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On-site Sewage Disposal Systems Regulations

made under Sections 66 and 110 and subsection 122A(3) of the

Environment Act

S.N.S. 1994-95, c. 1

O.I.C. 2015-292 (September 8, 2015, effective May 1, 2016), N.S. Reg. 317/2015


Table of Contents

Please note: this table of contents is provided for convenience of reference and does not form part of the regulations.
Click here to go to the text of the regulations.


Citation

Definitions


System Installations and Maintenance

Selection and design of systems

Installing a system

Covering a system

Certificate of installation

Maintaining a system

Malfunctions and releases to the environment

Directives


Certifications

Eligibility requirements for certificates of qualification

Applying for certificate of qualification

Compliance with terms and conditions

Certificate of qualification in possession

Certification expiry and renewal

Written notice of changes to identifying information

Certification reinstatement


Permitted Activities

Qualified person

Installers

Septic tank cleaners


Subdivision

Application of these regulations to lots being subdivided

Subdivision review process

Minimum lot requirements for lots being subdivided


Citation

1     These regulations may be cited as the On-site Sewage Disposal Systems Regulations.


Definitions

2     In these regulations, the following definitions apply:

 

“Act” means the Environment Act;

 

Activities Designation Regulations” means the Activities Designation Regulations made under the Act;

 

Approval and Notification Procedure Regulations” means the Approval and Notification Procedure Regulations made under the Act;

 

“certificate of installation” means documentation in a form acceptable to the Minister verifying that a system was installed as required by these regulations and the Standard;

 

“certified person” means a qualified person, an installer or a septic tank cleaner;

 

“development officer” means a development officer as defined in the Municipal Government Act and appointed by a council to approve subdivisions;

 

“disposal field” means the part of a system that treats sewage and distributes treated sewage into the soil;

 

“fee” means a fee established by the Minister in the Fees Regulations made under clause 8A(1)(a) of the Act;

 

“holding tank” means a system that consists of a closed watertight receptacle that does not discharge effluent, but is designed and used to receive and store sewage before it is collected by a septic tank cleaner;

 

“installer” means a person who holds a current certificate of qualification as an installer;

 

“instrument of subdivision” means an instrument of subdivision under the Municipal Government Act;

 

“lot width” means the minimum width of a lot measured through the centre of the proposed or existing disposal field to the boundaries of the lot;

 

“pit privy” means a pit where human solid waste is stored and from which liquid waste is emitted into the soil, and includes the structure that sits over the pit;

 

“portable rest room” means a mobile receptacle used for the temporary storage of sewage;

 

“professional engineer” means a person who holds a certificate of registration or licence to practise under the Engineering Profession Act;

 

“qualified person” means a person who holds a current certificate of qualification as a qualified person;

 

“septic tank” means a watertight, covered receptacle designed and constructed to treat sewage before it is discharged to a disposal field or discharged for further treatment;

 

“septic tank cleaner” means a person who holds a current certificate of qualification as a septic tank cleaner;

 

“sewage” means any wastewater or human waste;

 

“soil assessment” means a procedure outlined in the Standard that uses a test pit to evaluate factors that affect the subsurface distribution and treatment of septic tank effluent;

 

“Standard” means the On-site Sewage Disposal Systems Standard published by the Minister;

 

“subdivider” means the registered owner of an area of land proposed to be subdivided and includes anyone acting with the registered owner’s consent;

  

[Note: Duplicate definition of "subdivider" omitted from text for the purposes of this consolidation.]

 

“subdivision” means a subdivision as defined in the Municipal Government Act;

 

“surface watercourse” means a watercourse as defined in the Act, excluding groundwater;

 

“system” means, except where the context requires otherwise, any on-site mechanism or part of an on-site mechanism for the treatment and disposal of sewage that is not directly connected to an approved central wastewater collection and treatment system;

 

“vault privy” means a closed watertight receptacle that stores human solid waste and is required to be pumped out regularly, and includes the structure that sits over the receptacle.


System Installations and Maintenance


Selection and design of systems

3     (1)    A system must be selected from the Standard or designed.

