The Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine (RDKS) has taken the initiative to develop a Liquid Waste Management Plan (LWMP) for the Lakelse Lake and Jackpine Flats area of the Regional District. The Provincial Waste Management Act encourages municipalities and regional districts to develop LWMPs for approval by the Ministry of Environment (formerly Water, Land and Air Protection). An approved LWMP authorizes the discharge of waste in accordance with the objectives of the Plan. A LWMP consists of three stages. The Regional District has submitted the Stage 3 Plan to the Ministry of Environment for approval and has initiated a Lakelse Lake Community Sewer Environmental Assessment.
The RDKS has taken the initiative to undertake this planning process for a number of reasons including the following:
Jackpine Flats Area
The existing subdivision is constructed on a very coarse gravel/cobblestone area with a fairly high water table. Water supply is by individual wells and sewage disposal is by septic tank and tile distribution fields. There is a general concern that septic disposal; agricultural activity including the keeping of horses; and the importing of large quantities of "hog fuel" for lawn development may be contaminating the groundwater.
The area is currently zoned for 2 acre and 10 acre minimum parcel sizes. However, there is some pressure to allow further 2 acre subdivision. The RDKS is concerned with the impact of further subdivision on the environment and, specifically, on the groundwater supply for the area and potential contamination of the Lakelse Lake watershed. The watershed includes two major creeks, Williams Creek and Sockeye Creek, both of which flow through Jackpine Flats.
The BC Ministry of Environment Summary Report of Drinking Water Quality Monitoring at Jackpine Flats in 2002 - 2003.
Lakelse Lake Area
The eastern shore of Lakelse Lake has been partially developed for many years as a mix of permanent, seasonal and recreational developments. Water sources affected are the Lake, wells and streams, which flow through the area. Much of the area is very low and the water table is very close to the ground surface. There is concern that the septic tanks and the tile fields are contaminating both the groundwater and surface water.
Over the years, an increasing number of seasonal recreation lots have been converted to permanent year-round residences. The RDKS is concerned with the ability of the original septic tanks and disposal fields, which may have initially been installed for summer use only, to properly serve full-time residences.
Depending on the lot size, current zoning may allow for a house and up to two guest cabins on each lot. In some cases three dwellings have been built and there is concern with the ability of the septic tanks and tile fields to properly handle the sewage.
During high water a number of disposal fields are under water and no doubt contaminate the lake. There is concern that a number of lots may not have properly constructed and/or functioning septic systems and effectively discharge directly to the lake.
There is pressure to allow further subdivision in the area and the RDKS requires direction on liquid waste management and safeguarding water supply reserves. The RDKS and residents in the area would like to quantify the existing problems and develop a plan to correct them.
The western shore of the lake was developed as seasonal, recreational water access-only and now lots have road access, much of which is not registered as public road. There is pressure to allow further subdivision and the RDKS would like a LWMP developed to provide guidance before considering any further subdivision.
The RDKS has retained a qualified consultant to provide the technical support and advice to prepare the Stage 1 Report for the LWMP.
A Technical Advisory Committee and a Public Advisory Committee, appointed by the RDKS Board, are also assisting the RDKS with the Plan.
The BC Ministry of Environment Summary Report of Drinking Water Quality Monitoring at Lakelse Lake in 2002 - 2003.
The focus of Stage 1 Liquid Waste Management Plan (LWMP) was to assess the impact of human habitation and its attendant wastewater discharges on the quality of the ground and surface waters in the Lakelse Lake/Jackpine Flats area. The concerns are based on the fact that most, if not all, of the residences in the study area are on septic systems and that some of these systems may be failing and causing environmental problems. These problems include the discharge of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) and/or fecal contaminants, including fecal coliforms, to the ground and surface waters, resulting in potential issues with algal and aquatic weed growth, fish toxicity and/or drinking water source contamination. Stage 1 has also involved looking at potential solutions to contamination problems and the direction for Stage 2.
Many issues were investigated in Stage 2. The option of increasing the minimum lot size was considered; some septic tank and well locations were identified to assist with further planning; and a septic tank monitoring system was examined. The RDKS hopes to determine, with help from the Ministry of Environment and DNA testing, the source of fecal contamination (whether it is human or animal).
