• Robert Hill, dba Breakwater Enterprises v. Environmental Health Officer

    Decision Date:
    File Numbers:
    Decision Numbers:
    Third Party:
    Combined Forest Holdings Ltd., Third Party


    Decision Date: June 17, 2003

    Panel: Alan Andison

    Keywords: Health Act – ss. 8(4) Sewage Disposal Regulation – ss. 1 definition of “high water mark”, 3(1), 3(3), 6(a), Appendix 1 Schedule 2- ss. 1, 12, 14, 18; Waste Management Act Municipal Sewage Regulation – s.12, Schedule 4 Appendix 1; BC Policy for Onsite Sewage Disposal Policy – s. 6.3; Central Vancouver Island Health Region’s On-Site Sewage Disposal Standards for Subdivision Assessment; confining layer; setbacks; sewage disposal system permit; soil conditions

    Robert Hill (doing business as Breakwater Enterprises), Arrowsmith Watersheds Coalition Society, French Creek Residents Association, and the Regional District of Nanaimo filed separate appeals against the decision of the Environmental Health Officer (“EHO”) to issue a permit to Combined Forest Holdings Ltd. to construct a sewage disposal system. The Appellants wanted the permit rescinded. In the alternative, the Watersheds Coalition Society wanted the permit amended. All of the Appellants were concerned about potential contamination of the aquifer located under the system.

    Overall, the Board found that the proposed system would protect the aquifer and public heath. It noted that the soil beneath the proposed system had an adequate confining layer and surpassed the regulatory requirement of four feet of natural permeable soil. The Board found the trenches in the disposal field met all statutory requirements and posed no risk because of the impenetrable soil beneath the trenches. The Board found that the setbacks also met regulatory requirements with respect to distance to domestic water. The Board found that land use zoning was not relevant to a determination of whether the proposed system would affect the aquifer or public health.

    The Board also found that any inaccurate or missing information from the permit application had been clarified in the hearing.   The Board found the EHO had fulfilled his statutory duty to protect the environment and public heath by ensuring the proposed system would be built properly and would pose only a minimal risk. Finally, the Board found that further investigations at the expense of the permit holder, as the Appellants had failed to prove that the system was insufficient to protect public health.

    The Board confirmed the issuance of the permit, and dismissed the appeals. The Board also ordered that the permit be amended to be effective for one year from the date of the appeal decision.