N'Quatqua-Wastewater and Sludge Management

Project Description:
The homes and community buildings throughout the N'Quatqua community are serviced by on-site septic systems. These systems are generally comprised of a buried septic tank with effluent disposal to ground via a drain field. There have been ongoing challenges associated with the performance of the on-site septic systems including sewage backups into homes and effluent ponding in yards. Notwithstanding questions surrounding construction materials / standards and system sizing, approximately half of the on-site septic systems in the community are over 25 years old and considered beyond their expected service life.

Alternate wastewater servicing concepts for the N'Quatqua community are assessed, specifically evaluation of the feasibility of on-site septic systems versus community wastewater servicing. A multiple accounts evaluation of each servicing concept is provided which considers social, environmental, operational, and economic factors. Three (3) wastewater servicing options are identified for N'Quatqua, which are generally described as:
• Option #1 – On-Site Septic Systems - continued use of on-site septic systems for each home / building with upgrades completed as required.
• Option #2 – Clustered Septic Systems – multiple homes / buildings serviced by a shared septic system with others relying on on-site septic systems.
• Option #3 – Community Wastewater System – piped sewage collection system for all homes / buildings with centralized sewage treatment and effluent disposal.

The evaluation suggests Option #3 – Community Wastewater System is preferred. This servicing concept generally consists of:
• A network of gravity sanitary collection sewers;
• Two (2) sewage pump stations configured in series;
• A sanitary forcemain along Ranch Road and Old Dump Road;
• Twin centralized community septic tanks;
• Centralized community drain fields located within the south / east portion of Lot BC83; and
• Upgrades to the existing local septage disposal facility / site.

This servicing concept offers the highest level of service. It addresses current concerns with access to various on-site septic systems for operations and maintenance purposes as well as the impacts to lot use attributed to the on-site septic systems. N'Quatqua understands the proposed community wastewater system represents increased operational complexity and operator attention and is committed to developing / implementing a training plan accordingly. From an environmental perceptive, centralizing the effluent disposal at the identified site near the south border of the community (away from the community water wells and Gates River) is considered a key benefit of this option.

Adverse environmental impacts are not anticipated as the majority of the proposed infrastructure is to be located within previously disturbed areas. 

Recommended Mitigation Measures:
The following mitigation measures and best practices are recommended for the proposed works:
• Dispose of construction waste at an appropriate facility;
• Refuel construction equipment at a dedicated location with appropriate spill containment and similar;
• Implement and maintain erosion and sediment control measures to minimize impacts to surrounding areas;
• If dewatering is required, ensure discharged water is directed to an appropriate location with erosion and sediment control in place; and
• Conduct vegetation / tree clearing between August 12th and March 12th which avoids the nesting season for migratory birds known to frequent the area. Alternatively, an active nest survey could be completed by a Qualified Environmental Professional.

Permits Required:
The following utility / environmental permits are expected to be required:
• The proposed sewer crossing of the Canadian National (CN) Railway will require a Pipeline Crossing / Encroachment Permit;
• A Permit to Construct, Use, and Maintain Works Within the Right-of-Way of a Provincial Public Highway will also be required from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) for the sewer crossing of Highline Road;
• The proposed forcemain crossing of the Gates River will require a Section 11 Water Sustainability Act (WSA) Notification or Approval for the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development (MFLNRORD) and potentially a Request for Review by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO); and
• The wastewater system is being designed in accordance with BC Municipal Wastewater Regulation (MWR); however, MWR Registration of ground discharges on reserve is a topic under review by the BC Ministry of Environment (MoE).

Tree clearing is generally limited to the proposed drain field site. The trees felled will be chipped on site with suitable pieces retained for local use within the community (on-reserve). Accordingly, it is understood that a Timber Permit is not required for this project.


Latest update

June 26, 2023 - Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) issued its Notice of Determination and determined that the project:
- is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.



Indigenous Services Canada
Fasih Siddiqui, Senior Engineer
1138 Melville Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6E 4S3
Telephone: 604-376-0802
Fax: 604-775-7149
Email: Fasih.Siddiqui@sac-isc.gc.ca

  • Location

    • 07991 - NEQUATQUE 1-75805CLSRBC / 75667CLSRBC (British Columbia)
  • Nature of Activity

    • Other, not otherwise specified
  • Assessment Status

    In progress
  • Start Date

  • Proponent

    N'Quatqua First nation
  • Authorities

    • Indigenous Services Canada
  • Assessment Type

    Project on federal lands
  • Reference Number


This map is for illustrative purposes. The markers represent the approximate locations based on available data. More than one marker may be identified for a given assessment.


Nearby assessments

...within 200 kilometres
Date modified: