The Onsite Wastewater Certification Program

On May 31, 2005, major changes to the regulatory framework for onsite sewerage systems occurred with the introduction of the Sewerage System Regulation (SSR) by the BC Ministry of Health.

The Sewerage System Regulation brought a significant change of role for government, replacing the conventional government oversight approach with a professional reliance model. The Health Authorities no longer approve or issue permits for onsite wastewater treatment and dispersal systems. The Sewerage System Regulation places primary responsibility on owners and the persons who construct onsite wastewater systems.

The Sewerage System Regulation specifies that only Authorized Persons (or an owner supervised by an Authorized Person) may construct or maintain onsite sewage treatment and dispersal systems. A person is qualified to act as an Authorized Person only if the person holds a registration certificate issued by the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia (ASTTBC), or is registered as a Professional by a professional association such as the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC.

To meet the requirements of the Sewerage System Regulation, ASTTBC certifies Authorized Persons as Registered Onsite Wastewater Practitioners (ROWP). Allowable scope of practice is defined within four categories of certification – Installer, Maintenance Provider, Planner and Private Inspector. ROWPs may be certified in one or more categories.

ROWP Installers are responsible for the physical installation and repair of onsite wastewater systems in accordance with specifications provided by a ROWP Planner or a Professional.

ROWP Maintenance Providers are responsible for maintenance of onsite wastewater systems in accordance with the maintenance plan provided by a ROWP Planner or a Professional.

ROWP Planners are responsible for assessment of the site and soil conditions, system design, construction review and certification of system construction.

ROWP Private Inspectors are responsible for assessment of existing systems, typically to support real estate transactions or building permit applications.

The Onsite Wastewater Certification Board establishes ROWP certification requirements and determines certification approval. For more information, refer to the Onsite Wastewater Certification Policy. To apply for ROWP certification, refer to the BECOME A ROWP tab.

ASTTBC is committed to ensuring our members meet practice requirements with professionalism and integrity. ASTTBC members are obliged to comply with the ASTTBC  Code of Ethics and ROWP Practice Guidelines. A disciplinary process facilitates administration of complaints, investigations, practice review and disciplinary hearings. For more information, refer to the COMPLAINT PROCESS tab.