• Fernand and Jocelyne Houle v. Environmental Health Officer

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    Decision Date: February 10, 1997

    Panel: Carol Martin

    Keywords: Health Act – s.25, s.66; Sewage Disposal Regulation – s.3(1), s.7; Upper Fraser Valley Health Unit Policy – 1982, 1990; ‘On-Site Sewage Disposal Policy’ – chapter 6.6.

    Mr. and Mrs. Houle are appealing a decision of the Environmental Health Officer (‘EHO’) refusing to issue the Houles a permit for a sewage holding tank on their waterfront lot. The lot is less than 100 feet from the high water mark of the lake, and the soil on the lot is not adequate for a septic tank. The Houles appealed on the grounds that their property was created for residential use years ago, and if a holding tank is not permitted, the lot will be unusable as it cannot meet the requirements for a conventional or an alternate sewage disposal system. The Houles also argued that the Health Unit does allow holding tanks in certain circumstances, and there are other lots with holding tanks in the neighbourhood.

    The Board found that the EHO should have not relied on section 7 of the Sewage Disposal Regulation (the ‘Regulation’) when considering an application for a holding tank. The correct sections are subsection 3(1) of the Regulation, and section 25 of the Health Act, which specify that a sewage disposal system shall not be approved if it endangers public health. The Board found that the EHO had properly decided that a holding tank on the Houles’ lot would not adequately protect the public health. The Board found that it is not relevant to consider other holding tanks the Health Unit may have approved because each sewage disposal system has to be considered individually. The appeal was dismissed.