AOWMA Concerned Over New Camrose County Bylaws

On Tuesday, June 12, 2012, Camrose County Council approved the proposed amendments to the Holding Tank regulations in the Land Use Bylaw and removal of Private Sewage sections of the Municipal Development Plan by adopting bylaw 1218 and Bylaw 1233.

The purpose of Bylaw 1218 is to remove Section 622.1 of Land Use Bylaw 1142 which states that: No Holding Tank shall be permitted on a parcel of land larger than 1 acre in Camrose County unless a report done by a Professional Engineer indicates there are not other suitable options and the Development Officer agrees to the recommendation for a Holding Tank.

Removing this clause will allow Holding Tanks on all properties in Camrose County provided that the Holding Tank complies with the requirements of the Provincial Private Sewage Systems Standard of Practice.

Bylaw 1233 removes Policy 9.3 to 9.5 inclusive of the Municipal Development Plan Bylaw 1052. Removing these clauses clarifies that all private sewage requirements align with the Provincial Private Sewage Systems Standard of Practice and eliminates any ambiguity that the County is requiring additional work, above the code requirements.

On June 5, 2012, AOWMA administration sent a letter to Camrose County regarding some concerns about expanding the use of holding tanks. It is the AOWMA’s position that holding tanks only be used as a last resort due to their need for frequent servicing through pump outs and the increased stress that is caused to municipal infrastructure to accommodate trucking and receiving of the effluent. There is also concern that there is a potential for increased code violations due to some homeowners installing pumps and piping to illegally discharge effluent in order to avoid costly pumping fees, the result of which is stress on the environment and increased policing requirements to ensure enforcement and compliance.

The AOWMA also is concerned about the removal of Policies 9.3 through 9.5 of the Municipal Development Plan Bylaw 1052. These policies effectively ensured that when a property was subdivided, upgraded or sold, that the septic system would be inspected and brought up to the current Provincial Private Sewage Standard of Practice.

These policies reflected excellent approaches to proper land stewardship, not only helping to safeguard the environment, but also by protecting public health and safety by potentially identifying failing systems. The policies also protected purchasing homeowners from finding themselves saddled with unexpected expenses to upgrade a system that was not identified as needing repair or replacement.