News And Events

National Onsite Wastewater Design and Installation Standard Published

Canada Standards Association (CSA) has now published the first national onsite design and installation code in Canada. The code is the culmination of seven years of effort by over 20 onsite experts from every province and territory in the country. The standard was developed for use by onsite wastewater technicians and professionals and to offer a baseline standard for provincial and federal agencies to develop consistent regulatory frameworks and supporting the Agreement of Internal Trade.

The CSA B-25 12 standard may now be used by ROWP’s and Professionals in BC as “Standard Practice” in accordance with the Sewerage System Regulation. The CSA-B65 standard provides design criteria for daily design flow rates, hydraulic loading rates and linear loading rates that support proper design and installation of onsite wastewater system that will protect public health and the environment. The standard provides methodology that will be easily recognizable to AP’s in BC and can be used as an alternative to the Sewerage System Standard Practice Manual when filing documentation with the health authority.

BCOSSA would like to recognize the support and effort of Tim Wilson ROWP Langley, Frank Hay ROWP Langley and John Rowse B.A.A.C.P.H.I(C) , MA for their participation in developing the CSA-B65 Standard.

Health Authorities to Review and Approve Filings

The Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport has recently released changes to the Sewerage System Regulation that will affect the industry significantly and the way an authorized person will interact with the health authorities. Additionally, the regulation changes include a prescribed standard for “well” setbacks, defines a new category of professional and allows for home owners to install their own systems.

The changes state:

Health Authorities that accept filings and maintenance plans must ensure the proposal will not create a health hazard
Home owners may install their own systems
Septic tanks, Type 2 and 3 systems must be 30 meters from a well supplying domestic water
Practitioner education becomes the responsibility of ASTTBC
The following is a description of the changes and potential effects:

Section 1 The definition of “construct” now allows for all authorized persons to provide supervision to anyone for the purposes of planning, conduct site assessments, install, repair or alter a sewerage system or in the case of maintenance, supervise the maintenance of the system.

This change provides an Authorized Person the power to supervise anyone to do any work outlined within the Sewerage System Regulation. However, the Authorized Person must submit the filing documentation, Letter of Certification and supervise the quality of the work performed

A new section has been added to the regulation, section 2.1 “Prescribed health hazards and regulated activities” that replaces the definition of health hazard but more importantly outlines the responsibilities of health officers (environmental health officers) with regard to proactive assessment.

The section states that a prescribed “health hazard” occurs where the proposed construction or maintenance of a system will, in the opinion of the health offices, cause a health hazard. The wording in the section outlines the necessity of the health officer to review the proposal, which in the case of the Sewerage System Regulation is the file documents and maintenance plan, to ensure the system will not create a health hazard when it is constructed and throughout the maintenance of the system.

The new section 2.1 in combination with section 11 which defines the health officer’s power to make orders and carry out inspections in accordance with the Public Health act, provide the basis for a similar process as was in place prior to the advent of the Sewerage System Regulation. Based on this it would be advisable for all Authorized Persons to contact their health authority office to ensure that proper procedures are followed.

A new section 3.1 has been added to the regulation, section 3.1 “Setback from wells” is a prescriptive section that replaces the setbacks to wells outlined in the Sewerage System Standard Practice Manual (SPM) . Section 3.1 requires Sewerage Systems be located greater than 30 meters (100 ft) from a well that supplies domestic water. This section does not separate the distribution area from the treatment unit (septic tank, type 2 ) which makes the prescribed standard more restrictive than any other similar standard in Canada or North America. It is also worth noting that the setbacks to other sources of domestic water remain within the SPM.

Section 3.1 does provide a mechanism to site systems closer to domestic wells, to move a system to less than 30 meters from a well if a “Professional competent in the area of hydrogeology” provides advice that the system would likely not cause a health hazard as a result of the reduced setback. The section is unclear as to whose responsibility it is to obtain the advice but it must be submitted to the health authority. Authorized persons seeking to obtain the services of hydrogeology professional may wish to contact the BC Ground Water Association at

Section 6 has been amended to allow for home owners to construct or maintain a sewerage system on their own land as long as the owner is supervised by an Authorized Person. This is consistent with and clarifies section 1 which allows supervision of anyone to do work under the regulation. The Authorized Person remains responsible for the submission of filing documents, maintenance plans and letters of certification.

Section 7 of the regulation has been amended to ensure all training occurring through an institution based in BC is recognized by the Applied Science Technicians and Technologists of BC replacing BCOSSA in this role.

These regulatory amendments came into effect June 25th, 2010, Authorized Persons should contact their local health authority regarding the status of ongoing file documentation and to ensure they receive a written assurance that their file proposal is acceptable before proceeding to construct or maintain.

Q & A from the Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport

We have asked the Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport for clarification of these setbacks and the questions and replies from
Rupert Benzon are as follows:

Question 1: What is the setback to watertight treatment tanks (15m or 30m)?

Answer: 15m setback distance to holding tanks, and 30m setback to septic tanks.

Question 2. What is the setback to collection and delivery piping?

Answer: If you are referring to the solid pipe which runs from the septic tank to the distribution box, as well as the pipe from the

structure (house) to the septic tank, there is no minimum setback required.

Question 3. For an existing filing what is to be done where?

a. The filing has setback reductions but these have been made by a professional who is not a hydrogeologist.
Answer: Please note that in the SSR, the definition of 'construct' includes the planning of a sewerage system. Therefore, construction of the system can be considered to have commenced at the planning stage (i.e. when the filing for the system has been submitted) and the recent amendments to the SSR would not apply in these cases.

b. The filing has tanks within 30 m of a well.
Answer: The same holds true for septic tanks within 30 m.

Question 4. What is to be done in repair situations where a system was constructed under the SSR and does not meet this new standard (for example, where there was a setback reduction by a non hydrogeologist)? Note that the repair might be to a part of the system not within the setback.
Answer: Repairs which are being implemented on systems which have already been constructed under the SSR , do not have to meet the new setback standard (i.e. if the existing system was built with setback reductions).


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