Sewer/Sewage Back-Up Septic System Malfunctions

Policy

Category: Health Hazard Prevention and Management
Subject: Sewer/Sewage Back-Up Septic System Malfunctions
Division:
Policy Number: CA.84.01.104
Effective Date: Apr. 2006

POLICY STATEMENT

It is the policy of Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) to prevent or reduce the burden of illness and decrease heath outcomes from health hazards associated with sewer/sewage back-up septic system malfunctions in accordance with the most current version of the Health Hazard and Prevention Protocol the Risk Assessment and Inspection of Facilities Protocol, and the Identification, Investigation and Management of Health Hazards Protocol under the Ontario Public Health Standards and the Health Protection and Promotion Act. Sewage outflow into the environment falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Environment.  Because of its health role, WDGPH will respond and attempt to resolve sewage back-up concerns that fall outside of the mandate of the Ministry of the Environment.

REFERENCES AND RELATED FORMS, POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

CA.84.02.104  Sewer/Sewage Back-up Septic System Malfunctions
Health Hazard and Prevention Protocol
Risk Assessment and Inspection of Facilities Protocol
Identification, Investigation and Management of Health Hazards Protocol
Ontario Public Health Standards
Health Protection and Promotion Act

APPROVED BY

Rob Thompson 


Procedure

Category: Health Hazard Prevention and Management
Subject: Sewer/Sewage Back-Up Septic System Malfunctions
Division: N/A
Procedure Number: CA.84.02.104
Effective Date: Apr. 2006

PROCEDURE

  1. Follow the procedure CA.84.02.101 General Procedure for Investigating a Health Hazard Complaint.
  2. In investigating the complaint make a referral as appropriate to one or more of the following agencies:
  • Local Municipal Works Department
  • Local Municipal Building Department
  • Ministry of Environment Spills Action Centre (SAC) 1-800-268-6060
  1. The Public Health Inspector (PHI) shall identify him/herself to the owner/operator and state the reason for the visit. The owner/operator or designate present is provided the opportunity to accompany the PHI during the inspection.
  2. Use the CSR electronic form in Hedgehog to conduct the inspection.  Refer to the Hedgehog User manual as required.

OPERATIONAL OBJECTIVES

PHI Response to Sewage Malfunctions/Backup (General):
  • Conduct joint investigation with appropriate agency to determine potential public health hazard and/or cause;
  • Provide direction on how to clean up sewage spills inside dwellings, and how to prevent access to contaminated outside areas; and
  • Do not provide advice or direction on how to fix or repair the septic system/sewer.
Municipally Serviced (Sewers):

1.   Private Property (outdoor)

  • Contact Municipal Works Department to determine authority for directing/initiating repairs;
  • Ensure owner/municipality taking action to repair and mitigate hazard;
  • Assess to determine if further action is necessary to mitigate sewage spill (e.g. closure of restaurant); and
  • Ensure the affected area is fenced off and inaccessible to the public.

 2.  Public Property

  • Refer case to Municipal Works Department for follow up;
  • Ensure that SAC has been contacted (Tel: 1.800.268.6060); and
  • Liaise with Works Department to ensure clean up.

3.  Sewer Back up (indoor)

  • Contact Municipal Works Department and/or Municipal Building Department (plumbing);
  • Advise client with regards to clean up procedures for sewage;
  • Advise client to contact plumber to investigate cause of back up; and
  • If tenant-occupied, contact owner to repair and consult with Manager/Director, Health Hazard or MOH if an Order is necessary to ensure compliance.
Private Septic System:

1.   Private Property (outdoor)

  • If isolated to private owner-occupied property with no potential for public access, refer case to the Municipal Building Department.

2.   Other Property (outdoor)

  •  If sewage malfunction has originated from, or moved onto, public property or a location where there is public access (e.g. school, campground, etc.), liaise with appropriate authorities to limit public access and mitigate health hazard, e.g. fencing off the area, utilizing a pumping system, ceasing operations that add to loading of the septic system).  This may include closing of the premises whose operations will add to sewage loading, e.g. restaurants; and
  • Consult with Manager/Director, or MOH if legal action is considered.

3.   Sewage Back Up (indoor)

  • Advise client with regards to clean up procedures for sewage;
  • Advise client to contact plumber to investigate cause of back up; and
  • If tenant-occupied, contact owner to repair and consult with Manager/Director or MOH if an Order is necessary to ensure compliance.

REFERENCES AND RELATED FORMS, POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

CA.84.01.104  Sewer/Sewage Back-up Septic System Malfunctions
CA.84.02.101 General Procedure for Investigating a Health Hazard Complaint.

APPROVED BY

Rob Thompson