Local Area Service
My septic system is working fine. Why would I want to switch to City sewer?
Septic systems have a life span before they need major maintenance or replacement. Replacing a septic system now or in a few years time is costly and will still require regular maintenance. A City sewer is considerably less maintenance than a septic system and any maintenance within the City road dedication is the responsibility of the City.
What if I don’t want to pay for City sewer? Do I have to?
If the LAS area as a whole successfully petitions to install a sanitary sewer and it is approved by City Council, then all properties will be included in the project and responsible for their portion of the costs.
I already pay property taxes. Why don’t my tax dollars pay for this?
Property owners are responsible for this cost because it is a specific improvement to provide an additional service to their property. In a traditional new development scenario the developer pays for all the City infrastructure including: water mains, storm and sanitary sewer mains, roads, sidewalks, street lights, servicing, even the street signs. The infrastructure is handed over to the City to maintain through property taxes and utility fees, but the initial cost is recovered by selling the lots. That’s why a fully serviced lot costs more than one where you need to provide your own well and septic system.
Why was the project named Phase 4? What were phases 1 through 3?
The previous projects were larger individual or small groups of streets and named after their area. This project is a collection of many nearby smaller streets as a single project. We decided to call it Phase 4 as it is the 4th area to be serviced in the Hart Highlands.
- Phase 1 was Wallace Crescent, Wallace Place, Berwick Drive, Dundee Drive, and a portion of Langley Crescent.
- Phase 2 was Ridgeview Drive.
- Phase 3 is Killarney, Sussex, Sussex Place and Wildwood (KSW)
This project is a collection of many nearby smaller streets as a single project. We decided to call it Phase 4 as it is the 4th area to be serviced in the Hart Highlands.
When will the project be completed?
The project is in the early stages and the schedule may still change. If the LAS is approved and the project proceeds, the current plan is to start construction in 2018 and complete construction in the summer/fall of 2020.
Do property owners have any input on where the connection is located? What are the regulations for service location?
Yes. As part of the design process an engineering consultant will work with property owners individually and evaluate their specific connection scenario and provide recommendations on the best connection method. The City will include this information and provide the sewer connection in a complementary location. This process allows property owners to prioritize saving driveways, landscaping or trees specific to their property.
How deep are the services going to be?
The minimum depth of service connections at property line is 2.0m (6.5ft). Connections may be deeper to accommodate topography and enable gravity drainage from basements where possible.
Why is the water main being upgraded?
If the sanitary sewer LAS project proceeds, the City will also replace old water mains and services with larger water mains, new services connection and new fire hydrants to provide improved water flow for firefighting. Replacing the water mains at the same time as the sanitary sewer LAS helps reduce the number of major infrastructure projects and service interruptions in the area. This strategy allows the costs of excavation and road building to be shared by the City and property owners.
What will the cost to the property owner be?
A detailed cost estimate cannot be prepared until the majority of the engineering design work is complete; however based on previous projects in the area and the size of this project, property owner costs for the LAS project could range from $22,000 to $27,000. This amount does not include the cost of decommissioning your septic tank and completing the connection from your house to the City sewer at property line.
Why do I have to pay a sewer utility fee on top of the LAS fees? How much is the sewer utility fee?
The sewer utility fee is applicable to all properties connected to City sewer. It funds the transportation and treatment of waste water including the operation and maintenance of those systems. The waste water from this area travels 15.5km to the Lansdowne Rd Wastewater Treatment Center. Current utility rates can be found on the
City's Utility Billings Webpage.
What are the cost savings to property owners from the water main upgrade?
The water main being installed alongside the sewer main will share the costs of excavation, restoration, road building and landscaping.
How much is it going to cost to hire a plumber to connect my service and why isn’t this included in the LAS project?
The cost depends on factors such as tie in location and existing plumbing. Many local plumbing companies have performed work in the area and may be able to provide an approximate estimate. Work on private property and inside a residence is outside the scope of an LAS project, and each homeowner completes with work separately.
Can the connection costs be financed over 20 years similar to the LAS costs?
The connection costs cannot be included in the financing for the LAS project but property owners may seek financing privately through a financial institution.
When will the sewer utility fee begin to be billed?
Utility fees will be applicable when the house is connected to the sewer service or after two years, whichever is first. Utility fees are billed on a pro-rated basis; if you hook up part way through a billing period you are only charged for the remaining days in that period. Sewer utility fees are applicable after the 2 year grace period regardless of whether or not a connection was made.
My house is lower than the road. How can I hook up to the sewer system?
The sewer system will be designed to service as many properties as possible by gravity by balancing the depth of the sewer mains and number of properties serviced. Unfortunately there will be some properties which cannot be fully serviced with gravity. In these cases the most common solution is to install a pump in the home and pump sewer to the service where it can then continue into the system by gravity.
Do I need a plumbing permit?
Yes, a plumbing permit is required prior to connecting to a City service. The plumbing permit requires a professional plumber to make the connection. The permit is issued through the Development Services Department, costs $140 and includes an inspection by the City Plumbing Inspector.
What happens to my existing septic system when I connect to City sewer?
Your existing septic system will need to be decommissioned as a requirement of the plumbing permit in accordance with Northern Health Authority's guidelines. Generally this includes emptying the septic tank, drilling holes in the bottom, breaking out one side and backfilling with compact material.
What sewer connection size will be provided?
The City service provided will be 100mm (4") PVC pipe. The size and material of the pipe within private property is governed by the BC Building Code/ Plumbing Code and will be addressed with your plumbing permit.
- During construction, will I still be able to park in my driveway?
Normally yes, but there will be times when no access is available. Construction activities will be scheduled to minimize the amount of disturbance to the neighbourhood, but there will be times when direct access to your driveway will be blocked. Excavations will be filled as work progresses to restore access to as many properties as possible. If you have specific concerns about access or mobility, please contact the project team so we can best accommodate you.
- I have watched the other sewer projects. Why do construction crews keep digging holes in the same places?
In a typical project of this nature you can expect to see some areas excavated 3-4 times due to construction logistics. The excavations are filled in and re-excavated when needed in order to reduce the safety risk to the public and restore access to properties. In new construction where there are no existing residents, new infrastructure is only partially buried to protect the pipes from equipment and perform testing. We do not have that luxury in this project; however, the area is blessed with easily excavated and backfilled material