 

       (2)    A person must be a professional engineer or a qualified person to select a system from the Standard.

 

       (3)    A person must be a professional engineer to design a system.


Installing a system

4     (1)    A qualified person or professional engineer must inform the Department at least 24 hours before a system is installed.

 

       (2)    An installer must construct a system in accordance with these regulations, the Standard, and the notification given or approval granted for that system.

 

       (3)    If a change in conditions occurs before or during the installation of a system and the change may have an impact on the suitability of the selection or design of the system, the installer must immediately inform the qualified person or professional engineer who selected or designed the system of the change.

 

       (4)    A qualified person or professional engineer who is notified of a change in conditions must consider the change and determine whether an approval or notification is required under Section 3 of the Activities Designation Regulations with respect to the change.


Covering a system

5     (1)    An installer must not cover a system without the permission of the qualified person or professional engineer who selected or designed the system.

 

       (2)    A qualified person or professional engineer who refuses to grant permission to cover a system must, no later than 15 days after the date of the refusal, send a written report to the Minister explaining why permission to cover the system was refused.


Certificate of installation

6     (1)    A person who selects or designs a system must issue a certificate of installation when the installation is finished.

 

       (2)    If the person who selected or designed a system has not maintained their qualification or is dead, ill or otherwise unavailable to issue a certificate of installation for the system, another person who holds [a] current qualification to select or design that system may issue the certificate of installation.

 

       (3)    A person who issues a certificate of installation must, no later than 15 days after completion of the system, send a copy of the certificate of installation to each of the following:

 

                (a)    the Minister;

 

                (b)    the local building official appointed under the Building Code Act;

 

                (c)    the owner of the lot.


Maintaining a system

7     The owner of a lot must ensure the proper functioning and maintenance of their system.


Malfunctions and releases to the environment

8     (1)    An owner of a lot must advise the Department no later than 15 days after the date the owner becomes aware of any of the following occurrences:

 

                (a)    a malfunction of a system on the lot that has resulted in a release of untreated or partially treated sewage;

 

                (b)    a release of untreated sewage to the environment on or from the lot.

 

       (2)    A person who is installing a system to replace a malfunctioning system or to remedy a release of untreated sewage to the environment must complete the work no more than 45 days after the date that the notification for the activity was submitted under the Approval and Notification Procedure Regulations, unless a written extension is granted by the Minister.


Directives

9     (1)    The following are prescribed for the purposes of clause 122A(1)(e) of the Act as circumstances in which an inspector may issue a directive to a person:

 

                (a)    the person has installed a system or caused a system to be installed without obtaining an approval or providing notification as required by the Activities Designation Regulations;

 

                (b)    the person has not complied with the Standard in installing a system or causing a system to be installed.

 

       (2)    The following are prescribed for the purposes of clause 122A(1)(e) of the Act as actions that an inspector may require in a directive:

 

                (a)    in a directive issued to a person described in clause (1)(a), that the person, at the person’s expense, do any of the following:

 

                         (i)     uncover the system for inspection,

 

                         (ii)    remove the system,

 

                         (iii)   modify the system,

 

                         (iv)   obtain a system assessment;

 

                (b)    in a directive issued to a person described in clause (1)(b), that the person comply with the Standard at the person’s expense.


Certifications


Eligibility requirements for certificates of qualification

10   (1)    To be eligible for a certificate of qualification as a qualified person, a person must do all of the following:

 

                (a)    complete 1000 hours of work experience in the on-site sewage industry, including the installation of at least 6 systems;

 

                (b)    successfully complete the Installers Course of Instruction as established or adopted by the Minister;

 

                (c)    successfully complete the Qualified Persons Course of Instruction as established or adopted by the Minister.

 

       (2)    To be eligible for a certificate of qualification as an installer, a person must do all of the following:

 

                (a)    complete 1000 hours of work experience in the on-site sewage industry, including the installation of at least 6 systems;

 

                (b)    successfully complete the Installers Course of Instruction as established or adopted by the Minister.

 

       (3)    To be eligible for a certificate of qualification as a septic tank cleaner, a person must successfully complete the Septic Tank Cleaners Course of Instruction as established or adopted by the Minister.


