“The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change is committed to protecting the environment and human health by seeing that sewage is properly managed.” stated Gary Wheeler – Ministry of Environment and Change Canada.
“In Ontario, property owners are responsible to ensure their sewage works are properly designed and maintained, and meet provincial laws.”
“The River Valley Park sewage works failed and cannot handle the sewage flows generated by the mobile homes causing regular breakouts. We understand that this is a very serious issue for the residents of the park.”
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change issued six orders.
“On more than one occasion, the orders were amended to provide the owner with additional time to comply.
Two of the orders relate to unreported sewage spilled on the ground and into the Root River due to breakout of the failed sewage treatment system. The orders required immediate measures to stop the spills.
While the order was appealed by the owner, it was upheld by a Health Services Review and Appeal Board decision.
The Ministry is waiting for the park owner to provide a complete approval application for the sewage system.
The owner is required to provide a complete Application for an Environmental Compliance Approval for the required septic. Property owners are responsible to ensure their sewage works are properly designed and maintained, and meet provincial laws. Should the chosen design require the dismantling of the current system, the cost of providing an acceptable system would be at the owner’s expense.
We recognize that this is a very serious situation for the residents. The owner of the park did not comply with several requests and orders to conduct necessary work on the sewage system and the site became a health hazard to residents. In Ontario, property owners are responsible to ensure their sewage works are properly designed and maintained, and meet provincial laws, which was not done here.
The Ministry continues to work with Algoma Public Health to address the environmental and public health issues associated with the sewage works at the River Valley Park. MOECC and Algoma Public Health and have worked together to resolve the issue of the failed sewage system at River Valley and meet on a regular basis, at a minimum weekly and often daily, to share information and discuss the status of this serious issue. The MOECC transparently shares any information with the health unit that would be relevant to them enforcing their mandate. Anyone with health-related questions is advised to call Algoma Public Health.
On August 10th, 2017, the owners of River Valley Park ‘HARJEET SINGH DUSANJH, JASBIR SINGH DUSANJH AND RIVER VALLEY PARK INC.’ were heard before the Health Services Review and Appeal Board in Toronto, Ontario – ‘IN THE MATTER OF AN APPEAL UNDER SECTION 13 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7’.
‘This is an appeal from an Order dated June 8, 2017 made by Kara Flannigan, a Public Health Inspector of Algoma Public Health (APH) pursuant to section 13 of the Health 2 Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA) ordering the Appellants to close the mobile home park known as River Valley Park (RVP) by August 31, 2017, to ensure it is vacated by the closing date, to maintain provision of all services, such as but not limited to electricity, water and sewage disposal until the park is closed, and to ensure residents are protected from exposure to the sewage. The Order is to remain in effect until the park is closed and vacant.’
Algoma Public Health’s Jonathan Bouma stated in an interview with Superior Media – myAlgoma.ca, “The Health Services Review and Appeal Board – upheld the decision to close River Valley Park.
“We have reached out to the owner & are awaiting a response for his plan to fix the (septic) system & / or close the park. We don’t have a concrete plan from him at this point. We are willing to listen and discuss. The owner has to submit an application for review in order for us to start the process.”
“If an application suddenly comes in we (APH and MOECC) will work with the owner to move ahead with a proposed plan. We need participation from the owner. If he wants to move ahead with a proposal – we (MOECC and APH) are all ears.”
Jonathan Bouma stated that as of Friday, Aug. 18, 2017, the APH had not received an application from the owners of River Valley Park.
“The MOECC are the approval and regulatory body for the septic system itself.” he said.
“It’s quite straightforward. There are regulatory steps to follow, but these things take time. Should an application come in – we will listen.”
“We (APH) are concerned with sewage on the ground and the health of the residents and the public. The MOECC will review any application to ensure that the plan meets the environmental specifications necessary.”
“We know that the cost is not insubstantial – We have been working with the owner since last April to find a solution. We know that these things don’t happen quickly – there is application review time – regulatory time and installation time.” stated Bouma. “Winter is coming and we’re running out of time.”
“Advanced treatment units (septic system) like the one at River Valley Park work by dosing and pumping out measured levels of effluent into various beds. It’s a big fancy system but it hasn’t worked properly for a number of years. There are upwards of 60,000 litres of sewage a day being produced by that (RV) sewage system that is not being treated appropriately.”
“If a child got sick – we would be having a different conversation. We are concerned legitimately about the health of the environment and sewage going into the Root River. This has to be owner led – He needs to offer something – a solution that we can work with. We’ve never wanted this park to close. We are not in the business of throwing people out of their homes.”
“We are concerned with the continued provision of services to the park that will have to keep going. We’ve ordered him to maintain services until the park is closed. We hope he will start the application.”