Application for Sewers: Costs and Fees

What are the costs for connection to the sewer system?
Please contact West Shore Environmental Services directly to determine exact costs for connection to the Langford sewer system.

What is a Sewer Capital Recovery Fee (SCRF)?
The Sewer Capital Recovery Fee is a one-time fee charged to the applicant by West Shore Environmental Services at the time of the sewer connection application in order to recover the cost of the installation of sewer lines and related infrastructure in general. Often, this SCRF will be charged to property owners wishing to connect an existing structure to a West Shore Environmental Services constructed sewer; other times, it will be charged to a developer if the application is for a new development or subdivision wishing to connect to a West Shore Environmental Services constructed sewer.

Sewer Capital Recovery Fees are assessed by either West Shore Environmental Services or the City of Langford and are paid for each single family equivalent based on the current property zoning and development potential.

What are the Annual User Fees (AUF) and how are they billed?
Annual User Fees are collected to help offset the cost of operation and maintenance of the Langford sewer system.

Annual User Fees are based on your winter domestic water consumption averaged over 12 months and are invoiced by West Shore Environmental Services in June of each year.

What is a Physical Connection Fee (PCF)?
Physical Connection Fees are charged to cover the cost of installation of sewer services to new or existing properties where main line sewers already exist but the property was not serviced.

Physical Connection Fees are determined by the size of the connecting pipe required to provide service.

What is the grinder pump subsidy?
West Shore Environmental Services will subsidize grinder pump supply costs for certain properties. Property owners who wish to apply for the subsidy offer must do so within the first six months of the sewer service being available for use.

West Shore Environmental Services will provide grinder pumps at a subsidized rate to existing lots (one to each lot only) where those lots (residences) are impacted by water bodies including lakes, creeks, ponds, wetlands and other environmentally sensitive areas. The subsidy does not extend to new residences constructed in such areas after September 29, 2004.

Households (typically in strata situations) that currently pump to a common disposal field with effluent type pumps and who will be required to change their pump to a grinder type pump to connect to the new sewer built by West Shore Environmental Services may also be eligible to receive the subsidy. 

The subsidy does not extend to strata developments constructed after September 29, 2004.

Are the sewer fees fixed?
The fees West Shore Environmental Services charged were fixed for the first five years after signing of the partnership agreement with the City of Langford on September 20, 2004. Fees and rates are governed by the City and as such, account setup fees, user fees and physical connection fees may be increased annually as approved by City Council.

View the complete sewer partnership agreement

Can I pay sewer fees on my property taxes?
No. West Shore Environmental Services is a private company and has no means of billing through municipal taxes.

Sewers are very close to my residence. What is the procedure to have the Langford sewer system extended to service my property?
City of Langford and West Shore Environmental Services have agreed that future sewer construction would only be approved with the intention that sewers be constructed in response to market demand and economic conditions. The City of Langford has requested and West Shore Environmental Services has agreed that all sewer extensions be funded in a manner so that there is no negative financial impact on the sewer utility. This means that any sewer extension constructed under the direction of West Shore Environmental Services would require full cost recovery from the development or homeowner groups directly benefiting from the extension. It is further understood that the City and West Shore Environmental Services may mutually agree to construct sewers that do not meet the above requirements in order to address community priorities, matters of public health and protection of the environment or other situations as deemed appropriate.

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Selection of Your Sewer Service Location

Where is the best location for my new sewer service connection and how do I select it?
When construction begins in your area, West Shore Environmental Services' contractor will place a colored stake at the proposed sewer service location and hand deliver a letter to each property.

The letter will suggest the staked location is the “preferred” location based on the current engineering design, however, should you prefer a different location, contact information is provided in the letter to allow you to meet on-site with a senior construction inspector to review and determine a suitable alternate service location.

 

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Connecting to the Langford Sewer System

Where is the best location for my new sewer service connection and how do I select it?
Remember to plan your connection carefully; you will not be able to use your plumbing system during the connection and testing of the service connection.

Is it mandatory to connect to the Langford sewer system?
Should your current disposal system not function as intended or cause or contribute to a health hazard, and Langford sewers are available fronting your property, you will be required to connect as ordered by the Island Health Authority.

City Council is preparing a bylaw that will require all properties that have a sewer main available for connection be required to connect by the end of 2019. All properties that receive a sewer main after the date of the bylaw shall be required to connect either by the end of 2019 or within one year of the sewer main being available for connection, whichever is later. 

