The Fraser Valley is a diverse region with numerous urban and rural property types. For the latter, there can be risks of aquifer and watershed contamination caused by poor operation and maintenance of septic systems.
Septic systems are costly to repair or replace, so buyers and sellers need to know if such systems are functioning properly. Furthermore, some mortgage lenders may require a septic tank inspection as part of their mortgage approval process. We would like to share the following information with you to help you to proactively guide, advise and protect your clients in case you come across a property that has a septic system in place.
Onsite Sewage System Management
Helpful information about a number of considerations regarding sewage system management can be found on the BC government’s website here.
Property Disclosure Statement
The importance of understanding sewage systems is underscored in the Property Disclosure Statement (PDS). To that end, under Section 2 (Services), the following information is requested:
- The type of water system(s) on a property.
- Whether there are any known problems with the water system(s).
- Whether there are any available records regarding the amount of available water.
- The type of sanitary sewer system that the property is connected to.
- Whether there are any known problems with the sanitary sewer system.
- Whether there are any current service contracts (e.g. septic removal or maintenance).
- Whether there are any available maintenance records.
Section 2 of the PDS can help to enhance buyer and seller property knowledge by facilitating the collection and sharing of water system information.
Given the possible financial and environmental costs that are linked to faulty sewage systems, it would be prudent for you to discuss inspection options with your clients and to have proper inspections done. More information can be found on the BC government’s website listed above.
CREA’s Standards of Business Practice
When dealing with sewage systems you should also review the following provisions within CREA’s Standards of Business Practice:
- Article 1 – Informed of Essential Facts
- Article 3 – Primary Duty to Client
- Article 4 – Discovery of Facts
- Article 10 – Outside Professional Advice
- Article 12 – Skilled and Conscientious Service
The FVREB takes breaches of the Standards of Business Practice seriously – violations can result in fines and/or other remedial actions. You can avoid this by following the rules. And if you’re unsure about something, the best place to begin your search for information and clarification is with your managing broker.
As noted on the BC government’s website, the following associations also play a key role in the treatment and management of onsite sewage systems.
- Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC – https://asttbc.org
- BC Onsite Sewage Association – http://www.bcossa.org
- BC Water and Waste Association – http://www.bcwwa.org
- Engineers and Geoscientists of BC – https://www.egbc.ca
- Western Canada Onsite Wastewater Management Association – http://www.wcowma-bc.com
Source: FVREB Professional Standards