SOWMA is becoming recognized as a go-to leader in providing onsite wastewater education to the industry, the regulatory community and the general public.
Over the next couple of months, representatives from SOWMA will be providing presentations on onsite wastewater technologies at the Regina CIPHI conference and at the PARCs convention in Saskatoon. Presentations to these and other stakeholder groups ensure industry sustainability. As regulators and homeowners become more aware of the available technologies, complexities and operation and maintenance best practices, they gain a better appreciation and understanding of the need for a professional, trained onsite wastewater industry.
Whenever we hear about onsite wastewater systems failing, the solution always seems to be to bring in a centralized wastewater collection system. The reality however, is that it is not financially feasible in many instances to provide centralized sewers in rural areas. In many rural communities, there is not enough population density to support the construction of such systems let alone to pay for ongoing operation and maintenance.
In fact, onsite wastewater systems are an effective and sustainable solution to managing wastewater in rural areas. Onsite wastewater systems provide many advantages:
- More cost effective than centralized systems
- Ease of maintenance
- Long term sustainability
- Ensures maintenance of the hydraulic cycle
The caveat here is that in order to provide the above advantages, onsite wastewater systems must be designed, installed, operated and maintained properly. Of course even if the system is designed and installed properly, once the contractor leaves the site the system is in the hands of the homeowner whose responsibility it is to operate and maintain the system.
This is the point at which education becomes critical. Prior to leaving the site, the contractor should sit down with the homeowner and review the operation and maintenance requirements of the system. All systems require maintenance. If the homeowner is aware of the proper use and care of this critical infrastructure, it can save them time and money down the road.
The contractor should provide the homeowner with an operation and maintenance manual. The manual should include simple dos and don’ts along with a maintenance log for keeping track of maintenance that has occurred on the system and when the next maintenance is due.
Contractors can access preprinted homeowner manuals from the association or direct homeowners to our website: www.sowma.ca.
At the end of the day, if we work to educate the homeowners it will help to reduce system failure due to poor operation and maintenance habits and that is good for the credibility and sustainability of our industry in the long term.