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Old 3/20/18, 1:16 PM
Roy D. Cooke, Sr's Avatar
Roy D. Cooke, Sr Roy D. Cooke, Sr is offline
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Location: Brighton, ON
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Default Wrong septic tank instulation


Dining room built over septictank leaves new homeowner in smelly legal quandary

We found one like this our client did not buy the home.

JanetSt-Pierre points to the crawl space window beneath her dining room, where anactive — and malfunctioning — septic system causes her Dunbar home to smelllike sewage. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News
March20, 2018
DUNBAR — It’s a smelly taleof buyer beware.
Janet St-Pierre bought herDunbar house for $210,000 just over two years ago, purchasing the County Rd. 7property, she says, from a renovator who had extensively fixed overthe handsome brick structure. But not long after she and her partner, RobertMarion, moved into the place, the powerful odour of sewage began permeating thehouse — emanating, says the yoga instructor, from under her diningroom floor.
Janet St-Pierre at her Dunbar home. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News
The home’s concrete septictank — possibly failing — is entombed beneath the crawl space.
Marion estimates the tankwas put in about 50 or 60 years ago, buried right beside the home’s mainfoundation.
At some point after that, the dining romaddition was built onto the house — over top the buried septic tank — a projectlikely contravening the Ontario Building Code of any era.
Likewise, a stone’s throwaway, the detached garage was erected on top of the septic system weeping bed,again some time ago.
Both of those projectslikely occurred during the time of the old Williamsburg Township, which shouldhave been issuing building permits for work complying with the Code.
Today’s result findsSt-Pierre and Marion living amid beautiful, recent renovations while immersedin an unpleasant stench “80 percent of the time,” she says. During an early Marchinterview with Nation Valley News, theodour was muted and masked with essential oils she keeps around the house.
While she concedes thelocation of the tank was identified before she bought the place, she says itdidn’t smell during pre-purchase visits, and she insists the system wasinspected and passed by an area septicsystem company in October 2015 prior to purchase. She says the firm recommendedadding “risers” — to make it easier to pump out the tank — and gave her adocument she says satisfied the mortgageinsurance requirements of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. “Nowthey’re saying they didn’t pass it or fail it,” remarks St-Pierre, who estimatesher lawyer bills at $10,000 so far.
Installing an entirely newseptic system elsewhere on the property will cost about $40,000, according toestimates St-Pierre says she’s received. She believes the insurance company of theoriginal septic inspector should pay for it.
By the early spring of2016, “I couldn’t even stand outside for the smell coming through the wall ofthe crawlspace,” she exclaims.
The home had sat empty “foryears” until the last owner — described by St-Pierre as a “non-local” houseflipper — renovated and sold it to her.
A home inspection wasconducted on St-Pierre’s behalf by her own real estate agent, says the formerCornwall resident. “The listing real estate agenttold me it was professionally restored,” she adds.
When her septic problemsemerged, she began searching for evidence of building permits issued by theMunicipality of South Dundas on all of the recent work — but says she foundnone. She also discovered that one’s lawyer — at thetime of a home’s purchase — typically searches for “open” municipal permits —which won’t catch issues arising from work done without permits in the firstplace.
“The very first winterhere, the pipes froze,” she says, adding she has electrical concerns afterdiscovering an open permit with the Electrical Safety Authority.
When she approached themunicipality about the lack of municipal permits — hoping she might find somerelief through her title insurance — shesays she was visited by municipal officials who refused to issue work ordersand cautioned her that building permits are “a can of worms.”
She says a Toronto-basedofficial with Ontario’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs has advised her to takelegal action against South Dundas.
She hired a septic designcompany, she says, at the recommendation of South Nation Conservation (SNC),which handles septic issues on behalf of the municipality. At a cost of $1,200 a representative of thatcompany “confirmed the septic field is under the garage,” she says, adding thatSNC also collected $600 for a new septic permit. Her lawyer has since met with SNCofficials, she says.
She also worries the septicsystem could seep onto her neighbours’ properties. The Eastern Ontario HealthUnit has advised her that she will be treated as the responsible party ifthat’s the case.
She and Marion takeinfrequent, short showers for fear of worsening the situation — all the whileliving in a mortgaged home that stinks.
“I did my due diligence toprotect myself” before buying the home, she insists. “Now everybody else isprotecting themselves.”
“Who the hell hasauthority? rhetorically asks St-Pierre, who has also contacted the office ofthe Ontario Omnbudsman. “Everybody’spassing the buck. Nobody’s responsible, except for me.”

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Old 3/20/18, 1:58 PM
Roy Lewis, CMI's Avatar
Roy Lewis, CMI Roy Lewis, CMI is online now
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Default Re: Wrong septic tank instulation


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Old 3/20/18, 2:08 PM
Roy D. Cooke, Sr's Avatar
Roy D. Cooke, Sr Roy D. Cooke, Sr is offline
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Location: Brighton, ON
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Default Re: Wrong septic tank instulation

Originally Posted by rlewis5 View Post

Vendor Disclosure…would have helped, or made themliable.

Home Inspector likely is off the hook if they saidthey don’t do septic

…I hope.

Septic company seems the one that’s liable…at leastfor informing where the tank & bed were and if / why not appropriate.

Could be in courts for years I suspect.

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Old 3/20/18, 8:55 PM
Claude Lawrenson's Avatar
Claude Lawrenson Claude Lawrenson is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Tecumseh-Windsor, ON
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Default Re: Wrong septic tank instulation

I've worked with litigators on a few of these. They are never easy because of the complexity of the "AHJ" in mainly smaller rural areas. Of course in a number of cases those sitting within the limiting distances at, near or in some cases under the newer portions added on to an existing structure, possibly with or without proper permits.

Again interesting to hear of in that news piece -quote - "A home inspection was conducted on St-Pierre’s behalf by her own real estate agent, says the former Cornwall resident. “The listing real estate agent told me it was professionally restored,” she adds."

Cheers, Claude Lawrenson NACHI03121515
Inspection Support Services Inc.
"Those who can do. Those who CARE teach" and truly understand What do teachers make ?
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