Septic System Engineer or ROWP?


Table of Contents

Should You Hire a Septic System Engineer or ROWP?  Why One or The Other? 

So when it comes to assessing your septic system who do you call?  Do you call a septic engineer or do you call an ROWP (Registered Onsite Wastewater Practitioner)? 

The simple answer to this question is both.  To help understand the role an engineer or a ROWP plays in the process of a septic system let’s go a little bit further into detail.  

Hiring and Engineering Firm

So why would you need an engineer to design your septic system?   Well, an engineer has a broader capability to design septic systems of greater capacity such as complexes with large daily design flows, or larger commercial applications and extremely large residential developments just as a few examples.

An engineer would also come into play with properties that have extremely small lot spaces, where the treatment of Wastewater has to be tertiary (type 3 system in BC),  or where setback requirements can’t be met.

In some unordinary circumstances, a lot may pose certain geotechnical challenges.  Steep slopes with limited area for a septic system with high erosion probability would certainly pose a challenge.  This is where a geotechnical engineer would reign their expertise in determining and evaluating the right system for the challenge.

Sensitive riparian areas in close proximity to lot spaces and potentially septic systems pose an environmental risk to certain species of animals or water resources.  Drilled water wells that don’t meet setback requirements from a septic system is another example of where we may have to hire a hydrogeologist for their expertise.

There are certainly more challenging conditions that would require an engineer to have oversight on a septic system but these are just a few examples of why we would use an engineer to design a sewage system.

So Why Hire a Wastewater Practitioner (ROWP)?

So what role does a registered onsite Wastewater practitioner or ROWP play in the development of an onsite wastewater system? Well, when it comes to most Residential Properties or some commercial applications a ROWP would be the one to call. 

A Wastewater practitioner has the training necessary to perform soil testing and the skills necessary to design the right system for the lot and home. Once the practitioner conducts soil testing and completes the design they would then submit that design and plan to the local Health Authority for approval.

In many jurisdictions, this approval process will then allow a contractor or homeowner to then request and obtain permits for their home construction. 

There are 3 specific designations that a ROWP can fall under and in some circumstances, a practitioner may have all of these designations to their title.

  1. Planner, the planner has the responsibility to conduct site and soil evaluations to determine the most suitable septic system for the site.
  2. The installer, the installer has the expertise to carry out the plan into action, by constructing a properly functioning septic system according to the plan.
  3. Maintenance provider, the maintenance provider has an important role in maintaining a septic system to the capacity in which it was designed for.  Any cleaning or repair work would fall under this category.

Under the Sewerage System Regulations, SSR, authorized persons such as ROWPs or professionals such as engineers, geo-techs or hydrologists play an important part in sewage systems and have the qualifications to conduct the work.  

If you’re looking for a qualified and certified practitioner, give us a call and we will gladly help with your project or gain you a greater understanding of the septic system plan and construction process.

Luis Goncalves, ROWP, IN, PL

I fell into this amazing trade quite by accident, I have always loved being around heavy machinery and moving earth and in contrast love working with designing things.  This trade in the septic field has led me down a wonderful path of exploring all of my skills and passions while working hard at achieving success.

Table of Contents

More Posts