Sewerage System Standard Practice Manual

The Sewerage System Standard Practice Manual (SPM), Version 3 is the main reference source for B.C. wastewater practitioners responsible for planning, installing and maintaining onsite sewage systems, pursuant to the Sewerage System Regulation and Public Health Act.

The Ministry of Health has worked with independent contractors, the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC) and industry stakeholders – including registered onsite wastewater practitioners, professional engineers and regional health authority staff – to develop Version 3 of the Sewerage System Standard Practice Manual.

The Sewerage System Standard Practice Manual, Version 3 (PDF, 7.6MB) is divided into four volumes:

  • Volume I (Introduction) 
    Background information on the roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders and organizations affected by the Sewerage System Standard Practice Manual.
  • Volume II (Standards) 
    The core standards that will be applied by most authorized persons when conducting planning, installation and maintenance work.
  • Volume III (Guidelines) 
    Supporting information for the core standards in Volume II.
  • Volume IV (Rationale) 
    Further clarification, based on scientific (peer-reviewed) references, supporting the standards and design considerations of Volumes II and III.

This improved approach to organizing the manual is based on separating the core standards (Volume 2) from the “supplementary” information in the remaining volumes, which are intended to provide supporting guidance and rationale for the core standards.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and Errata
FAQs and Errata, November 2015 (PDF, 125KB) provides answers to common questions that arose during the 2014-15 roll-out workshops on the Sewerage System Standard Practice Manual, Version 3. It also includes a summary of errata (typos and link errors) in the manual.

Provincial Composting Toilet Manual
The Ministry of Health in partnership with the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC have developed the Manual of Composting Toilet and Greywater Practice (PDF, 2MB). The manual is for industry, government agencies, environmental health officers and the general public who wish to consider cost-effective, ecofriendly alternatives to conventional onsite sewerage systems within the scope of the Sewerage System Regulation.
The manual provides a comprehensive set of provisions that support the design, installation and maintenance of composting toilet-based sewerage systems, and aligns with the Sewerage System Regulation, Environmental Management Act, Municipal Wastewater Regulation, and BC Building Code. It follows a similar format to the Sewerage System Standard Practice Manual (Version 3).

Additional elements of the manual include:

  • Information on greywater systems and standards applicable to composting toilet systems.
  • A summary for environmental health officers, focusing on filing applications for composting toilet-based systems.

Onsite Sewage Jurisdictional Flow Divide Interpretation Guideline

The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Environment have developed the Onsite Sewerage Jurisdictional Flow Divide Interpretation Guideline. The guideline helps individuals to determine when an onsite sewage system application should be filed with the regional health authority (small flow systems less than 22.7 m3/day design daily flow) under the Sewerage System Regulation, or registered with the Ministry of Environment regional office under the Municipal Wastewater Regulation (large flow systems greater than or equal to 22.7m3/day design daily flow). 

Related Documents

Health Hazard Interpretation Guideline

The Ministry of Health has partnered with The Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC and the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists to produce a Health Hazard Interpretation Guideline. This guideline is intended for Authorized Persons filing sewerage system letters of certification pursuant to section 9 of the Sewerage System Regulation. 

The goal is to provide clarification and examples of health hazards that Authorized Persons would be responsible for preventing, as well as specific circumstances of health hazards that fall outside the Authorized Person’s purview.