When and who will determine the route that sewer connections must take to reach the main line sewer?
Property owners are consulted during construction of mainline sewers in order to select a suitable location for each individual sewer service with the goal of minimizing cost and disruption to the property. It will be up to the property owner and his/her contractor to determine the on-site details.

Will each property be connected individually or can properties connect in pairs?
Individually, however, it may be desirable in some instances to utilize a common trench. Common trench installation may require the property owners to provide a private easement. Such an easement would require filing with BC Land Titles office.

Who is responsible for the sewer works on my property?
Work on private property (other than municipal easements) will be the owner’s responsibility. Conversely, private residents cannot work within the municipal road right-of-way. Any sewer works within the municipal road right-of-way must be completed by West Shore Environmental Services forces.

Can property owners seek their own contractors to install the sewer connections?
Yes. All on-site works are the responsibility of the homeowner. You are encouraged to solicit prices from various plumbing contractors to ensure you get a fair price. Ensure the plumber/contractor has a valid business license to work in the City of Langford.

West Shore Environmental Services can provide a list of capable contractors if requested.

What is the minimum pipe size for a sewer connection?
A typical residential home can be serviced by gravity with a 100mm (4") diameter service. Duplexes or multi-family units may require 150mm (6”) diameter connections.

Low pressure sewer services are typically 40mm (1-1/2”) or 50mm (2”) in diameter.

What are the steps for connecting to the sewer system?
Choose a qualified plumbing contractor to connect your house to the service provided at your property line. You might consider organizing your neighbors to engage one contractor for your block which may result in a cost saving.

Complete a sewer application at West Shore Environmental Services and pay the appropriate fees (see also “What are the costs for connection to the sewer system” and “What are my payment options”) after which West Shore Environmental Services will issue a Sewer Authorization form.

With the Sewer Authorization in hand, you or your contractor can obtain a plumbing permit from the City of Langford for a nominal fee of approximately $50.00, not including any damage deposit.

After your contractor completes the connection, the connection will be inspected by the City of Langford. All on-site works are to be constructed to the BC Plumbing Code and any applicable bylaws or regulations.

For those requiring pumps, see also “Low Pressure Sewer Systems and Grinder Pumps”.

What happens to my existing septic tank?
Once your sewer is connected to the Langford sewer system, the City of Langford bylaws require that your existing septic tank be decommissioned within 30 days of connection.

Why do I have to decommission my septic tank?
City bylaws require that all septic tanks be decommissioned in conjunction with connection to the Langford sewer system.

Capital Regional District Bylaw #2922 - CRD Sewer Use Bylaw prohibits the discharge of septage into the CRD sewer system. Since the City discharges directly to the CRD system, their bylaw has jurisdiction within Langford.

What is involved in decommissioning my septic tank?
Your septic tank and/or treatment plant must be pumped out and the contents disposed of in a lawful manner; a receipt for pump-out may be required.

The bottom of the septic tank/treatment plant is to be removed or broken-out and the tank filled with compacted sand or gravel.

What are the on-site costs for connection to the sewer system?
We encourage residents to obtain several quotes to ensure a fair price. The on-site costs will vary from property to property; most homes should be able to connect at an approximate cost of $2,500 to $5,000.

Those homes with extensive landscaping and a long service trench will most likely be more expensive. Other cost factors include rock blasting, pavement and concrete driveway or sidewalk restoration.


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Low Pressure Sewer Systems and Grinder Pumps

Will I need a pump?

You typically only need a pump under the following conditions:

  • If you are serviced by a low pressure sewer system; in this situation you should consider installing a WSES approved grinder pump.
  • If your main floor or basement (with plumbing) is lower than the gravity sewer main in the street; in this situation you may install a grinder pump or a solids handling pump provided it meets all bylaw requirements.
What is a low pressure sewer (LPS) system?

Low pressure sewer systems are very often installed in low lying areas, areas fronting lakes and environmentally sensitive areas. LPS systems cost less in comparison to conventional gravity sewer systems due to smaller pipes and shallow narrower trenches.

LPS systems rely on each house being equipped with a pump which grinds raw sewage into a slurry and delivers it into a small diameter pressure distribution system which eventually discharges into a conventional gravity collection system.

