Stream P: Law and Policy


12.4 Overview and commentary on recent water and wastewater case law

12.5 A decision support tool for surface water resource management in Northwest BC



12.4 Overview and commentary on recent water and wastewater case law

Presented By: Sonia Sahota, Valkyrie Law Group LLP.
Time: Tuesday, 3:50 - 4:20 PM

Whether it be the provision of potable water to community users or the discharge of wastewater from sewage treatment facilities, local governments undertake daily tasks faced with a myriad of potential risks. From a legal perspective, these risks may involve damages caused by system failures, prosecution for environmental offences or criminal charges for public endangerment. The May 2000 Walkerton tragedies signaled in a new awareness of public safety for water purveyors. Likewise, high profile cases of water pollution, such as the City of Sault Ste. Marie case in 1977, remain benchmarks for prosecuting public welfare offences. Recent decisions from courts across the country show that local governments continue to grapple with the legal pitfalls of providing water and wastewater services.

This session will provide an overview of recent cases in British Columbia and other jurisdictions relating to provision of water and wastewater services, highlight the lessons learned from these decisions, and provide session participants with practical risk management strategies and tips for establishing due diligence defences in respect of potential liability claims.

 pdf icon Presentation PDF


12.5 Fraser Valley Regional District Sanitary Services - From Policies to Capital Projects

Presented By: Ehren Lee, Urban Systems.
Time: Tuesday, 4:20 - 4:50 PM

Managing one public wastewater system is big enough to be someone‚Äôs career. Owning and operating three wastewater systems, committing to publicly owning all new systems from here forward, and putting in measures that ensure performance of private septic systems is the work of the Fraser Valley Regional District. 

The Sewer Gap Analysis project is intended to comprehensively address Electoral Area wastewater management by identifying and filling gaps in policy, knowledge and infrastructure. It also determines the allocations of the Gas Tax funding based on prioritized projects.

To conduct the project, the FVRD collaborated with Urban System to consider policies, electoral area management plans and development of support tools to holistically manage wastewater within its boundaries. Issues addressed in the Sanitary Gap Analysis project include: need for regulatory oversight for private systems (whether in high-risk areas or not); cumulative impacts of septic system effluent on the receiving environment, including the health of local lakes; need for direction for highest priority steps as a local government to fulfill its environmental vision; and questions regarding the financial sustainability of systems and affordable levels of service.

Highlights from the project include: 50 sanitary policies covering acquisition, levels of service, size-sustainability, governance, and finance; a regulatory gap assessment and defining a potential concurrent-authority role for the FVRD (along with Fraser Health Authority); seven Electoral Area Sanitary Sewer Management Plans; comprehensive bylaw assessment, and $1,500,000 in programs and projects to deliver sanitary sewer services throughout 13,900 square kilometers of the total regional land base.

pdf icon Presentation PDF



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