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BCC Ruling No. 99-55-711

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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 Mr. Nazzareno D'Angelo, property owner, Concord, 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 the Class 4 sewage system filter bed and mantle proposed to be sited in an area with 1:3 slope provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence, of the Ontario Building Code (OBC) or whether a Class 5 holding tank may be installed when considering Sentence of the OBC at Lot 131, Percy Lake, Harburn Township, Ontario.


Mr. Nazzareno D'Angelo
Property Owner
Concord, Ontario


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


Mr. Bryan Whitehead (Chair-Designate)
Mr. Bill Fellner
Mr. Doug Robinson


Toronto, Ontario


August 19, 1999


August 19, 1999


Mr. Thomas Grace, Principal, Grace and Associates
Lindsay, Ontario
For the Applicant

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


1. The Applicant

Mr. Nazzareno D'Angelo, property owner, has applied for a building permit under the Building Code Act, 1992 to construct either a Class 4 or Class 5 sewage system to serve a seasonal residential dwelling at Lot 131, Percy Lake, Harburn Township, Ontario.

2. Description of Construction

The Applicant is proposing to install either a new Class 4 or Class 5 sewage system to serve a single detached Group C - (seasonal) residential dwelling. The proposed dwelling will contain three bedrooms, 17.5 fixture units and will have a total finished floor area of 111.5 m2 . The calculated total daily design flow rate will be 1,600 Litres per day.

The Applicant has two sewage system proposals. Option one is a Class 4 system. This proposed system consists of a 3,600 L septic tank which would transmit effluent by gravity disposal to a 1,365 L pump chamber. From there the effluent would be pumped uphill to the filter bed located at the western edge of the lot near the road. The filter bed is to have a minimum contact area of 22.5 m2 . Two pairs of three distribution lines in the filter bed are to extend in opposite directions horizontally across the slope from a centre feed distribution box. In order to achieve a relatively level area, extensive engineered regrading of the site is necessary. The required 15 m mantle, proposed to be located directly downhill from the filter bed, would be terraced and supported with retaining walls where necessary. The entire area for which this option is proposed would have an average slope of 1:3.

Option two is a Class 5 holding tank sewage system. The system would consist of a 1,360 L pump chamber equipped with a sewage ejector pump that would pump the effluent uphill to the proposed holding tank, which would also be located at the western edge of the property. At 11,200 L, the tank would accommodate a seven day holding capacity. The proposed tank would also be equipped with an audible and visual alarm activated by a float switch. Some regrading of the site, especially in the area of the holding tank, would also be necessary to install this system.

The lot is described as steeply sloping (ranging from 1:1.8 to 1:3) to the lake, mostly covered with mature trees and is wedge-shaped measuring approximately 76 m in length by 45 m at the road (to the north) and 25 m at the lake (at the south), for a total approximate area of 0.35 ha. The depth of the soil averages roughly 0.6 m. The native soil has a percolation rate of 12 minutes per centimetre.

The water supply to the site will be drawn from the lake.

The construction in dispute involves the installation of either of these two systems on a 1:3 slope.

3. Dispute

The issue at dispute between the Applicant and Respondent is whether the Class 4 sewage system filter bed and mantle proposed to be sited in an area with 1:3 slope provides sufficiency of compliance with Sentence of the Ontario Building Code (OBC) or whether a Class 5 holding tank may be installed when considering Sentence of the OBC. Sentence requires that any fill added to a leaching bed must be sloped not steeper than a ratio of 1:4. The average slope on the Applicant's property is 1:2.5 and his Class 4 proposal (option one) would be situated on land regraded to a 1:3 slope. The conditions setting out when the installation of a holding tank is acceptable are regulated in Sentence None of the described conditions pertain to the Applicant's site. Further, steeply sloping property is not one of the criteria listed as grounds to qualify for a holding tank.

4. Provisions of the Ontario Building Code

Sentence Construction Requirements

(8) The sides of the added leaching bed fill shall be sloped to ensure stability, but shall not be steeper than 1 unit vertically to four units horizontally.

Sentence Acceptable Installation

(1) A Class 5 sewage system may be installed in the following circumstances:

(a) where the proposed use of the sewage system is for a temporary operation, excluding seasonal recreation use, not exceeding 12 months in duration,
(b) to permit the extension of an existing single-family dwelling provided that,

(i) the extension will not increase the wastewater load, and
(ii) the building is already served by a Class 5 sewage system,
(c) to remedy an unsafe sewage system where the remediation of the unsafe condition by the installation of a Class 4 sewage system is impracticable,
(d) to upgrade a sewage system on an existing lot or parcel of land, where upgrading through the use of a Class 4 sewage system is not possible due to lot size or clearance limitations, or
(e) as an interim measure for a lot or parcel of land until municipal sewers are available, provided that the municipality undertakes to ensure the continued operation of an approved hauled sewage system until the municipal sewers are available.

5. Applicant's Position

At the outset, the Applicant acknowledged that there were serious difficulties facing both of their proposals.

By way of background, the Applicant stated that the subject property was created through a severance in 1989, at which time it had been approved by the municipality and the HKPR District Health Unit as a building lot. The current owner bought the site in 1998 under the impression that the property could be developed. However, during the Applicant's attempts to apply for a building permit it was subsequently determined that a Class 4 sewage system would be very expensive to install due to the massive re-engineering of the site required and even then would not likely meet the slope restrictions regarding the sides of the imported leaching bed fill.

While the Applicant offered that they recognized the site constraints relating to the steep slope, he asked the Commission to consider their Class 4 proposal with some leniency, especially since they have relatively few alternatives.

Regarding the holding tank, the Applicant argued that this was their preferred choice because it would be far more affordable, would leave more of the lot in its natural state, and would be more suitable to the seasonal use of the building. He admitted that none of the conditions set out in Sentence concerning the acceptable installation of a Class 5 sewage system specifically pertain to his situation. Nevertheless, he indicated that the municipal council is willing to authorize the use of a holding tank for the subject lot if agreements are entered into with the local sewage hauler and the municipality regarding all aspects of the proposed Class 5 system. He submitted a letter supporting this assertion. The Applicant concluded by requesting that the Commission provide an exception to the criteria set out in Sentence of the OBC in order that he may install a holding tank.

6. Respondent's Position

The Respondent submitted that while he sympathized concerning the issue of the slope of the site, neither proposal offered by the Applicant met the appropriate standards in the OBC. T he Class 4 option faced considerable challenges due to the slope, he noted. The leaching bed fill with sides proposed as having a 1:3 slope, he argued, does not meet OBC Sentence and would not be stable. Moreover, as far as the holding tank was concerned, he indicated that it simply did not meet any of the allowable conditions for installation under the Code. For these reasons, the Respondent explained, he refused both of the Applicant's proposals.

7. Commission Ruling

It is the decision of the Building Code Commission that the proposed Class 4 filter bed and the proposed Class 5 holding tank intended to service a seasonal residential dwelling both fail to provide sufficiency of compliance with Sentence and Sentence respectively.

8. Reasons

i) The slope in the vicinity of the filter bed is excessive.

ii) The Code is clear in prohibiting new development on a holding tank.

iii) There were no compensating measures proposed.

Dated at Toronto this 19th day in the month of August in the year 1999 for application number 1999-69

Mr. Bryan Whitehead, Chair-Designate

Mr. Bill Fellner

Mr. Doug Robinson