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BCC Ruling No. 99-25-681

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BUILDING CODE COMMISSION DECISION ON B.C.C. #99-25-681

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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentence 8.4.1.2.(2) of Regulation 403, as amended by O. Reg. 22/98, 102/98 and 122/98 (the "Ontario Building Code").

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Mr. Mark Keighley, cottage owner, #7-350 Plains Road East, Burlington, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Tom Reddering, Designated Sewage Inspector, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, Ontario to determine whether a pressurized water system used in conjunction with a Class 2 sewage system provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 8.4.1.2.(2) of the Ontario Building Code for an island seasonal recreational building at Lot 24, Concession 8, Plan 537, Sub Lot 25, Guilford Township, Haliburton County, Ontario.

APPLICANT

Mr. Mark Keighley
Cottage Owner
Burlington, Ontario

RESPONDENT

Mr. Tom Reddering
Designated Sewage Inspector
Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit

PANEL

Mr. Roy Philippe (Chair)
Mr. Doug Robinson
Mr. Bryan Whitehead

PLACE

Toronto, Ontario

DATE OF HEARING

April 15, 1999

DATE OF RULING

April 15, 1999

APPEARANCES

Mr. Mark Keighley
Cottage Owner
Burlington, Ontario
The Applicant

Mr. Tom Reddering
Designated Sewage Inspector
Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge
District Health Unit
The Respondent

RULING

  1. The Applicant

Mr. Mark Keighley, Burlington, Ontario, has applied for a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to install a Class 2 (leaching pit) sewage system at his seasonal residence located on an island at Lot 24, Concession 8, Plan 537, Sub Lot 25, Township of Guilford, Haliburton County, Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The Applicant has applied for a building permit for a recently constructed Class 2, leaching pit sewage system at his single, detached, two storey, Group C- seasonal residential dwelling located on Redstone Lake. The building is described as having two bedrooms, 4.5 fixture units and a total finished floor area of 121 m2. The calculated daily design sewage flow rate is 1,100 litres per day. The Applicants are not contemplating any renovations to the existing structure.

The construction in dispute involves the Applicant's as constructed leaching pit that serves the grey water from the subject dwelling by means of gravity disposal. The cottage, however, is also equipped with a pressurized water system that draws surface water from the nearby lake. (The single toilet in the cottage is a Sun-Mar composting unit. The Applicant has agreed to disconnect the overflow pipe from the unit which is currently connected to the leaching pit.)

The Class 2 system, as installed, consists of a 100 mm diameter pipe running from the dwelling to the pit, approximately 8 m away. The pit is described as a 1 m deep circular hole with a diameter of approximately 2.7 m, for a total volume of roughly 2.7 m2. A 1 m by 2.5 m rectangular box of concrete block stand in middle of the pit extending slightly higher than the surrounding grade level. The outside of the concrete block is covered in chicken wire to prevent stones from entering the pit. Stones surrounding the concrete block box fill the pit. The pit is covered by plywood, while the surrounding stones are covered with earth that is graded to slope away from the concrete block box.

The site is one of a number of properties on the subject island. The property has a gradual slope towards the lake that varies between five to fifteen per cent and is covered with immature hardwood trees. The soil is described as sandy loam to at least a depth of 1.5 m and has an estimated percolation time of 5 to ten minutes per centimetre. The cottage is situated 50 m from the lake, whereas the leaching pit is set back 59 m from the lake.

  1. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether the already constructed Class 2 leaching pit provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence 8.4.1.2.(2) of the Ontario Building Code. This provision prohibits the use of a Class 2 sewage system in conjunction with a pressurized water system. The Applicant's water and sewage systems clearly combine these two methods of drawing and distributing water and disposing of effluent.

  1. Provisions of the Ontario Building Code

Sentence 8.4.1.2.(2) Application

(2) A Class 2 sewage system shall not be constructed where there is a supply of pressurized water.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant submitted that while his Class 2 system does not comply with Sentence 8.4.1.2.(2) his sewage system does in fact work well and has done so with previous leaching pits. He argued that the amount of grey water produced by the few (mostly only two) occupants who are there on a seasonal only basis is readily handled by the leaching pit as constructed. He also noted that by disconnecting the overflow pipe from the Sun Mar composting toilet the more hazardous wastes are eliminated from entering the pit.

The Applicant also argued that to install a Class 4 or 5 system would be a heavy financial burden. Moreover, due to the fact that the subject property is located on an island would likely mean that any Class 4 or 5 system would be difficult to service in the future.

Lastly, the Applicant argued that the OBC, as written, does not offer enough flexibility to consider servicing a property such as his that is infrequently used, but is equipped with pressurized water yet produces little effluent. He indicated, however, that it was his understanding that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing was reviewing this provision with the intention of possibly providing greater flexibility under certain conditions. The Applicant asked that the Commission consider this possible Code amendment when deliberating on his appeal.

  1. Respondent's Position

The Respondent submitted that Sentence 8.4.1.2.(2) prohibits the use of a Class 2 sewage system in combination with a pressurized water system. Although he sympathized with the Applicants' position, the Code, he noted was quite clear on this restriction. He indicated that he appreciated the Applicant's willingness to disconnect the composting toilet from the leaching pit sewage pipe. He also stated that he agreed with the Applicant the subject dwelling will not yield considerable effluent. Nevertheless, because the prohibition in the Code regarding combining a pressurized water system with a leaching pit is absolute, the Respondent indicated that he had no authority to accept the Applicant's proposal.

Lastly, the Respondent indicated that he felt he had no authority to accept the Applicants' proposal.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that a Class 2 system meeting the requirements of 8.4.2.3. of the Building Code provides sufficiency of compliance with Article 8.4.1.2. with a supply of pressurized water.

  1. Reasons

i) The number of plumbing fixtures is limited and the volume of grey water is estimated to be 600 litres/day or 60% of the total sanitary flow permitted under Article 8.4.2.2.

ii) The system is used only for the treatment and disposal of grey water and services a seasonal residence.

iii) Previous practices under the Environmental Protection Act limited the use of such systems with pressurized water supply to systems with limited number of fixtures, and a review of the Building Code is presently underway.

Dated at Toronto this 15th day in the month of April in the year 1999 for application number 1999-16

Mr. Roy Philippe, Chair

Mr. Doug Robinson

Mr. Bryan Whitehead