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BCC Ruling No. 00-60-792

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Clause 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 Mr. Joe Bazarin, Property Owner, 14 Christie Crescent, Port Perry, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. E. J. Ristan, Designated Sewage Inspector, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, Port Hope, Ontario, to determine whether the proposed sewage system, which includes terraced distribution pipe runs, provides sufficiency of compliance with Clause of the Ontario Building Code at Conc. 3, Plan 412, Sub lot 25, in the Township of Alnwick, Ontario.

Mr. Joe Bazarin, Property Owner
14 Christie Crescent
Port Perry, Ontario

Mr. E. J. Ristan
Designated Sewage Inspector
Pine Ridge District Health Unit

Mr. Bill Fellner

Toronto, Ontario

December 7th, 2000

December 7th, 2000


Mr. Eric Smith
Meric Homes
Grafton, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant

Mr. Roy Packer and Peter Hargreaves
Appointed Inspectors
Pine Ridge District Health Unit, Port Hope, Ontario
Designate for the Respondent


1. The Applicant

Mr. Joe Bazarin, owner, Port Perry, Ontario, has applied for a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to install a Class 4 sewage system at Conc. 3, Plan 412, Sub lot 25, in the Township of Alnwick, Ontario.

2. Description of Construction

The Applicant is proposing to install a Class 4 sewage system to service a Group C - residential building currently under construction. When completed the building will have three bedrooms, a total of 25.5 plumbing fixture units, and a finished area of 195 m2. The calculated daily design sewage flow will be 1875 Litres.

The site in dispute is a country lot covering an approximate area of 0.5 hectare, mostly covered with mature trees. The slope of most of the site (except where the building is being constructed) is more than 25%. The soil cover is estimated to be 0.7 metre underlaid by a clay till with an estimated percolation time of more than 50 min/cm. The water supply to the site is provided by a drilled well.

The dispute involves the steep slope of the site and the modifications proposed in the design of the filter bed area in order to reduce this slope.

To overcome the slope issue, the Applicant is proposing extensive re-engineering of the site by clearing existing vegetation, removing the natural soil, cutting terraces into the slope, and creating a swale to divert surface water run-off.

The proposed system is a Class 4 sewage system to be constructed at the north-east corner of the property. The system will consists of a 3800 L two-compartment septic tank, a gravity-fed filter bed with a surface area of 48 m2, and a contact area of 200 m2. The filter bed is to consist of six 7.5 metre distribution pipes placed level on the terraces. There will be a minimum of 0.7 m of filter sand underlying the pipes and a minimum of 0.15 m crushed or washed stone covering them. The bed will be finish-graded with a crown above it to promote drainage.

3. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether the proposed sewage system, which includes terraced distribution pipe runs, provides sufficiency of compliance with Clause of the Ontario Building Code.

Clause prohibits the construction of a leaching bed in an area with an average slope of more than 25% (four units horizontally per one unit vertically). The slope of the site proposed for construction of the filter bed is between 27 to 33 percent. The Applicant is proposing some engineering modifications to the filter bed area including constructing terraces for the distribution pipe runs in order to alter this slope and achieve compliance with the Code's requirements.

At issue is whether the proposed modifications adequately compensate for the site's slope.

4. Provisions of the Ontario Building Code

Clause General Requirements

(1) A leaching bed shall not be located:

(a) in an area that has an average slope that exceeds one unit vertically to four units horizontally,

5. Applicant's Position

The Agent for the Applicant submitted that the filter bed system as designed would be stable, and meet the requirements of the Ontario Building Code.

The Agent stated that the Applicant is proposing to shave down the area to a depth of between 0.3 m to 0.6 m and cut into the existing grade to provide the required slope. Based on the information provided to the Agent by the engineering firm he retained, it is assumed that the slope at the clay level is fairly uniform and most likely less steep than the surface level. As a result, it is possible to re-grade and create the required 1:4 slope, he argued.

The Agent continued that in order to prevent water run-off from entering the bed area, the Applicant is proposing to maintain the drainage in a north-west direction by creating a swale at the top of sloping area.

The Agent then provided the following responses for issues raised during the hearing:

Regarding the conflicting information provided on the site survey map (topographical information) and site plan, as raised by the ministry's Code Advisor during the hearing, the Agent agreed to re-evaluate the information and provide the Commission and the Respondent with accurate data.

Regarding the Respondent's concern over erosion, the Agent argued that erosion can only occur if a proper method is not introduced to prevent it and they were proposing terracing, which is a known method for preventing erosion.

In conclusion, the Agent stated that although they agree with the Respondent about the steep slope (over 30%) of the site, by re-grading the area and providing terraces, they not only reduce the slope of the site to an appropriate level, but they also provide stability under the bed area.

6. Respondent's Position

The Respondent submitted that the site for the proposed installation of the Class 4 filter bed sewage system has a slope over 25%, which is not allowed under the Ontario Building Code.

At the outset, the Respondent referred to site conditions that would neutralize the effectiveness of the proposed design as follows:

A slope of over 33% where the filter bed is proposed to be constructed;

The high groundwater table during the spring season; and,

Very heavy clay into which the proposed terraces are to be cut.

The Respondent then argued that they believe the proposed design can neither solve the problem of the slope nor assure its stability. The Respondent based his argument on the following facts:

The proposal involves extensive engineering of the site, removal of better soil at the top of the soil strata and

cutting of all mature trees, which can act as a barrier against erosion;

The material that is removed to level out the slope must be replaced with imported material;

Without knowing the exact steepness of clay soil within the slope at the area of the proposed filter, the

Respondent was not convinced that overall slope can be reduced to less than 25%; and,

The proposed filter bed must be a raised bed system. This is consistent with the fact that the majority of the

properties in this area are serviced by a raised bed system. The finish grade where the bed can be raised has

a slope of 25%. Putting a raised bed on a slope of 25% creates stability concerns.

The Respondent also argued that, as far as he is concerned, cutting into clay is not allowed under the Code. In addition, although he is familiar with terraced tile runs in conventional leaching beds, he has never seen a step-down filter bed.

The Respondent concluded that the area where the foundation of the cottage has been constructed has a slope of 21% and is large enough to accommodate a filter bed. However, despite their advice, the Applicant did not consider this option and constructed the footings without a permit.

7. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the proposed modified filter bed to be built on a slope of more than 25% (four units horizontally and one unit vertically) does not provide sufficiency of compliance with Clause of the Ontario Building Code.

8. Reason/s

  1. The Commission is not satisfied that the changes proposed to alter the slope steepness of the bed area have addressed the slope stability in the long run.

Dated at Toronto this 7th, day in the month of December in the year 2000 for application number 2000-76.


Mr. Bill Fellner