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Rules relating to the Transfer or Subdivision of Properties Containing Ejector Systems

In October 2009, regulations were passed that were aimed at phasing out existing disposal systems to alleviate the problems with leaking systems, and run off into Manitoba’s water ways. The Provincial Government later amended the regulations of The Environment Act, known as the Onsite Wastewater Management Regulations (60/2010), concerning sewage disposal in the Province. The regulations indicated that if there was an ejector system on the property, prior to sale or subdivision, the ejector system must be taken out of service and decommissioned.

Certificate of Exemption

Effective June 5, 2010, some relief was given to rural homeowners where, prior to the sale or transfer, they could apply to Manitoba Sustainable Development for a Certificate of Exemption requesting that an ejector system be allowed to remain on the property, and not have to be replaced. However, the sewage ejector system must meet the following minimum requirements:

  1. Not be located within an environmentally sensitive area;
  2. Be located on a minimum of 10 acres; and
  3. Be in compliance with all other regulatory requirements.

The regulatory requirements that must be met include all provisions of Schedule “E” to the regulations, including the location and operation of an ejector. For example, all wastewater effluent discharged must be contained within the boundaries of the property onto which it is ejected, and minimum setback distances must be met (such as 200 feet from water courses, property boundaries, dwellings, or wells).

Application fees for Certificates of Exemption are $150.00 plus GST, and a certificate issued may contain certain restrictions or conditions, which will continue to apply to the owner. It is important to note that a Certificate of Exemption is not transferrable to a subsequent owner without the prior written approval of the Director of Sustainable Development. Therefore, a further application for exemption will be required upon subsequent transfers. Persons wishing to retain an existing ejector system must, prior to transfer or subdivision, submit an application together with the fee to Sustainable Development. Sustainable Development will then review the application, and inspect the property to confirm compliance with the regulations. We are told that inspection and processing is estimated to occur within ten working days of receipt of a completed application.

Assumption of Responsibility

Homeowners selling their property may also apply to transfer the responsibility of phasing out the ejector to the new homeowner. Further, homeowners may apply to Sustainable Development to extend the time available for the phase-out following a transfer. In addition, where an owner subdivides land but does not transfer the parcel of land upon which an ejector system is located, the homeowner may make an application to extend the time by up to two years within which they are required to decommission the ejector system.

Properties Less Than Two Acres

According to the regulations, if a parcel of land is less than 2 acres and has a frontage of less than 60 meters/198 feet, a disposal field is no longer permitted to be installed. In places where disposal fields are not permitted, they will typically use a holding tank in which a single compartment tank will be regularly pumped out by a certified installer.

For parcels under 2 acres that currently have a disposal field on them, the owner can sell the property free from restrictions. However, the regulations indicate that sewage waste cannot be discharged onto the ground except when in compliance with the regulations. Therefore, if the system is failing in some way, such as sewage seeping onto the ground, then the disposal field would need to be replaced/repaired immediately by either the current owner or through an agreement with the purchaser.

If you have to replace your disposal field system, the regulations provide that registration and authorization is required before construction, installation, replacement, modification, etc. However, Sustainable Development must refuse the proposal if the disposal field is in an area serviced by a wastewater collection system (ie. Municipal sewer) or the disposal field is in an area expected to be serviced by a wastewater collection system within five years of the date the proposal was received.

A list of Certified Installers can be found on the Manitoba Sustainable Development website, or by clicking here

As in the original rules, the new requirements have no impact on any property owner who is not transferring or subdividing. Transfers resulting from the death of a transferee’s spouse or common-law partner are exempt from the regulations.

Guidelines for specific decommissioning requirements provided by Manitoba Sustainable Development are provided on their website or by clicking here

HOW WE CAN HELP:

We understand that these issues are very complex and could potentially result in significant costs to property owners. As a law firm that services rural clients, we keep ourselves up to date on these issues and would like to help you avoid the potential liability associated with breaches of these new regulations. Please feel free to contact one of our lawyers for more information on the new rules affecting sewage disposal, or to discuss how these new rules may affect you.

Notice: The articles on our website are provided for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice or opinion. They reflect the current state of the law as at the date of posting on the website, and are subject to change without notice. If you require legal advice or opinion, we would be pleased to provide you with our assistance on any of the issues raised in these articles.

 
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