• Eric Rose v. Environmental Health Officer

    Decision Date:
    File Numbers:
    Decision Numbers:
    Third Party:
    Jim Carmichael, Third Party


    Decision Date: February 3, 1998

    Panel: Harry Higgins

    Keywords: Sewage Disposal Regulation – s. 3(1), (3), Schedule 2 – s. 19(c); sewage system alterations; seepage bed; health hazard emergency; constructing a sewage disposal system without a permit; verbal permission from an Environmental Health Officer; quality of life; bias.

    Mr. Rose, a resident at a mobile home site in a motel and mobile home park property in Keremeos, B.C., appealed the Environmental Health Officer’s decision to issue a Sewage Disposal Permit to alter an existing septic system on the property. Due to the urgent nature of the health hazard, verbal permission was given by a representative of the Health Unit to build the new alternate disposal system before the permit was issued. The construction of the new “seepage bed” system involved digging up the Appellant’s lawn area and removing a number of trees and shrubs from the area around the Appellant’s home. The Appellant had concerns about health hazards due to sewage drainage fields running under the access road and under his alleged parking area, and felt that these concerns were ignored by the Respondent in making a decision that contravened parts of the Regulation, impacted on the Appellant’s quality of life, and showed bias against the Appellant.

    The Panel found that, in an emergency involving a health hazard, it may be necessary for a remedy to be sought immediately, with the issuance of a permit to be obtained as soon as possible thereafter. The Panel was satisfied that the Respondent’s office carried out its duties in an appropriate manner. Based on the evidence, it was found that the location of the seepage bed did not present an unreasonable risk of a health hazard occurring. The Appellant’s concerns about the location, contrary to the Regulation, of the seepage bed under an access road and under an area used or intended for the parking of motor vehicles were also dismissed upon examination of the facts of the case. The issues of quality of life relating to aesthetic values and access to the entrance of the Appellant’s home were found to be beyond the jurisdiction of the Board. Finally, on the issue of bias on the part of the Respondent, the Panel found that the decisions relating to the removal of plants and to access to the Appellant’s home were up to the owner of the property. The Respondent’s suggestions were found to be in keeping with his duty to prevent health hazards and were not evidence of discrimination. The Panel dismissed the appeal.