SEWERAGE SYSTEM POLICY FOR SETBACK
FROM WELLS BASED ON REPAIRS OR ALTERATIONS
Section 3.1(2)(b) of the Sewerage System Regulation requires a sewerage system setback distance
(including septic tanks) of no less than 30m from wells that supply domestic water. This provision
applies to the construction of new sewerage systems and can be varied by a professional competent
in the area of hydrogeology. Systems are considered to be “new” if the filing documents relevant to
their construction were submitted to the health authority by authorized persons on or after June 25,
Note: An “authorized person” under the Sewerage System Regulation is a registered onsite
wastewater practitioner or a professional engineer, as outlined and defined in Authorized Persons
under the Sewerage System Regulation (posted on the Ministry of Health website at
Section 3.1 does not apply to systems that were legally constructed before June 25, 2010 or to
systems that had filings submitted to the health authority before June 25, 2010. This policy provides
additional detail to Sewerage System Regulation Amendments (posted on the Ministry of Health
website at http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/environment/waste-management/sewage/seweragesystem-regulation-amendments-oic476.pdf).
The policy below is intended to provide clarification regarding how Section 3.1 applies to sewerage
systems requiring repairs or alterations (as deemed necessary by authorized persons or homeowners).
This policy also addresses the requirements for septic tanks based on property redevelopment or
1) Sewerage system repairs are to be carried out in accordance with the Sewerage System
Regulation and acceptable standard practice.
2) Existing sewerage systems – installed in accordance with the legislation before June 25, 2010 –
that require repairs or alterations and maintain the original daily design flow are not required to
meet section 3.1 of the Sewerage System Regulation.
3) Existing sewerage system septic tanks – installed in accordance with legislation before June 25,
2010 – that require replacement and/or additional septic tank(s) to be installed in series are not
required to meet section 3.1 if the upgrade is to address a performance issue with the system,
while maintaining the original daily design flow. Examples of performance issues may include,
but are not limited to: leaking or overflowing tanks, clogged influent/effluent lines, or tanks that
have shifted or settled – negatively impacting effluent flow or sources of drinking water.
Performance issues are to be considered separately from situations requiring increased capacity
(daily design flow) due to new property development.
Ministry of Health 2
4) Existing sewerage systems that require replacement or additional septic tanks to increase capacity
(daily design flow) for new developments are required to meet section 3.1 of the Sewerage
System Regulation, with the exception of sewerage systems described in #5, below. Examples of
new developments that may require increased capacity include:
i. The addition of new detached structures on the property.
ii. The redevelopment of an existing property from single to multiple dwellings (duplex to
fourplex, for example).
iii. The addition of new suites or bedrooms to an existing structure.
A new filing under section 8 of the Sewerage System Regulation is required in this case.
5) Existing sewerage systems requiring replacement or additional septic tanks to increase capacity
for new developments for which “repair” filings were received and date-stamped by the health
authority before June 25, 2010 are not required to meet section 3.1.
6) Any repairs or modifications to illegally installed sewerage systems (i.e., systems that were not
installed in accordance with legislation at the time of installation) are required to comply with all
provisions of the Sewerage System Regulation, including section 3.1.