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BCC Ruling No. 00-44-776

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #00-44-776

IN THE MATTER OF Subsection 24 (1) of the Building Code Act, 1992.

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentence 3.7.4.1.(2) and Part 8 of Regulation 403, as amended by O. Reg. 22/98, 102/98, 122/98, 152/99, 278/99, 593/99, 597/99 and 205/00 (the "Ontario Building Code").

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Ms. Karen Schad, Director, Carp Ridge Community School, Carp, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Robert W.J. Moore, Chief Building Official, Township of West Carleton, Carp, Ontario, to determine whether the proposed substitution of two water closets with a proprietary composting toilet system to serve a one-classroom portable school with an adequate water supply provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.7.4.1.(2) and Part 8 of the Ontario Building Code at 4596 Carp Rd., Carp, Ontario.

APPLICANT
Karen Schad, Director
Carp Ridge Community School
Carp, Ontario

RESPONDENT
Mr. Robert W. J. Moore
Chief Building Official
Township of West Carleton

PANEL
Mr. Bryan Whitehead, Vice Chair
Mr. Bill Fellner
Mr. Frank Wright

PLACE
Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING
August 24th, 2000

DATE OF RULING
August 24th, 2000

APPEARANCES
Ms. Karen Schad, Director
Carp Ridge Community School
Carp, Ontario
Applicant

RULING

1. The Applicant

Ms. Karen Schad , Director, Carp Ridge Community School, Carp, Ontario, has received a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to install a Class 4 septic system at 4596 Carp Road, Carp, Ontario.

2. Description of Construction

The Applicant has constructed a portable school building containing one classroom and a washroom yet to be built. The building is described as having a Group A, Division 2 - Assembly Occupancy. The total number of plumbing fixture units is 12.5 and the building has a total finished area of 173 m2. The calculated daily design sewage flow, based on 35 persons at 30 litres per day, is 1 050 litres.

The Applicant has received a building permit to install a Class 4 raised bed sewage system to serve the existing school and a future eco-wellness centre with an approximate building area of 75 m2 to be constructed in the near future. The building permit for the school building has been issued on the basis of an occupancy threshold of 12 persons, however the ultimate development would increase this number to 35 persons. The original proposal, based on which the building permit for the septic system has been issued, comprises a plumbing system with two water closets, an urinal and two lavatories. Later, the Applicant changed this proposal to substitute the water closets with a proprietary composting toilet system (Clivus Multrum Model) with two toilets. The black water from the urinal and the grey water from the remaining plumbing fixtures will be directed to a Class 4 septic system.

The subject site is a 7.29 hectare country lot with minimal slope and is mostly covered with mature trees. The depth to the bed rock is roughly 200 mm. The percolation time of the native soil is reported to be more than 50 min/cm. The water supply to the site will be from two drilled wells.

The construction in dispute involves the substitution of the two water closets with a composting toilet system.

3. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether the proposed substitution of two water closets with a proprietary composting toilet system to serve a one-classroom portable school with an adequate water supply provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.7.4.1.(2) and Part 8 of the Ontario Building Code.

Sentence 3.7.4.1(2) allows the use of sanitary units without a water connection such as sanitary privies, chemical toilets, or composting toilets, which are classified as Class 1 systems under Part 8 of the OBC, wherever a sanitary drainage system cannot be installed due to the lack of water supply. A sanitary drainage system is defined as " a drainage system that conducts sanitary sewage" under Article 1.1.3.2. of the Ontario Building Code (OBC). Sanitary sewage means " liquid or water borne waste (a) of industrial or commercial origin, or (b) of domestic origin, including human body waste, toilet or other bathroom waste, and shower, tub, culinary, sink and laundry waste" (Article 1.1.3.2). The site under dispute has two drilled wells for water supply. The black water originating from the urinal and the greywater originating from other plumbing fixtures will be directed to a Class 4 raised bed sewage system. The human body waste other than that originating from the urinal is proposed to be handled by the composting system.

Therefore, at issue is whether the proposed substitution of two water closets with a Class 1 composting toilet system despite an adequate water supply to the site affects the sufficiency of the system in complying with related requirements of the OBC.

4. Provisions of the Ontario Building Code

Sentence 3.7.4.1 (2) Plumbing and Drainage Systems

(2) When the installation of a sanitary drainage system is not possible because of the absence of a water supply, sanitary privies, chemical closets or other means for the disposal of human waste shall be provided.

Part 8 Sewage Systems

5. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that the Clivus Multrum composting toilets are largely being used in other provinces such as British Colombia and have proved to be environmentally friendly.

The Applicant, stated that they will soon construct an eco-wellness centre on the subject site to host workshops and seminars on environmentally friendly technology. So as a first step, they want to provide a model for these kinds of initiatives.

The Applicant indicated that the "Wild Care Bird Centre" located in Ottawa has been using a similar composting toilet system for more than 8 years serving more than 10 000 visitors per year without any problem.

The Applicant continued that their original submission to the Building Code Commission included a composting toilet system in conjunction with a greywater system (Class 2) to replace the Class 4 system. However, because of the lack of time to investigate the suitability of the greywater system for the site under dispute and also comparatively high cost of installing a greywater system, they have changed their submission to include the proposed substitution of two water closets with a composting toilet system and to discharge the remaining sewage, including the "composting tea" from the composter to the approved Class 4 system.

6. Respondent's Position

The Respondent chose not to attend the hearing, so the Commission relied on his written submission for the purpose of hearing.

The Respondent submitted that the installation of a composting toilet system in lieu of two water closets is not permitted under the OBC, which requires the installation of water closets wherever there is an adequate water supply.

The Respondent proposed that the installation of a composting toilet system in addition to the minimum number of required water closets would be acceptable, if they can agree (with the Applicant) on a monitoring system to evaluate the performance level of this system.

7. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission the proposed two-toilet Class 1 composting system provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 3.7.4.1.(2), on the condition that, any liquid (composting tea) produced from the system is discharged to the approved Class 4 system.

8. Reasons

i. The proposed Class 1 composting system for this eco-wellness centre classroom with 12 students is an acceptable substitute for a water closet provided the excess liquid is discharged to a Class 3,4 or 5 sewage system (8.3.1.2.(3)).

Dated at Toronto this 24th, day in the month of August in the year 2000 for application number 2000-25.

_______________________________________________

Mr. Bryan Whitehead, Vice Chair

_______________________________________________

Mr. Bill Fellner

_______________________________________________

Mr. Frank Wright