• Chris Blumhagen v. Environmental Health Officer

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    Decision Date: June 15, 1998

    Panel: Bob Radloff

    Keywords: Sewage Disposal Regulation-ss. 3.01(1), (7), ; Schedule 3, 9, 14; Code of Good Practice; fettering; Land Title Act.-s. 219; Policy for On-Site Sewage Disposal.

    This was an appeal against the decision of the EHO refusing to issue a permit for a sewage disposal system consisting of a package treatment plant, chlorination/dechlorination unit and a raised mound field in Langley, B.C. The EHO rejected the system because it did not meet current Boundary Health Unit guidelines for non-conforming lots, i.e., the field was not 30.5 metres from the boundary line. Further, the lot was very wet and ponding occurred at various locations near the proposed absorption field. In addition, the EHO stated that the interceptor ditches adjacent to the field were too close to the field and represented a potential breakout location. The EHO suggested that effluent might reach local wells through these ditches and that the ditches were connected to another ditch, which ultimately flowed to the fish-bearing Nicomekl River. Therefore, chlorinated effluent might be discharged into this river.

    The Board found that, if an ozonator was used instead of the chlorinator, there would be no negative impact on fish, the ditch, or the Nicomekl River. In addition, the Board concluded that it was unlikely that the disposal field would reach local wells, especially because the field location met setback requirements in the Sewage Disposal Regulation. In addition, the Panel found that the Boundary Health Unit’s 30.5 m setback from property lines was not justified or supported by scientific study and that the guideline was applied inflexibly and unreasonably in the circumstances of the case. The Board also found that the sewage effluent would be attenuated before it reached breakout points and left the property. The Board issued the Permit, subject to the conditions that an ozonator be used, that the Appellant comply with specified maintenance reporting requirements, and that a professional engineer certify that the proposed treatment levels would be achieved. The Board indicated that the EHO could require the reporting requirement to be placed in a covenant registerable under the Land Title Act. The appeal was upheld.