Talk of Septage

There has been a lot of talk around here recently about the dumping of septage in the area.

At the core of the discussion is a facility on private land which is situated up the hill from the old Granite Creek townsite. The accusations are that the Princeton Septic Service and Keremeos Septic Services trucks are driving up there and illegally dumping sewage. On the surface, if true, these accusations are fairly serious and can have some ramifications. So, what is really going on here?

First of all, these pumper trucks are used primarily for pumping out septic tanks when maintenance is required. The material itself is properly referred to as “septage”. In an area like ours this is a required service and is stipulated by health regulations.

There are several permitted places in Area ‘H’ where septage can be disposed of. There are also strict regulations set out for this by the Ministry of Environment, and all facilities must be approved and have a permit. Closest to us is the one at Granite.

The property is owned by Bert Rice, his recently deceased father, Dan Rice, having originally purchased the land in 1944. In 1984 a Coalmont septic service company operated by Paul Dore was getting started, and Dan was approached as a provider of a suitable disposal site. A location was decided upon and plans were submitted to the ministry which subsequently were approved. Upon inspection a permit was issued. This permit only allows for one company to use it at any time and this stipulation is ensured by having a locked entrance to prevent unauthorized truck access.

At this point in time, Princeton Septic is the company who has the contract for use of this location. They are the only ones with a key and the legal right to dispose of septage there. The rumour that Keremeos Septic is going up there cannot be confirmed, but it would have to be done without the knowledge and consent of the owner who says he has not seen any evidence of illegal access, but would be most concerned if he did. It should be noted that Keremeos Septic can and does ply their trade in this area and it would not be unusual to see them going about their business here.

The site apparently complies with all Federal and Provincial laws. Last Thursday the Ministry of Environment Toxic Management and Emergency Response Officer for the Kootenay and Okanagan Region came and did an inspection – presumably because someone had called him. The inspector’s verdict was that it was a clean site and that he had no concerns.

So, it would appear that those who might want a change will have to lobby for new Provincial laws. Until those change, it looks like we will just have to accept that this site complies with all applicable laws, is deemed environmentally safe, and that it is on private land. §