On June 29, 2017, the Municipality received confirmation of provincial and federal funding for the LaHave River Straight Pipe Replacement Program. We are very excited to finally have funding confirmed for this important project.
There are an estimated 600 straight pipes putting raw sewage into the river and testing has shown that the level of fecal contamination exceeds federal standards for swimming or boating. The Municipality is committed to seeing a straight pipe free Lower LaHave River by 2023.
The Municipality is developing a Wastewater Management District, and all properties within the District will be required to demonstrate the existence of approved systems. If an approved system is not in place, property owners would apply to the Municipality for the replacement of their straight pipe. MODL will manage the design and installation of an approved on-site septic system for the property.
The project is based on full cost recovery for the Municipality: any program costs not recoverable via federal and provincial grants will be recovered from property owners who benefit from the replacements. The majority, but not all of the program costs, are eligible for two-thirds cost sharing from the federal and provincial governments, resulting in the benefitting property owners contributing a little over one-third of the total project costs. The property owner will have up to seven years to pay off the cost. At the end of the seven years, ownership of the system will transfer to the property owner.
Under the proposal, properties are eligible if:
- It is in the proposed Wastewater Management District ( see the proposed Wastewater Management District map )
- There is a straight pipe on the property;
- The owner agrees to pay for any capital costs not covered by grants and maintenance costs of the new septic system.
Can I install my own system and then apply for the grant from the Municipality?
No. The Municipality must manage the design and installation of the systems to make sure they meet environmental standards and to meet the federal funding requirements.
What happens if I sell my home before the 7 years is up?
If you sell your home, the charge remains with the home. The new property owner will be responsible for the Recovery Charge payments and the Annual Maintenance Charge.
What happens if the system malfunctions?
The Municipality is responsible for the ongoing maintenance and repair of the on-site sewage disposal system for 7 years from the date of the Certificate of Installation. If the system fails during the period of Municipal responsibility due to improper use of the system by the Property Owner, the Municipality may choose to repair the system and charge any costs incurred to the Property Owner, or immediately transfer the full responsibility of the system to the Property Owner and notify Nova Scotia Environment for compliance purposes.
When will my system be installed?
The LaHave River Project Management Team will review the list of Property Owners awaiting installation on a regular basis. Your system installation date will be discussed with you in advance, and may depend on the availability of contractors, weather, or the complexity of your location or system required. We anticipate installing 5 systems in 2017, 50 - 100 systems in 2018 and up to 100 systems annually until 2023.
I have a commercial or non-residential system – will the grants still cover 2/3 of the cost?
You may be required to pay a higher percentage of the cost of the system, as there is a cap on the federal and provincial funding. The maximum contribution of federal and provincial funding allocated toward reducing the Recovery Charge shall not exceed $19,667 plus a 2.5% escalation each year and applicable taxes. For non-residential properties that require an On-Site Sewage Disposal Systems that exceed the capacity requirements of a single family, four-bedroom house, the Property Owner shall be responsible for additional cost of the larger capacity system. The additional cost to be recovered from the Property Owner shall be determined by the LaHave River Project Management Team.
What if I don’t want to participate?
The LaHave Straight Pipe Replacement Program is mandatory for Property Owners with a straight pipe within the Wastewater Management District. The Nova Scotia Department of Environment has committed to enforcing compliance under the Nova Scotia Environment Act.
How can I learn more?