In 2012, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) launched its onsite septic system public education and outreach program to address the growing issue of wastewater contamination in the region. “Wastewater contamination is already an issue in Shuswap and Mara lakes. By launching Septic Smart, the CSRD is taking a proactive role in addressing this growing concern,” says Darcy Mooney, CSRD Deputy Manager of Environment and Engineering and project coordinator.
Only the third such program in the Province, Septic Smart offers a range of free educational materials that WCOWMA members can share with their clients to help them save money, extend the life of their systems, and help the environment. The materials include an easy-to-read homeowner guide developed by wastewater management professionals that covers the various types of septic systems and the most cost effective way of maintaining them, a website (www.csrdsepticsmart.ca) with online videos offering great ‘how-to’ tips, and a children’s activity booklet on good source control behavior.
In 2012, Septic Smart also conducted a survey of properties in six CSRD communities (Anglemont, Gardom Lake, Malakwa, Sunnybrae, Swansea Point and White Lake), the results of which were recently shared with ROWPs at a marketing support session on May 9, 2013 hosted by the CSRD with cooperation from WCOWMA. Survey results indicated significant percentages with incomplete or non-compliant systems, including significant percentages of drywells, as well as low rates of inspections. “We’re hoping that ROWPs and the wastewater industry in the Shuswap will share the materials with their clients to help market their services and promote good septic system maintenance practices,” states Mooney. Complete survey results for all six communities are available for free download at www.csrdsepticsmart.ca.
The session also featured the launch of the CSRD’s Septic Smart Industry Partnership Program. The program is a partnership between ROWPs and the CSRD to foster better tracking of data on inspections and system health. Brent Dennis, WCOMWA-BC President, was in attendance at the marketing session and voiced support for the Industry Partnership Program. “The CSRD’s Septic Smart Industry Partnership Program is a great initiative that brings the region and industry together to support our common interest in improving onsite septic system maintenance. We strongly encourage our members to participate in this valuable project.”
To participate in the Industry Partnership Program contact CSRD Environment & Engineering Department at 250-833-5950 or email email@example.com. Septic Smart materials are available online at www.csrdsepticsmart.ca or by contacting the CSRD office for hard copies. Anyone can also receive updates on the program and local wastewater management issues by signing up to receive the semi-annual Septic Smart e-newsletter.
Article submitted by Gil Yaron, Light House Sustainable Building Centre and Darcy Mooney, CSRD