The RDKS is considering, as distributed through the mail, the expansion of a septic tank education program for residents. This program makes residents aware of the proper location, construction, care and maintenance of their septic tanks. Well head protection will also be a component of this program.
Investigation into the connection between Elodea Canadensis, silt, iron and/or phosphorus has continued during Stage 2.
In July of 2005, the Regional District distributed a newsletter summarizing Stage 1 findings and outlining projects to be undertaken in Stage 2 and contained a property owner survey seeking information about your current domestic water source and septic disposal system. Your assistance in responding to the online survey is appreciated.
With additional recommendations from Associated Engineering consultant, David Forgie, the RDKS has also investigated the following in Stage 2:
Lakelse Lake Area West
The RDKS investigated the septic tank system flood plain and setback encroachments, as well as wastewater disposal options.
Lakelse Lake Area East
The RDKS investigated the septic tank system flood plain and setback encroachments in this area and examined wastewater treatment options (cluster versus on-site), as well as water supply options (fire flow versus domestic only). The RDKS also completed an investigation of water and wastewater treatment within the Provincial Park campground.
The RDKS determined that retrofitting older "grandfathered" septic systems may be appropriate and that a community water system in this area is not necessary. The RDKS reviewed existing septic tank disposal field trench designs and confirmed they do not provide adequate treatment. Future on-site disposal will be required to comply with the new Provincial Sewerage System Regulations (PDF) which came into effect on May 31, 2005. A new Sewerage System Standard Practice Manual (PDF), issued by the province in September of 2006, is available to assist with the necessary compliance.
The RDKS expanded the Ground Water Monitoring Program in cooperation with the Ministry of Land, Water and Air Protection. Preliminary information indicates that the groundwater in the Jackpine Flats community appears to be a good quality and that the groundwater flow was in the direction of Sockeye Creek at the time of these preliminary investigations.
* Technical memorandums will continue to be provided on this page.
Final Stage 1 Summary (PDF)
Stage 1 Technical Memorandum
- No. 1 - Summary of Background Studies (PDF)
- No. 2 - Wastewater Basics (PDF)
- No. 3 - Wastewater Treatment Jurisdictional Issues (PDF)
- No. 4 - Potential Reasons to Change the Status Quo (PDF)
- No. 5 - Alternatives to Conventional On-Site Septic Tank Wastewater Treatment (PDF)
- No. 6 - Alternative Potable Water Supply Options for Lakelse Lake Residents (PDF)
DRAFT Stage 2 Summary (PDF)
Stage 2 Newsletter (PDF)
Stage 2 Technical Memorandum
- No. 1 - Investigation of Communal Wastewater Treatment for Lakelse Lake East (PDF)
- No. 2 - Further Investigations of Water Supply Options (PDF)
- No. 3 - Review of Septic Tank Related Setback and Flood Plain Issues (PDF)
- No. 4 - Lakelse Lake Provincial Park Campground Wastewater Treatment Options (PDF)
- No. 5 - Review of the New Sewerage System Regulations (PDF)
- No. 6 - Additional Investigation of Drinking Water Supply Options (PDF)
- No. 7 - Review of the Current Septic Tank Disposal Trench Designs (PDF)
- No. 8 - Management Programs for On-Site Wastewater Treatment Systems (PDF)
Stage 3 Discussion Papers
- No. 1 - Communal Wastewater Treatment Effluent Disposal Options (PDF)
- No. 2 - Potential Cost Recovery Methods (PDF)
- No. 3 - Overall Lakelse Lake Wastewater System Options and Costs (PDF)
- No. 4 - Estimated Costs of Operating a Septic System Management Program (PDF)
- No. 5 - Proposed LWMP Implementation Plan (PDF)
Stage 3 Summary (PDF)
Stage 3 newsletter (PDF)
Stage 3 Public Open Houses
November 14, 2007 at the Mount Layton Hotsprings Resort, 3739 Highway 37, Lakelse Lake, B.C.
November 15, 2007 at the Crest Hotel, 222 1st Avenue West, Prince Rupert, B.C.
Open houses will commence at 3:00 pm. Representatives from the Ministry of Environment, Fisheries & Oceans, Northern Health, BC Parks, the Lakelse Watershed Society and the RDKS will be present to provide information and answer questions. A formal presentation will be delivered at 6:30 pm by project consultant Mr. David Forgie, Associated Engineering.