Cowichan News Leader

Meadow Park Road area residents must pay for municipal sewage system

Theresa Bodger speaks to North Cowichan council about their decision to force residents in her neighbourhood to switch from septic systems to sewer hookups. - Peter W. Rusland
Theresa Bodger speaks to North Cowichan council about their decision to force residents in her neighbourhood to switch from septic systems to sewer hookups.
— image credit: Peter W. Rusland

All homeowners on Meadow Park Road, Meadow Place and Meadow Park Crescent and part of Roome Road must now pay $12,008 toward North Cowichan's municipal sewage-treatment system, council ruled Wednesday.

That decision followed heated comments from some residents, plus health data showing some failing septic systems.

While folks must pay the $12,008 — or $1,157 a year for 15 years — they can chose not to hook onto the municipal system, unless their systems are failing, explained North Cowichan engineer John Mackay.

"They don't have to connect as long as they don't have a (septic system) problem, and Vancouver Island Health Authority decides if they have a problem or not," he said, noting hook-up carries a $983 fee.

Some residents may not connect, since they maintain and pump their systems regularly.

But councillors got a petition from 18 residents requesting extending sewage lines to Tzouhalem Road's secondary-treatment lagoons.

"It's mandatory," administrator Dave Devana said of folks wishing to opt out and duck the $12,008.

Councillor Al Siebring wanted homeowners to take responsibility for their systems, while provincial agents cited health issues.

VIHA's dye tests in 26 Meadow Park Road homes showed water entering ditches, bounded by soils poorly suited to handling septic wastes that eventually flow now into Quamichan Lake.

"There's clear water in the ditch because we're on a slope," said Theresa Bodger.

VIHA didn't test that fluid for fecal contamination, but its testing shows septic systems at 15 of the 26 homes are working satisfactorily; two are hazardous; nine had saturated ground.

Saturation means the system's not working, VIHA's Erwin Dyck noted. "The order is to correct the (health) hazard."

VIHA officials noted all of the area's aging septic systems will fail eventually.

Mackay said the worst-case scenario would see VIHA demand the septic systems be fixed. "We have no jurisdiction over septic systems in North Cowichan; that's VIHA."


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