Skip to content
You are here > Home > Your Ministry > Ontario Building Code > Appeals & Approvals > Building Code Commission > Rulings of the Building Code Commission > 1999 > BCC Ruling No. 99-44-700

Follow us

BCC Ruling No. 99-44-700

Email this page


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

AND IN THE MATTER OF Sentences and of Regulation 403, as amended by O. Reg. 22/98, 102/98, 122/98, 152/99 and 278/99(the "Ontario Building Code").

AND IN THE MATTER OF an application by Ms. Debra Ann Alexander, owner, Peterborough, Ontario, for the resolution of a dispute with Mr. Michael Gravel, Chief Building Official, Peterborough County-City Health Unit, Peterborough, Ontario to determine whether a partially raised Class 4 sewage system, expanded as a result of an addition to the existing seasonal residence, with reduced setbacks and an undersized leaching bed provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentences and of the Ontario Building Code at 731 Alexander Drive, R.R. #1, Peterborough, Ontario.


Ms. Debra Ann Alexander
Peterborough, Ontario


Mr. Michael Gravel
Chief Building Official
Peterborough County-City Health Unit


Mr. Bryan Whitehead (Chair-Designate)
Mr. Bill Fellner
Mr. Frank Wright


Toronto, Ontario


June 24, 1999


June 24, 1999


Mr. Tom Alexander
Peterborough, Ontario
Agent for the Applicant

Mr. Brad Clark
Public Health Inspector
Peterborough County-City Health Unit
For the Respondent


  1. The Applicant

Ms. Debra Ann Alexander, owner, has applied for a building permit under

the Building Code Act, 1992

to install a new, partially raised, Class 4 sewage system at 731 Alexander Drive, Peterborough, Ontario.

  1. Description of Construction

The Applicant is proposing to construct a new partially raised, Class 4 sewage system to serve a renovated single, detached Group C - residential (seasonal) dwelling located on Lake Chemong. The new sewage system is necessary due to the Applicant's intention to renovate the existing cottage residence by constructing a two storey addition, including garage, and by remodelling the existing structure. The new building will be used year round. The proposed addition is to sit directly over the current location of the leaching bed. The renovated dwelling will contain 4 bedrooms, 24 fixture units and will increase the total finished floor area to approximately 219 m2 from the existing 84.2 m2. The total daily design sewage flow rate will be 2,200 l/d.

The Applicant has offered two proposals regarding possible locations of the filter bed sewage system. Option one, their preferred choice, would be to locate the new sewage system between the building and the road (referred to here as the "roadside" location). Option two would be to locate the system between the building and the lake ("lakeside"). For both locations the basic design elements of the proposed sewage system are the same. The new sewage system would consist of a 4,500 L septic tank connected to a partially raised leaching bed containing distribution pipe. Existing soils will be used in either system. The percolation time ranges from 2 to 8 min/cm.

Regarding the roadside location, due to the presence of the high groundwater table found at approximately 1.3 m below grade, the proposed bed will be raised by 0.3 m. The filter bed at this location would be long and narrow with two 19 m runs of distribution pipe (38 m total) placed at 1 m on centre. At the lakeside location a higher groundwater table, at roughly 0.6 m below grade, requires that the proposed bed be raised to a least 0.9 m. At this location the Applicant is proposing to configure the bed with 5 runs of 5.5 m each (27.5 m total) spaced apart 1 m on centre.

The site is described as covered with grass, slightly sloping towards the lake and measures 30.5 m by 43.6 m. The subject dwelling is served by a well water system. The drilled well is located on the front (lakeside) of the property.

The construction in dispute concerns the clearance distances involved in both locations. For the proposed roadside location the required setbacks, because of the raised bed, have been increased to 3.6 m from the lot line and 5.6 m from the building. The renovated building, however, is to be situated approximately 8.8 m from the rear lot line. The Applicant's proposed roadside location would therefore only provide a separation of 2.8 m to the lot line and 5 m to the cottage. Another issue is that the weeping tile around the existing and proposed building is to run directly to the lake.

For the lakeside location the raised bed has increased the setbacks to 16.8 m from the lake as well as 6.8 m from the building. The front of the proposed renovated building will be separated from the lake by 26 m. At this site, the proposed location of the sewage system at 17 m from the lake would comply with that requirement but would only offer a separation of 5 m to the building. Further, only 17 m would separate the distribution pipe from the existing well.

Also in dispute is the proposed filter loading rate for the roadside location. Considering the size of the proposed leaching bed, at roughly 21 m2, and considering the daily design flow of 2,200 l/d, the loading rate would exceed 75 L/m2/day. The basal loading rate would also be excessive. The loading rate for the lakeside proposal is not in dispute.

  1. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether the raised Class 4 sewage system proposed with reduced clearance distances in either location and an undersized leaching bed area provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentences and respectively of the Ontario Building Code. The first provision requires that the minimum clearance distances permitted in Table of the Code be increased by twice the height that the leaching bed is raised above the original grade. The effect of this requirement is that in both the Applicant's proposed locations not all setbacks can be met. The latter provision requires that the loading rate at the top of the leaching bed cannot exceed 75 L/m2/ day. With a daily flow of 2,200 l/d an area of at least 30 m2 is needed to meet the loading requirement. The Applicant's roadside location does not meet this.

  1. Provisions of the Ontario Building Code

Sentence Construction Requirements

(9) The distances as set out in Column 2 of Table shall be increased by twice the height that the leaching bed is raised above the original grade.

Sentence Loading Requirements

(3) Where the total daily design sanitary sewage flow does not exceed 3000 L, the effective area shall be such that the loading on the surface of the filter medium does not exceed 75 L/m2 per day.

  1. Applicant's Position

The Applicant indicated that his preferred location for the sewage system was to the rear of the cottage, near the roadside. This is because from an environmental point of view he felt it was safer to put the system farther from the Lake. Another problem with the lakeside location is that the well would have to be moved to another location.

The Applicant submitted that his proposed roadside location, while not meeting all required setbacks, meets the intent of the Code, specifically Sentence He argued that because the proposed system would encroach mostly on a road (which is bounded by an open field on the other side) the impact would be minimal. He then submitted letters from property owners on either side and the owner of the road indicating support for the road side location.

The Applicant also acknowledged that the roadside location did not meet the loading requirements. He indicated, however, that their actual use of the building would be less than the estimated 2,200 l/d of daily design flow.

The Applicant, during the hearing, then offered to install a tertiary treatment unit to pretreat the effluent prior to distribution, as a compensating measure for the minor deficiency regarding the setbacks to the road. A shallow buried trench leaching bed was also proposed as the method of disposal.

  1. Respondent's Position

The Respondent submitted that his refusal was based on insufficient area and a lack of adequate clearance distances provided. As a result he did not view the proposed system as providing sufficiency of compliance with the subject provisions of the OBC. He did indicate, however, that he would be comfortable with the proposed tertiary treatment unit as a compensating measure.

  1. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the proposed compensating measure of the installation of a tertiary treatment system with denitrification and a shallow buried trench provides sufficiency of compliance with respect to the minor shortfall in setback required to the property line.

  1. Reasons

i) There are no land uses on the privately owned road fronting on the property line which will be impacted be the shortfall in setback.

ii) The owner of the road has provided a letter accepting the encroachment on the setback.

iii) The tertiary treatment system will provide improved effluent quality reducing the potential impacts of the effluent disposal.

Dated at Toronto this 24th day in the month of June in the year 1999 for application number 1999-37

Mr. Bryan Whitehead, Chair-Designate

Mr. Bill Fellner

Mr. Frank Wright