• Kenneth Goeres and Marlene Goeres v. Deputy Director of Waste Management

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    Decision Date: December 13, 1996

    Panel: Judith Lee, Bob Radloff, Christine Mayall

    Keywords: Waste Management Act – ss. 8; 11; Pollution Control Objectives for Municipal Type Waste Discharges in British Columbia, 1975; Pollution Control Guidelines for Municipal Effluent Application to Land, 1983; impermeable layer; proximity to domestic water wells; purpose of the Waste Management Act

    This is an appeal against a decision of the Deputy Director of Waste Management denying Mr. and Mrs. Goeres (the “Appellants”) a waste management permit. The Appellants appealed on the grounds that their proposed sewage disposal system meets or could be equipped to meet the standards established in the Ministry’s Policy Objectives and Guidelines. In the alternative, the Appellants submitted that, even if the system did not satisfy the requirements of the Objectives and Guidelines, there was sufficient technical data supplied to show the system would adequately protect the environment, and a permit should be issued.

    The Board found that the Appellant’s system did not meet the criteria set out in the Objectives and Guidelines. In particular, the Board accepted the evidence of the Deputy Director that the system could not meet the minimum vertical separation to the water table, and the minimum distance to breakout points. The Board also found that the proximity of the proposed disposal field to community water wells could result in the effluent contaminating the water supply due to an uneven till layer beneath the disposal fields. It further found that the proposed reserve disposal system was not an adequate solution if the proposed system failed.

    The Board held that the Regional Waste Manager has a discretion to issue a permit when a proposed system does not meet the Objectives and Guidelines, provided that the technical data shows the system does not pose an unacceptable risk to the environment. However, due to the multitude of problems with the site, the Board was not satisfied that the Appellants’ system ensured that the environment would be adequately protected. The appeal was dismissed.