This past fall, residents of two resort villages within the South Saskatchewan River participated in an online survey of waste management practices. There were 150 responses from the 304 surveys sent out. A great response!
The survey included questions on type of wastewater management system used, capacity and age of systems, as well when it was last inspected. There were also questions regarding the health of the lakes, activities that may impact lake health, and willingness to take part in stewardship activities.
Results showed many residents use a concrete holding tank system for wastewater management. Most tanks were 10+ years, or the age was unknown. 57% of respondents didn’t know if their tanks had been inspected or not. 17% had tanks inspected by a certified inspector, however, most did not know when it was last inspected.
There was a consensus that water quality and levels were very important as well as the risk of invasive species. Participants are interested in learning more about how they can affect the water quality of their lake but were less interested in attending a workshop or taking part in stewardship activities.
Information from similar surveys across the province will be compiled to get a larger picture of how wastewater is being managed.
Holding tanks need to be checked to ensure no sewage is escaping into the soil. Waste, which includes nitrates, bacteria, and phosphates, can contaminate the underground water. It can enter lakes and streams, resulting in algal blooms, deterioration of water quality, increase in lake weeds and fish kills (On the Living Edge).