LPS systems are engineered designs requiring that all grinder pumps be alike. These designs utilize specific types of grinder pumps which operate in conjunction with each other.

Why preferred grinder pumps?

The City of Langford has adopted certain preferred grinder pump packages as the standard grinder pump unit for low pressure systems based on the outstanding performance, long term warranty and excellent repair records.

If your property is serviced with sanitary sewer by a low pressure sewer (LPS) system, one of the preferred grinder pumps has most likely been utilized in the design of this LPS system.

While it is not mandatory to use the preferred models, the LPS system you are connecting to is a pressurized system which has been engineered with these models in mind. Among other features such as a built-in anti-siphon valve, the preferred pumps are designed to work together should several of the individual pumps come on to the system at one time. Alternate pumps may not have this capability.

While an alternate pump may be able to pump against the static head of the system, it may not be suitable under certain dynamic conditions. For this reason, we require that you retain the services of a Professional Engineer (registered in the Province of British Columbia) to review any alternate pump selections and provide us with written confirmation that the chosen alternate pump will operate satisfactorily under both static and dynamic conditions. Alternate pump installations must also be approved by the City of Langford. 

Despite the fact that this information may be required, West Shore Environmental Services cannot assure satisfactory operation of an alternate pump installation while operating on a LPS system. Furthermore, West Shore Environmental Services cannot be held responsible for any damages that may arise from installation of any pump other than the preferred model the system may have been designed for.

What happens during a power outage?

Unless you have a standby generator, your pump will not operate during power outages.

Typically, during a power outage domestic water consumption is reduced. The preferred units have adequate storage for approximately 7.5 hours at a reduced inflow rate.

Why do I need a grinder pump when my house is high above the road?

If you are serviced by a low pressure sewer system and your home is higher than the street you will still require a grinder pump as you must grind the sewage into a slurry to pass it through the small diameter distribution system and to the point of discharge which will most likely be higher than your home.

What size is the grinder pump assembly?

The preferred grinder pump assemblies consist of a high density polyethylene (HDPE) chamber approximately 72” tall by 30” – 36” in diameter. A remotely mounted electronic control/alarm panel is also supplied.

What is the average life of a grinder pump?

The manufacturer’s report the preferred grinder pumps have been known to operate for up to 10 – 15 years without incident providing they are properly maintained.

Who owns, operates and maintains the grinder pump?

The property owner is responsible for installation, operation and maintenance costs of the grinder pump.

What is the warranty on the preferred grinder pumps?

Within the City of Langford, the suppliers offer an exclusive five year warranty. Should the pump fail to operate satisfactorily, the local warranty representative may replace the core (pump unit) with a new or reconditioned one. Controls and electronics are also covered under the warranty.

What are the annual operating and maintenance costs of a grinder pump?

The preferred grinder pumps have efficient 1hp or 2hp, 240v motors using very little energy. Annual operating and maintenance costs are expected to be approximately $40 to $50 per year.


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Strata Questions

My property is part of a strata and I currently pump to a common disposal field but have the potential to connect to the street by gravity, what are my options?

Should an individual owner within a strata request a sewer service be brought directly to their property, a physical connection fee (PCF) would apply. 

My property is part of a strata, I paid for a physical connection and now have a gravity connection to the Langford sewer system. Does this relieve me of my strata fees?

In this instance, we understand having your own individual connection may not relieve you of your strata fees. This should be discussed with the Strata Corporation.

Does West Shore Environmental Services bill each strata member individually for annual user fees?
Individual bills are determined by whether or not you have your own water meter.  If the strata has one water meter the strata will be billed as a whole.

Can our strata be dissolved?
West Shore Environmental Services does not get involved in Strata Amendments including dissolving of stratas. This would be governed by the Condominium Act, and requires the approval of City of Langford Council. You should seek legal advice on this matter. Do not assume that the potential conversion of your sewer system to public ownership will necessarily allow you to de-stratify. It is the responsibility of the Strata Corporation to determine all requirements for de-stratification before undertaking any connection of sewers to the municipal system.

 

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General Questions

Where can I get further information with regard to the Langford sewer system?

West Shore Environmental Services is located at #103 - 859 Orono Avenue in Langford. Our office hours are Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Contact a West Shore Environmental Services customer service representative at 250-478-2187 or by email at info.westshore@corix.com.

   

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