Applying for certificate of qualification

11   An application for a certificate of qualification must be made on a form approved by the Minister and must be accompanied by all of the following:

 

                (a)    the certification fee;

 

                (b)    proof that the applicant has current insurance coverage as follows:

 

                         (i)     for certification as a qualified person, professional liability insurance,

 

                         (ii)    for certification as an installer or a septic tank cleaner, general contractors’ liability insurance;

 

                (c)    for certification as a septic tank cleaner, proof that the applicant has access to an approved septage disposal site.


Compliance with terms and conditions

12   A certified person must comply with the terms and conditions of any certificate of qualification issued to them.


Certificate of qualification in possession

13   (1)    A certified person must carry their current certificate of qualification at all times while performing the services authorized by the certificate.

 

       (2)    When requested by an inspector, a certified person must present their current certificate of qualification while performing the services authorized by the certificate.


Certification expiry and renewal

14   (1)    A certificate of qualification expires on the last day of the continuing education program referred to in subsection (2) that was in progress on the date the certificate was issued.

 

       (2)    To be eligible for renewal of their certificate of qualification, a certified person must have, in the time since their certificate of qualification was initially issued or most recently renewed,

 

                (a)    successfully participated in a continuing education program established or approved by the Minister for that class of certification; or

 

                (b)    successfully completed the course or courses of instruction required by Section 10 for their class of certification.

 

       (3)    An application for renewal of a certificate of qualification must be made on a form approved by the Minister and must be accompanied by the things required by Section 11 and proof that the applicant meets the requirements of subsection (2).

 

       (4)    On receipt of a completed application for renewal of a certificate of qualification, the Minister or the authorized representative of a designated organization may renew the certificate.


Written notice of changes to identifying information

15   A certified person must notify the Minister and the authorized representative of a designated organization in writing of any change to their address or to any other identifying information provided with their application for their certificate of qualification or renewal of their certificate of qualification no later than 14 days after the date of the change.


Certification reinstatement

16   The Minister may reinstate a certificate of qualification that has been suspended on any terms and conditions that the Minister considers appropriate.


Permitted Activities


Qualified person

17   (1)    A person other than a qualified person must not advertise or claim to be a qualified person.

 

       (2)    A person who is assisting a qualified person is not required to be a qualified person.


Installers

18   (1)    A person other than an installer must not do any of the following:

 

                (a)    advertise or claim to be an installer;

 

                (b)    install or modify a system;

 

                (c)    cause a system to be installed or modified.

 

       (2)    A person is not required to be an installer to do any of the following:

 

                (a)    assist an installer under the direct supervision of the installer;

 

                (b)    install or construct a pit privy.


Septic tank cleaners

19   (1)    A person other than a septic tank cleaner must not do any of the following:

 

                (a)    advertise or claim to be a septic tank cleaner;

 

                (b)    pump, repair or modify a septic tank, holding tank or vault privy or cause a septic tank, holding tank or vault privy to be pumped, repaired or modified;

 

                (c)    pump portable rest rooms or cause portable rest rooms to be pumped;

 

                (d)    clean a system using pressurized water or air.

 

       (2)    A person who is assisting a septic tank cleaner under the direct supervision of the septic tank cleaner is not required to be a septic tank cleaner.


Subdivision


Application of these regulations to lots being subdivided

20   These regulations apply to any lot that is shown on a plan or instrument of subdivision that must be submitted to a development officer for approval by a municipality and is in an area that is not serviced by an approved central wastewater collection and treatment system, except for a lot that is

 

                (a)    larger than 9000 m2 in area and 76 m or more in lot width; and

 

                (b)    identified on an application for subdivision as not intended for development purposes.


