Keywords: Treated sewage effluent; spray irrigation; forested lot; sloping terrain; proximity to surface water; risk of contamination
This was an appeal by Glenwood Beach Properties Ltd. and Charles S. Dunkley (“the Appellants”) against the decision of the Deputy Director amending a Waste Permit issued by the Regional Manager to Wild Rose. The Permit allowed Wild Rose to dispose of treated sewage effluent by spray irrigation over a forested lot (“the Site”) located about 300 metres away from the shoreline of Shuswap Lake, B.C.
The appeal to the Board was based on the grounds that the irrigation spray technology had never been used on moderately or steeply sloping forested terrain within the interior wet belt of B.C. and that it was therefore considered to be highly experimental. The Appellants also submitted that there was a risk of contamination because of the proximity of the Site to Shuswap Lake, because the Site was not capable of accepting the effluent load, and because the Permit conditions were inadequate to safeguard the environment.
The Board found that the monitoring provisions were inadequate and that the level of testing recommended by the Deputy Director be included in any future permits. The Board also found that the provisions in the Permit with respect to the project’s proposed effluent storage lagoon were inadequate because the runoff and seepage had the potential to greatly increase the wastewater volume applied to the Site and to affect the stability of the lagoon structure.
The Board also found that additional study of the groundwater table was needed to assure the acceptability of the 30-metre buffer zone between spray areas and surface water on the Site. Finally, the Board held that standby areas for spray irrigation should be acquired or designated as a precautionary measure in the event of problems with the irrigation system, and that pilot testing should be undertaken to determine the extent of land required.
The Board held that the treatment and disposal scheme was a high-risk venture and that the provisions of the Permit were inadequate. The Board rescinded the Permit and noted that if Wild Rose were to decide to pursue a new permit, it should not do so until all information requested by the Regional Manager and the Deputy Director was available. The appeal was allowed.