• Frank and Maureen Huber v. Environmental Health Officer

    Decision Date:
    File Numbers:
    Decision Numbers:
    Third Party:
    Margaret Cabral, Permit Holder


    Decision Date: November 28, 2000

    Panel: Alan Andison

    Keywords: Sewage Disposal Regulation – ss. 3(3), 7(2); sewage disposal system permit.

    Frank and Maureen Huber appealed a decision of the Environmental Health Officer (the “EHO”) to issue a permit for an on-site sewage disposal system to serve a new four-bedroom home on a 10-acre lot in Surrey (the “Property”). The permitted system incorporated an existing mounded disposal field that served a previous home on the Property and, as such, the permit was issued as a “repair or alteration” under section 7(2) of the Regulation. The Hubers, who reside on an adjacent lot, were concerned that the sewage disposal system was improperly permitted as a “repair,” as opposed to a new construction. The Hubers also claimed that the permitted system was not properly designed to protect the public health on the basis that: the effluent may not be sufficiently attenuated due to the presence of a high water table during the wet months; the type of drain rock used was inadequate; the disposal mound is located too close to the property line; and the drainfield trenches are spaced too close together. The Hubers sought an order rescinding the permit.

    The Board found that the sewage disposal system could be permitted under the repair or alteration provision in section 7(2) or, alternatively, under the general permitting provision in section 3(3). In either case, the Board noted that the primary issue was whether the EHO properly exercised her discretion in deciding that the sewage disposal system does not constitute a health hazard.

    The Board was satisfied that the permitted system would not constitute a health hazard. In particular, the Board accepted that the water table would not rise to within 18 inches of the ground surface, and that the system’s biofilter would significantly reduce the amount of waste that must be attenuated through the soil. The Board also found that there were adequate safeguards in place to prevent any contaminated water from reaching the Hubers’ property. The Board noted that the Hubers had provided little evidence to support their assertions, in contrast to the substantial amount of evidence provided by the EHO to indicate that the proposed system would adequately protect the public health. Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.