SPM3 Learning Resources

Welcome to Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC) BC Sewer System Onsite Wastewater Standard Practice Manual version 3 (SPM3) learning resources page. This site has been developed to help in your Onsite Wastewater practice. Note that this SPM Orientation learning initiative is very limited in scope. To achieve the entire set of competencies that ROWPs must have (see OWRP Policy for a complete listing) requires a combination of formal training programs, industry experience and a much greater commitment to self-directed study than is required for this SPM3 orientation.


Getting Started

To get started, we recommend that you review our learning strategy.

What is the Professional Reliance Model?

There are many definitions of what exactly a Professional Reliance Model is and how it applies to Onsite Wastewater Practitioners. In this context, we have chosen a definition from the Professional Reliance Taskforce located on the ASTTBC website. Located on page 5, the definition is "the practice of accepting and relying upon the decisions and advice of professionals who accept responsibility and can be held accountable for the decisions they make and the advice they give. Professional reliance goes beyond simply expecting an individual to competently apply a standard, practice or rule." Onsite Wastewater practitioners are expected to follow this model in their practice; to apply the SPM3 and other regulations, codes, etc.


We value your feedback and if you need other learning resources, not included here, please contact us at fbracht@asttbc.org.



Your learning strategy

Effective learning and preparation for the exam depends on you. Success will require a significant commitment of time and a good strategy for self-directed learning. Consider this step-by-step approach:

  1. Check the Learning Goals document (link/coming soon) to identify 'what you need to know'.
  2. Download the digital version of the SPM3 and learn how to use the ‘click and go’ features of the Table of Contents. The PDF ‘Find’ feature will also be helpful (available in the ‘Edit’ dropdown menu after you ‘Save’ the PDF file from our website link).
  3. Alternatively, obtain a paper version of the SPM3. ASTTBC makes these available for a fee.
  4. Start by reading SPM Volume I with specific attention to Section I- 4.
  5. Watch the videos provided on the resources page – How to Use the Manual, Best Practices and Complaints Process.
  6. Download and read the Summary of Key Changes. At the same time, locate and have an initial look at the SPM sections identified in bold font within that Summary of Key Changes document.
  7. Review the Frequently Asked Question section.
  8. Complete the learning exercises provided below. These will require substantial study of the SPM. You may also need to seek help … from training organizations, other ROWPs, qualified mentors or by contacting ASTTBC directly. There are limitations to the extent of guidance we can provide, but feel free to email questions to Jim Andersen, Compliance Officer, Onsite Wastewater at jandersen@asttbc.org.
  9. There will be free live webinars available soon. A schedule will be posted shorty and pre-registration is required. Recordings of some of the webinars will eventually be available (at this website), but the live sessions will have added learning value from ‘real time’ discussions and Q&A.


Why is learning about SPM3 important for me?

In September 2014, the Ministry of Health with responsibility for the sewer system regulation released the revised 3rd edition of the Standard Practice Manual (SPM3). ASTTBC is providing this learning resource page to inform all ROWPs of the changes being introduced to the new SPM3. This is an important opportunity for all ROWPs to remain current with new practices. All ROWPs must complete either a workshop conducted by ASTTBC throughout the province in the last year or this online learning resource and exam in order to retain their ASTTBC registration in 2015-2016.


Standard Practice Manual version 3

After the SPM3 manual was printed, errors were found. If you would like a PDF copy of the error list, see attached: SPM V3 Errata May 2015 final. If you would like a PDF copy of the most up to date SPM3 manual, see attached: SPM3 manual



How to use the Manual

To learn more about how to use this manual, watch this youtube video from ASTTBC Director, Practice & Compliance Ron Hein.



What are the differences between SPM2 & SPM3

Outlined in this document is a summary of the key differences in the two standards.



Learning Exercises

These exercises are intended to support your learning and prepare you for the exams. It is highly recommended that you use these exercises as a key component of your self-directed learning strategy. To complete them, start by printing a paper copy of the exercise (click the icon), answer those questions, and then check the Check your answers heres.

If you are very familiar with the new SPM3 you can expect to spend one to three hours for completion of each of these exercises. If your self-study of the SPM3 is still a work-in-progress, you can expect to spend significant time referring to the relevant sections of the SPM3. Some experienced ROWPs have commented that to achieve suitable competency requires dozens of hours of SPM3 study. New practitioners can expect an even greater time commitment. These exercises will help you determine if you have achieved the learning goals and help ensure your readiness for the exams.

All participants are welcome to download and use any of these exercises. Installers and Maintenance Providers will find good learning value by completion of the Planning exercises. It is highly recommended that Planners and Inspectors complete all the exercises, including those for Installation and Maintenance. At minimum, you should complete the exercises listed under the heading corresponding to each of your current or anticipated registration categories.

PLANNERS complete the following exercises, in order:

INSPECTORS complete all the Planning exercises listed above plus the Maintenance exercises below.

MAINTENANCE PROVIDERS complete the following:

INSTALLERS complete the following:



Need help?

The purpose of this resource is to help you learn the SPM3, not answer specific questions about your client’s site. If you have SPM3 related questions that you cannot find an answer to on this website, please email your detailed question to Frauke Bracht at ASTTBC.



Do I need to write an exam to confirm I completed the SPM3 training?

If you answer YES to either of the following statements you ARE NOT REQUIRED to write an exam to confirm that you completed the SPM3 training.

  • In April or May 2015, I received a letter from ASTTBC that included the quiz(zes) that I did during the workshop.
  • I have decided to retire or otherwise not to continue as a ROWP.

You ARE REQUIRED to write an exam if you answer YES to either of the following statements:

  • I did not attend, or did not complete, or did not hand in the quiz(zes) at one of the face-to-face training sessions.
  • I became a ROWP or an OWT in BC after January 31, 2015.

If you ARE REQUIRED or if you voluntarily wish to write an exam please click here.



SPM3 Frequently Asked Questions

Click Here to view a list of commonly asked questions. These FAQs will be updated as needed.



Best Practices Videos



SPM3 Webinar


For additional forms and templates please see Reference documents