On Friday, February 23rd, the Ontario Onsite Wastewater Association (OOWA) submitted a Request for Review to the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO) in collaboration with the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations (FOCA).

OOWA’s and FOCA’s joint submission to the ECO requests 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 requested 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.

“We are requesting that this review, including an assessment of the appropriateness of moving responsibility for oversight to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC), because we are concerned about the capacity and effectiveness of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs (MMA) in administering the operation and maintenance of onsite septic systems,” stated the submission. “Moving responsibility to MOECC would utilize its resources and expertise to ensure ongoing functional and performance verification of all wastewater treatment systems.”

It is OOWA’s position that, though the Building Code is adequate to ensure the sound design, installation, and permitting of private site sewage systems. However, OOWA contends that it does not provide the tools required to ensure the critical maintenance, ongoing management, and accurate record keeping of these systems after their final inspection.

“Onsite septic systems and decentralized wastewater treatment systems remain the best available infrastructure solution in many areas of Ontario where centralized systems are impractical due to geographic, technical, or financial circumstances,” said OOWA in the statement. “These systems have evolved well beyond the disposal systems of days gone by.”

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The full request can be read here.

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