The North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority (NBMCA) was founded in 1972 by the Province of Ontario and the NBMCA’s 10 member municipalities. A non-profit organisation, the NBMCA works closely with the public to ensure the environmental health of the region’s watershed. The NBMCA is one of 36 Conservation Authorities who are members of Conservation Ontario.
In 1996, the North Bay – Mattawa Conservation Authority (NBMCA) was assigned the role of managing the septic program in the Nipissing District through the Environmental Protection Act. When the regulations for septic systems were transferred to the Ontario Building Code (OBC) in 1998, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing retained the NBMCA as the principal authority for the Nipissing District and expanded the area to include the District of Parry Sound. Today, the septic program is an integral component of the NBMCA’s planning and development department. Like all of the NBMCA’s services, the septic program is approached from both a scientific watershed perspective and from a commitment to serve the municipalities and residents in our area. The issuance of permits is an activity mandated by the OBC. The NBMCA also offers additional services such as compliance, file reviews, planning and development reviews, re-inspections and educational information.
Overall, the septic program is self-sustaining. The NBMCA’s annual revenue for the septic program is derived primarily from application fees. Profit from the septic program (if any) is kept in a “Building Permit Reserve Fund” specifically for the septic program (as mandated by the Ontario Building Code) in order to continue providing a consistent level of service despite the economy and number of housing starts.
Program Area one: Permits
Sewage system permits for all classes of systems are issued under Part 8 of the Ontario Building Code. Permits are also required for tanks and/or bed replacements. Generally, three inspections are required for new systems. This program area also includes the issuance of conditional permits, which are provided for extreme cases (ex: winter conditions) in order to avoid delays in construction and/or occupancy.
Program Area two: Re-Inspection
The re-inspection program area covers two activities: group re-inspection programs and individual re-inspections. Group re-inspection programs are developed and delivered in partnership with a municipality or other group. Due to efficiencies in scale, group rates may apply. For areas not currently involved in a group re-inspection program, individuals may apply for an individual re-inspection (previously referred to as a “performance level review”). Re-inspections are a visual check to identify malfunctioning systems. It must be noted that all re-inspections (whether group or individual) are voluntary. Access to a property without the owner’s consent is only permissible as described by the Ontario Building Code.
Program Area three: Planning & Development
The NBMCA offers additional planning services to both municipalities and individuals with regards to the OBC’s Part 8 requirements for suitability of sites, proposed construction, renovations, etc… The NBMCA’s qualified staff also review Planning Act applications, and review the septic related implications for severance and zoning applications.
Program Area four: Compliance
The NBMCA’s certified inspectors investigate any reported complaints regarding malfunctioning septic systems. When a malfunctioning system is confirmed, an order may be issued under Part 8 of the OBC. Occurrences are kept on file, listed as either open or closed. Open occurrences (ie. not yet remedied by the owner) are monitored for follow up by the NBMCA. In 2007, the NBMCA investigated 83 occurrences.
Program Area five: Legal Inquiries
The NBMCA offers property owners, the legal and real estate community access to the NBMCA’s database and program files to inquire on the status of permits, work orders and capability of existing septic systems.
Program Area six: Education
When conducting inspections or responding to inquiries, the NBMCA’s eight full time septic staff aim to educate property owners on how to best care for their septic system. In addition, the NBMCA produces an annual septic newsletter and has developed a pamphlet entitled “Caring for your Septic System”. The NBMCA’s eight septic staff are complemented by the NBMCA’s knowledgeable support staff who help guide clients through the application process.