Summertime Tips

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For many of us, summer at the lake is a highlight of our year - a time when we can relax on the dock, take the boat out for a spin, have a BBQ with friends or simply lie in the hammock and listen to the birds. Although it's great to enjoy the many pleasures that living by the lake can bring, we must never forget that, as stewards of this magnificent watershed, it is up to us to help protect and preserve it. The following are a few tips that will help you enjoy your summer in an environmentally responsible way1.

Protect the Shoreline

  • A well vegetated shoreline is the last line of defence against excessive nutrients entering our waterways. Remember that, to protect shorelines, river banks, etc., MRC regulations prohibit the mowing of lawns within 10 to 15 meters of the shoreline. For more information on this matter, please consult the Regulations page of our website.

Smart Boating Practices

  • Be a safe, courteous and “green” boater. Before you put your boat into the lake, wash it thoroughly, far away from the shore. When on the water, make safety your primary concern and remember to be a good neighbour. Practice “green boating” by using environmentally friendly products, keeping your engine tuned, etc...
  • Please read and follow the boating guidelines detailed in the Association's brochure and summary sheet.

Personal Hygiene

  • Please don't bath or wash your hair in the lake as both of these activities can contaminate the water. If you don't have a shower at the cottage, use a bucket of water to clean yourself well away from the shoreline. Better yet, skip the soap and use a loofah sponge to clean yourself. For more details on safe bathing practices, please read the article on our website.

Water Management

  • If your well is at risk of failure during dry spells, minimize water use and supplement it with water from other sources such as rainwater collection.
  • To water your garden, install a drip irrigation or soaker hose system; such a system allows water to seep slowly into the soil, reducing evaporation and preventing runoff.
  • Use a thick layer of mulch, like straw or shredded leaves, to reduce watering.

Septic Systems – take very good care of your septic system during the summer

  • To avoid damage from roots, don't plant trees within two metres of the leaching bed and septic tank.
  • Don't park your car or trailer on the leaching bed as this could seriously damage it.
  • Limit the amount of water you and your guests use to avoid overloading your system. Take short showers and watch how often you flush the toilet. Be particularly vigilant when you have large crowds at the cottage.
  • Repair leaking faucets, running toilets, etc., and use low volume plumbing fixtures.
  • Use only phosphate free products.1711 prosphate
  • Take pressure off your system by supplementing it with a compost toilet.

For more information on the operation and maintenance of your septic system, please click here.

Summer Recreation

  • Dockside water safety - keep a reach pole and personal flotation devices handy for rescues.
  • Swimmer's itch - avoid swimmer's itch, by applying waterproof suntan lotion and toweling off vigorously immediately after swimming. Also, don't feed the ducks as they carry a parasite that can cause swimmer's itch;
  • Bonfires - always check the SOPFEU fire hazard level before starting any fire or using fireworks. Only build bonfires in approved containers/firepits. Have municipal officials confirm that your firepit meets regulations. Keep fires small and never start one on a windy day. Don't burn driftwood that may be protecting your shoreline from erosion and never burn treated or painted wood. Store or bury ashes far away from the shoreline.
  • Taking Care of the Pooch - when you take your dog for a walk, remember to “poop and scoop”. This will help prevent harmful bacteria from polluting our stormwater and our lakes.

Renovations, Repairs, and Landscaping

  • If you are planning any repairs, renovations, or landscaping, consult your municipal inspector to ensure that your plans comply with local and regional regulations. This is particularly important for any work done in or around the shoreline (eg: dock or boathouse repairs) as there are very stringent rules governing such activity. To review the MRC's regulations, please click here.

Be Part of the Solution

  • If you notice any landscaping, renovations, etc being done on or near the shoreline that is not covered by a work permit, bring it to the attention of the municipality and/or the MRC. One way to do this is to use the complaint form found on our website.


1 Several of the tips offered in this article originally appeared in “On the Living Edge: Your handbook for Waterfront Living” by Sarah Kipp and Clive Calloway as part of the Living by the Water project (

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