• Rodney Lidstone v. Environmental Health Officer

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    Decision Date: October 28, 1997

    Panel: Toby Vigod

    Keywords: Sewage Disposal Regulation – s. 7(2); Mountain Pacific Investments v. EHO (Appeal No. 94/41); Innovative Designs and Technologies Policy; meaning of “in need of repair”; alteration; package treatment plant; diversion of surface water.

    Mr. Lidstone appealed a decision of the Environmental Health Officer (“EHO”) refusing to issue a permit for a “repair” to an on-site sewage disposal system servicing a one-bedroom house on Shawnigan Lake. Mr. Lidstone argued that the disposal system application was for a “repair” to a pre-1985 system, and as such, the EHO could relax some of the regulatory standards as long as the proposed system did not constitute a health hazard. Mr. Lidstone’s argued that the proposed system had sufficient safeguards to protect public health when the following factors were considered: the addition of extra fill on the lot, the average high water marks, and the high quality effluent produced by the proposed low rate sand filter.

    The Panel found that the proposed sewage disposal system constituted a “repair”, since it was not a change in the type of system, but a replacement of a water-based system. However, the Panel found that the proposed system could constitute a health hazard. The Panel stated that, even with the extra fill on the lot, the lake could at times completely cover the location of the proposed pump/septic tanks and sand filter. One malfunction of the septic/pump tanks or sand filter could result in sewage being directly introduced into Shawnigan Lake, which is a source of domestic water. The Panel also found that the disposal field’s inadequate setbacks from the lake, and high ground water levels related to the lake, could prevent the disposal field from treating effluent safely and properly. The Panel upheld the EHO’s decision and dismissed the appeal.