Subdivision review process

21   (1)    A subdivider who proposes to put a system on their lot must prepare and submit documentation that includes all of the following information to the Department and to a development officer as part of the application process under the Municipal Government Act:

 

                (a)    the name, address, including civic number, and telephone number of the owner of the lot to be subdivided;

 

                (b)    the name, address, including civic number, and telephone number of the subdivider;

 

                (c)    the name and address, including civic number, of each owner of land abutting the lot to be subdivided;

 

                (d)    for a subdivider who is not the owner of the lot, proof from the owner that the subdivider is appointed as the agent of the owner to make the application;

 

                (e)    a plan or sketch of the lot to be subdivided showing all of the following:

 

                         (i)     the dimensions and area of the lot,

 

                         (ii)    the lot layout, including all of the following, whether proposed or existing:

 

                                  (A)   buildings,

 

                                  (B)   systems,

 

                                  (C)   driveways,

 

                                  (D)   water wells,

 

                         (iii)   the location on the lot and adjoining lots of all the following:

 

                                  (A)   surface watercourses,

 

                                  (B)   wetlands,

 

                                  (C)   marine water bodies,

 

                                  (D)   any features that may influence the selection or design of the system, including any ditches, roads or easements,

 

                         (iv)   the surface slopes and directions,

 

                         (v)    the location of any test pits;

 

                (f)    an explanation of all of the following:

 

                         (i)     the extent to which the system will be used,

 

                         (ii)    the expected volume for the system,

 

                         (iii)   what uses the system will be subjected to.

 

       (2)    In addition to the information provided under subsection (1), a subdivider must provide the Department with an assessment report prepared by a qualified person or a professional engineer that assesses the lot’s suitability to support a system and includes all of the following:

 

                (a)    an evaluation of the results of a soil assessment;

 

                (b)    the proposed system selected or designed for the lot;

 

                (c)    any information required by the Department.

 

       (3)    The Department may review and audit the information provided under subsections (1) and (2) and may conduct any inspections considered necessary to verify the information, including inspecting any test pit on the proposed lot, and may request additional test pits.

 

       (4)    If requested by a development officer, the Department must send a written response to the development officer, and copy it to the subdivider, respecting the assessment report on the suitability of the lot being subdivided to support a system and indicating 1 of the following:

 

                (a)    that the information provided by the subdivider is insufficient to allow the Department to determine whether the lot is suitable for the proposed system and that the subdivider must provide additional information;

 

                (b)    that the lot is suitable for the proposed system and specifying any terms and conditions that must be met;

 

                (c)    that the lot is not suitable for the proposed system and specifying the reasons for this determination.

 

       (5)    A written response made by the Department under subsection (4) is deemed to be based on the physical conditions of the lot being subdivided and the abutting properties at the time of the assessment report, and any change in the conditions since the time of the assessment report may nullify any determination by the Department that the lot is suitable.


Minimum lot requirements for lots being subdivided

22   (1)    Except as provided in subsections (3) and (5), a lot that is being subdivided on which a subdivider proposes to install or construct a system that has a maximum daily flow of up to 1500 L per day must meet the minimum lot size requirements set out in the following table:


Minimum Lot Size Requirements

Depth of Permeable Soil (mm)

Lot Area (m2)

Lot Width (m)

0–149

9000

76

150–299

6800

60

300–600

4500

53

601–899

3150

37

900 and deeper

2700

37

 

       (2)    Except as provided in subsections (3) and (5), a lot that is being subdivided that is a waterfront lot with permeable soil deeper than 600 mm and on which a subdivider proposes to install or construct a system that has a maximum daily flow of up to 1500 L per day must be at least 3700 m2 in area and have a lot width of at least 45 m.

 

       (3)    To prevent an adverse effect, the Department may require a lot that is being subdivided on which a subdivider proposes to install or construct a system that has a maximum daily flow of greater than 1500 L per day to meet lot areas and widths larger than the minimum size requirements set in this Section.

 

       (4)    For a lot that is being subdivided on which a subdivider proposes to install or construct a system, the following minimum requirements must be met:

 

                (a)    the lot must have enough soils of the type, permeability, depth and area to support the proposed system on the lot;

 

                (b)    the system must meet the clearance distances required by the Standard.

 

       (5)    The minimum lot size requirements in subsections (1) and (2) do not apply to a lot that a subdivider plans to create by consolidating 2 or more parcels of land in accordance with the Municipal Government Act.