Tag Archives: Cassen

The Straight Facts on Straight Pipes OpEd

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first_imgSome of us can probably remember a time when a home’s water came from an iron hand-pump and its sewage disposal needs were handled by a little building in the back yard. The time when every home had a hand-pumped well and an outhouse out back is a thing of the past. The same can be said for the time when it was okay to use a straight pipe to empty sewage directly into the environment. Most home and cottage owners in Nova Scotia use appropriate systems to handle their sewage, whether it’s a municipal system or an approved septic system. Recently, residents near the LaHave River in Lunenburg County expressed their concern that raw sewage is entering the river. This sewage is coming from homes that do not use a septic system. They release sewage directly into the environment through straight pipes. I share Nova Scotians’ desire to protect this beautiful and historic river — and the environment throughout our province. When the Department of Environment becomes aware of a straight pipe being used by a home or cottage, we take action by requiring the property owner to upgrade to an approved septic system. In order to investigate, the law says we must have reasonable and probable grounds that there is a straight pipe in use. The challenge is that some property owners may not be aware that they have an illegal straight pipe. Meanwhile, others wrongly believe that their straight pipe is grandfathered and they are exempt from the law. Let me be clear: there are no provisions in place anywhere in Nova Scotia for raw sewage to enter the environment through straight pipes. It’s important for all homes and cottages to have appropriate, properly working septic systems. Not only does this protect our environment, it helps prevent property damage from sewage backups and the contamination of well water. If you have any questions, or for more information on the proper disposal of wastewater, visit our website at http://www.gov.ns.ca/nse/wastewater/ or drop in to your local Environment office. We will continue our efforts to educate home and cottage owners about the rules around sewage disposal, and we’re seeking the assistance of communities throughout the province to help spread the word. Thank you in advance for your help in keeping our waterways and our environment clean and safe for families to enjoy today and for generations to come. -30-last_img read more