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Ministry of Health

Sewage Systems

Sewerage System Standard Practice Manual: Version 3 Now Available

The Sewerage System Standard Practice Manual (SPM) is the main reference source for B.C. wastewater practitioners responsible for the planning, installation and maintenance of onsite sewage systems, pursuant to the Sewerage System Regulation and Public Health Act.

The Ministry of Health has worked with independent contractors, the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC) and industry stakeholders – including registered onsite wastewater practitioners, professional engineers and regional health authority staff – to develop Version 3 of the Sewerage System Standard Practice Manual.

There is a transition ("sunset") period from Version 2 to Version 3 of the SPM. Effective immediately and until Dec. 31, 2015, practitioners may use either version. Please note that practitioners cannot selectively choose standards to use from each version. This is because the various design values are linked within each version. On Jan. 1, 2016, only Version 3 will be in effect.

The Sewerage System Standard Practice Manual (SPM) is the primary reference for B.C. wastewater practitioners responsible for designing, installing and maintaining onsite sewage systems, pursuant to the Sewerage System Regulation and Public Health Act.

The Sewerage System Standard Practice Manual, Version 3(PDF 7.6M) is divided into four volumes:

  • Volume I (Introduction)

    Background information on the roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders and organizations affected by the Sewerage System Standard Practice Manual.

  • Volume II (Standards)

    The core standards that will be applied by most authorized persons when conducting planning, installation and maintenance work.

  • Volume III (Guidelines)

    Supporting information for the core standards in Volume II.

  • Volume IV (Rationale)

    Further clarification, based on scientific (peer–reviewed) references, supporting the standards and design considerations of Volumes II and III.

This improved approach to organizing the manual is based on separating the core standards (Volume II) from the "supplementary" information in the remaining volumes, which are intended to provide supporting guidance and rationale for the core standards.

The ASTTBC will be providing training on Version 3 of the SPM in the fall and winter of 2014–2015 at 12 locations across the province. This training is mandatory for registered onsite wastewater practitioners. It is also open to professionals, health authorities and industry members. Details on course dates, times and locations can be found on the ASTTBC web site.

Version 2 (Sept. 2007)

Version 2 of the Sewerage System Standard Practice Manual is currently designated for use in British Columbia along with the new Version 3 (described above). Version 2 will be removed from use on Dec. 31, 2015.

View Version 2 (the manual and appendices):