Can I Install My Own Septic System in BC?

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In British Columbia, the installation and maintenance of septic systems are subject to stringent regulations aimed at safeguarding public health and the environment. Homeowners often wonder whether they can undertake this task themselves. As experts in septic tank maintenance operating in Langley, BC, we offer legal standards and regulations guidance.

Is It Possible To Install My Own Septic System in BC?

Installing septic tank

The straightforward answer is no. In BC, homeowners cannot install their septic systems [1]. 

This restriction is due to the complex nature of these systems and the potential risks they pose to public health and the environment if not properly installed. 

The Sewerage System Regulation under the Public Health Act mandates that only “authorized persons” can design, construct, and maintain onsite sewage systems. 

These authorized persons include Registered Onsite Wastewater Practitioners (ROWP) and professional engineers.

Understanding Onsite Sewage Systems

Onsite sewage systems are essential for properties not connected to municipal or regional sewage infrastructure. 

They typically serve single-family homes, duplexes, or multiple buildings on single or shared parcels of land. 

These systems are designed to handle sewage flows of less than 22,700 liters per day. 

The systems’ proper design, installation, and maintenance are imperative to prevent environmental contamination and ensure efficient sewage treatment.

Types of Sewage Systems in BC

BC’s Sewerage System Regulation recognizes three types of sewage systems:

  1. Type 1: This system includes a basic septic tank and a dispersal field. It is the most common system for single-family homes.
  2. Type 2: These installations create effluent with a total suspended solids concentration below 45 mg/L and a biochemical oxygen demand less than 45 mg/L. They are more advanced than Type 1 systems and are often used in areas where environmental conditions demand higher treatment levels.
  3. Type 3: The most advanced, these systems produce an effluent with less than ten mg/L of total suspended solids, a biochemical oxygen demand under ten mg/L, and a fecal coliform density below 400 Colony Forming Units per 100 mL. Type 3 systems are typically used in sensitive environmental areas or where land space for dispersal fields is limited.

Registration and Qualifications of Authorized Persons

Only Registered Onsite Wastewater Practitioners (ROWP) and professional engineers are authorized to design and install septic systems in BC. 

These individuals receive specialized training and must be registered through the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC). 

This stringent qualification process ensures they have the necessary skills and knowledge to design and install systems that comply with regulatory standards and best practices.

Compliance and Legal Requirements

Authorized professionals constructing a sewage system must adhere strictly to the Sewerage System Regulation. 

This includes submitting a detailed filing, known as a “filing,” to the Health Authority, which encompasses a certification letter.

And it assures that the constructed system aligns with standard practices and meets all regulatory requirements. In addition, compliance with septic system lot size regulations must also be ensured during construction, as stipulated by local laws.

The certification must be submitted within 30 days of the system’s completion.

Importance of Professional Installation

Professionally Installing Septic Tank

The design and installation of a septic system involve a comprehensive understanding of soil science, hydrology, and public health concerns. 

Due to system failure or legal penalties, improper installation can lead to significant environmental pollution, public health hazards, and substantial financial costs. 

Professional installation ensures these risks are mitigated and the system functions effectively and safely over its lifetime.

Also learn: What Are The Rules For Grey Water In BC?

Maintenance and Cleaning of Septic Systems

After installation, it’s crucial to regularly maintain and clean septic systems for their prolonged effectiveness and proper operation. 

Septic tanks should be cleaned and inspected regularly to prevent buildup, blockages, and potential system failures. 

Regular maintenance helps identify issues early on, preventing costly repairs and environmental damage.

Environmental and Health Considerations

Septic systems can lead to significant environmental and health issues when incorrectly installed and maintained. 

Contaminants from poorly managed systems can seep into groundwater, affecting water sources and local ecosystems. 

Proper installation and maintenance are legal requirements and critical measures for environmental protection and public health safety.

In Summary

While installing a septic system alone might seem appealing or cost-effective, it is not legally permissible in BC. 

Professional installation by authorized practitioners is mandatory to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the system. 

This professional approach guarantees compliance with regulatory standards, safeguarding public health and preserving the environment.

If you’re in the Fraser Valley or Lower Mainland and require professional septic system services, including cleaning, maintenance, or advice on system installation, feel free to contact us. 

Our team of experts is equipped to provide top-tier services, ensuring your septic system operates efficiently and complies with all local regulations. 

Protect your home and the environment by calling us today for a consultation or to schedule a service. We are here to assist with all your septic system needs.

Check our service areas for septic cleaning:

Septic Tank Cleaning in Surrey
Septic Tank Cleaning in Chilliwack
Septic Tank Cleaning in Abbotsford
Septic Tank Cleaning in Maple Ridge

Reference:

  1. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/waste-management/sewage/onsite-sewage-systems/onsite-sewage-system-management

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