• Gil Nicholls v. Environmental Health Officer

    Decision Date:
    File Numbers:
    Decision Numbers:
    Third Party:
    Sharron and Brian Miller, Permit Holders


    Decision Date: April 1, 1999

    Panel: Toby Vigod, Dr. Robert Cameron, Carol Quin

    Keywords: Sewage Disposal Regulation – ss. 3(1), 3(4)(b), 7(1), Schedule 1 – s. 1(b), Schedule 2 – ss. 18(d), 23; On-Site Sewage Disposal Policy – s. 4.3; permit transferability; horizontal measurement to wells; site plans; chamber systems.

    This was an appeal of a decision of the Environmental Health Officer to issue a permit to the appellant’s neighbours, the Permit Holders, allowing them to construct a sewage disposal system on their property for a single family home. The appellant alleged that the permit had been transferred, that there was insufficient distance between the absorption field and the Permit Holders’ well, that there was a need to pre-soak test holes prior to percolation testing, and that the soil was not suitable for safe sewage disposal. He also submitted that that the absorption field was improperly constructed and that there was a likelihood of effluent breakout. He sought an order that the permit be rescinded.

    The Panel found that the permit had not been transferred, and that the horizontal distance between the absorption field and the well casing on the property was greater than the required 30.5 metres. The Panel also found that the percolation test holes on the property did not require pre-soaking, as the soil did not contain considerable amounts of silt or clay. The Panel concluded that the soils in the absorption field were properly tested and suitable for the proposed system.

    The Panel found that the permit required that a final system plan be submitted to the Environmental Health Officer and that this would correct inaccuracies in the site plan submitted with the permit application. The Panel recommended that the Capital Health Region consider requiring that site plans submitted with sewage disposal permit applications be done to scale.

    On the issue of effluent breakout, the Panel found that the system would not create a threat to public health, and that the permit requirement to obtain authorization before back-filling was a sufficient safeguard to ensure that the permit stipulations of shallow, flat and level trenches would be met. The Panel also found that the design and large storage capacity of the system would ensure a high quality of effluent and that this would provide a further safeguard for public health. The appeal was dismissed.