March 22, 2004

Nova Scotia to clarify, update wastewater facility regulations

The Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Labour (NSEL) has proposed amendments to the provincial water and wastewater facility regulations which would clarify and update the regulations and require the renewal of system operators' certificates every four years, conditional upon the completion of continuing training.

Other revisions are intended to address industry shifts and technological advancements. For example, the existing regulations do not allow system operators to take advantage of advances such as remote monitoring equipment.

The proposed amendments also clarify operational requirements for both municipal and small water systems. NSEL is proposing to move the point scheme for classifying water and wastewater facilities from the existing regulation to a separate Facility Classification Standards (FCS) document, which would be updated periodically and referenced in the regulation. The FCS point scheme has been updated to the most current version published by the Association of Boards of Certification.

The current regulation also references the guidelines for monitoring public drinking water supplies. Revisions to the guidelines are being proposed to clarify the requirements for "approved" and "registered" public water supplies. Specific sections would apply to either or both supply types. The revised guidelines have been updated to reflect the latest bacteriological water quality standards, and additional guidance has been included for special users.

The proposed revisions are intended to bring the regulations into line with the principles of Nova Scotia's Drinking Water Strategy, launched in October 2002, as well as the recommendations of the Walkerton Inquiry report. Environment and Labour Minister Kerry Morash noted that his department has been working with municipal representatives for the past 18 months to develop improvements to the regulations.

Comments are due by April 2, 2004 and should be directed to Nova Scotia Environment and Labour, Policy Division, PO Box 697, 5151 Terminal Rd, 5th Floor, Halifax B3J 2T8, FAX 902/424-0575, E-mail policy@gov.ns.ca. The full text of the proposed revisions may be viewed on-line at www.gov.ns.ca/enla/water/facility.htm.

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