The Sewerage System Regulation, Subdivision Regulations and Health Hazards Regulation are all relevant to governing of onsite sewage systems.

Larger wastewater systems are addressed by the Ministry of Environment through the Municipal Wastewater Regulation, under the Environmental Management Act.

Sewerage System Regulation

The Sewerage System Regulation replaced the Sewage Disposal Regulation in 2005. The new regulation is outcome-based. This is a change from the old prescriptive approach and provides greater flexibility in how sewage systems are regulated. The Sewerage System Regulation was amended in June 2010. For more information, see Sewerage System Regulation Amendments (PDF, 23KB)

The Sewerage System Regulation applies to:

  • Holding tanks
  • Sewerage systems that receive less than 22,700 litres per day of sewage and serve:
    • Single-family systems or duplexes.
    • Different buildings on a single parcel of land or on strata lots or a shared interest.

The regulation requires that:

  • Discharges do not cause or contribute to a health hazard.
  • Only authorized persons or homeowners under authorized persons’ supervision construct and/or maintain Type1 or Type 2 onsite sewage systems.
  • Authorized persons meet the training and registration requirements set by the Applied Science Technologists & Technicians of BC (ASTTBC) or Engineers & Geoscientists BC before installing and maintaining wastewater systems.
  • Authorized persons file information with the regional health authority when constructing or altering a system.
  • Authorized persons provide maintenance requirements for the system and homeowners ensure the sewerage system on their land is maintained according to those requirements.
  • Ongoing system records are kept, ensuring industry and owner accountability.

Subdivision Regulations

Subdivisions are governed under the Subdivision Regulations, pursuant to the Local Services Act.

Subdivision applications are submitted to a municipal approving officer, who considers a number of factors, including onsite sewage disposal. This is where Health Authorities and the Ministry of Health may become involved. Onsite sewerage systems require a certain amount of land area and Health authorities may provide comments on whether the site and soil conditions and proposed lot size are favourable for onsite sewage management.

Health Hazards Regulation

Section 8 of the Health Hazards Regulation requires wells to be set back at least 30 metres from possible sources of contamination (onsite septic systems should be placed an equivalent distance from any well).