BC Septic Regulations

The information below is provided to help answer questions for Home Owners, Contractors, and Real Estate Agents. Anyone reviewing Turtle Tanks products should be familiar with the >ten good reasons< for using our products.

Although the information below is believed to be current and accurate, it should be used as a convenient guide to installing a septic system in British Columbia.

Current Status of the Septic Industry in BC

A home owner in British Columbia is not legally allowed to construct OR repair a septic system. Any work performed on a system must be done under the supervision of a professional engineer or by a certified ROWP ( Registered Onsite Wastewater Practitioner). An ROWP must take courses specific to their involvement in the industry and there are certifications for septic system activities involved in:

Planning and Design | Installation | Maintenance | Inspection

Courses for these certifications are offered by government approved training centres. Registration of the certifications are by ASTTBC (Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC). The course content is based upon the SPM (Standard Practice Manual) a large document that comprehensively states all things involved in the design, installation, and maintenance of septic systems for BC.

Products used for the construction or repair of a septic system must meet specifications as outlined in the Standard Practice Manual. It is the job of the Planner / Designer to be aware of the latest specifications to meet government regulations.

Steps Required

The following is a sequence of activities which must be performed prior installing a septic system and getting a building permit to proceed with construction of a new home.

1) Site Evaluation

The septic system designer should review the property given full disclosure regarding the dwelling the system is to service and any known characteristics of the land. Once a desired area for the drainage field has been identified, two test holes must be excavated to a depth of at least 4 feet. The soil is reviewed at various depths to see if there is a seasonal high water table or bedrock. If the test holes prove satisfactory then a test of the soils ability to filtrate effluent must be performed. This may be with soil analysis, a permeameter, or a percolation test. Traditionally the percolation test has been used, which is a hole 1 foot in diameter that is presoaked and filled about 12 inches with water. A timer is started when the level drops to the 6 inch level and the timer is ended at the 5 inch level. The rate is in minutes per inch.

2) System Design

Based on the permeability and characteristic makeup of the soils a HYDRAULIC LOAD RATING (HLR) is chosen. The HLR is used to decide the size and configuration of the drainage field. The scaled drawing of the design is created which shows critical distances to property lines, water courses, buildings, and anything that may impact or be effected by the system.

3) Apply for a Septic System permit to local Ministry of Health, Public Health department.

The application must include:

A) Proof of ownership, which can be a current Tax Assessment or a Title of Ownership.

B) Filled Out Record of Sewerage System stamped by an authorized person.

C) Diagram / Sketch (to scale) of components used to construct septic system.

4) Receive the Approved permit

Yellow Copy to Owner, Blue Copy to Authorized Person; the Pink Copy is sent to Building Inspection Department.

5) Install Septic System

6) Create ASBUILT drawing to show how system was actually installed.

7) File Letter of Certification including ASBUILT drawing with Ministry of Health.


We hope that this serves as a useful guide for installing a septic system in British Columbia.

For further Technical Information Please see > Technical Sales Information<

Jim Ripley (250) 863-8372

Please note that under some circumstances Turtle Tanks will allow a Home Owner Install. You can review information regarding our Do It Yourself Program for BC Residents Here.