stay will expand to a month+ in the near future).

Our septic "system" is the original system installed circa 1960. Although it meets our minimal needs (one toilet), we are looking to improve our wastewater treatment (based on regular lake testing there appears to be no impact, but we'd like to make proactive improvements). However, with our close proximity to the lake (no longer allowed) and the shape of our lot, it will be very expensive (maybe impossible) to install the current required technology for advanced septic systems. We are not opposed to the new technology or regulations, but can't really afford $50,000+ for a septic system at a place we stay a few weeks a year. We reached out to the municipality about installing an incinerating toilet to reduce our sewage to "zero" (seemed like a good solution), but were told this was "not authorized". We are also looking to improve our grey-water handling (bathroom tub & sink and kitchen sink only) in an environmentally and economically friendly way.

I'm hoping maybe some folks on this site could offer some advice (or solutions) that is both beneficial to the lake and our pocketbooks, or potentially point us to someone we could hire to help us navigate this issue (besides the bureaucracy, my below-average French at times creates a language barrier).

Thanks in advance!

# Posted: 15 Jul 2022 16:58

Rather than you 'coming up with' alternatives to ask about they should have those 'acceptable' clearly defined; and I would think online.

# Posted: 16 Jul 2022 03:30

Our cabin is in Quebec. They are very strict and really clamped down on waterfront restrictions a few years ago. This is at the provincial level but each
Municipality can make addition rules.
You need to get a hold of both the provincial and local rules. Do not just accept “ you can’t do that”. There are (provincially) sections on recreational cabins that allow outhouses and gray water pits (without pressurized water). We were first told “no” until I showed the provincial refs and ask for the local bylaws. All of a sudden the even provided diagrams for acceptable outhouse designs and sumps.
Main cost was we did need to have a septic survey don to show we could put in a system.
We have a water pump and they are ok with that (no pressure tank). I know a number of old folks have holding tanks and must have a pumping contract.
Your needs and options will likely differ but point is - do your own research and be prepared to ask “where does it say that?” When they say “no”.

# Posted: 16 Jul 2022 07:57

If your to close to a lake your best bet may be a holding tank. A few weekends a year and a month every year you may only need to pump a holding tank 1 or 2x a year.

What kind of system costs $50k?

# Posted: 18 Jul 2022 12:12

The quote from our survey was close to that. It’s in part being near the shore and also the type of soil that requires an advance system to prevent nutrients from reaching the lake as well as dependent on the space. As we where not putting in septic anyway, I didn’t really dig in for details much. I think?? the Waterloo bio filter was one option waterloobiofilter

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