• Gina and Armin Maerkl v. Environmental Health Officer

    Decision Date:
    File Numbers:
    Decision Numbers:
    Third Party:
    C. Derek Hood, Third Party


    Decision Date: December 7, 2000

    Panel: Don Cummings

    Keywords: Sewage Disposal Regulation – ss. 3, 6, 7, 12, Schedule 1, Schedule 3; sewage disposal system permit; percolation rate; ground slope; distance to watercourse.

    This was an appeal by Gina and Armin Maerkl of a decision of the Environmental Health Officer (the “EHO”) to issue a permit for the construction of a sewage disposal system to serve a four-bedroom home located on Denman Island. The permitted system consisted of a conventional package treatment plant with pressure distribution to a drainfield. The Maerkls claimed that the drainfield does not meet the requirements set out in the Regulation for percolation rates, ground slope, distance to a watercourse, and depth to groundwater table. The Maerkls were also concerned that the permitted system may not protect the public health due to system failure during power outages and improper maintenance. The Maerkls sought an order rescinding the permit.

    The Board found that the percolation tests had been properly conducted, and that the test results were within the expected range for the type of soil. The Board also accepted that the ground slope at the drainfield was within the acceptable range and, even if it wasn’t, there were adequate safeguards in place. However, the Board found that the permit should be re-assessed on the basis that the permit holder had constructed a ditch, designed to change the flow of surface water drainage, after the permit was issued. In particular, the Board found that the groundwater test holes and the drainfield setbacks should be re-examined to assess the effects of the new ditch. The Board also found that the EHO should consider the impact of power failures and review the maintenance schedule of the package treatment plant. Accordingly, the appeal was allowed and the permit was rescinded.