The Ontario Onsite Wastewater Association (OOWA) has received a response from a joint submission with the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations (FOCA) to the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario.

OOWA released the following statement upon receipt of a response from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change regarding their February submission:

This joint submission requested that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs review the efficacy of the provisions in the Building Code that deal with Maintenance and Management of onsite sewage systems (Reg 332/12, Building Code, Division B, Part 8, Section 8.9 -Operation and Maintenance).  In addition, the submission also requests that the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change consider the need for new provisions and/or Regulation under the Ontario Water Resources Act to govern the operation and maintenance of onsite septic systems.

Outcome Summary

Under conditions set out by the Environmental Bill of Rights, each Ministry had 60 days to respond to our request. Despite significant data and a detailed analysis of the shortcomings in the current regime, neither Ministry acknowledged or commented on any of the information provided in our case in their responses. Instead, both Ministries affirmed that the status quo is adequate in protecting the public. The MOECC cited activities that protect municipal sources of drinking water and suggested that rural residents are sufficiently protected by a provision under the Building Code that allows municipalities to deliver reinspection programs at their own discretion. The MMA argued that a recent technical review of Part 8 of the Building Code and a political decision not to make tank pump outs mandatory were factors contributing to current regulatory efficacy.

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OOWA and FOCA are currently preparing responses to both Ministries challenging their perspectives and their lack of consideration for our supporting data that was generously provided by WSP and ESSE Canada. OOWA and FOCA will continue to advance the discussion for improved record keeping of all systems in Ontario and will push for regulatory triggers requiring ongoing maintenance and management. Please read the responses by the MOECC and MMA below. You can read our full Request for Review to the Environmental Commissioner here.

Ministry of Municipal Affairs response letter.

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change response letter.

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