October 24, 2005

Nova Scotia amends water, wastewater regs, proposes guidelines for manure management

Amendments to Nova Scotia's regulations for water and wastewater facilities, which took effect on September 30, require all operators of drinking water and wastewater facilities to renew their certification every four years. The renewal is conditional upon operators participating in continuing education programs. This is intended to help ensure that the province has skilled and knowledgeable people running public drinking water supplies and wastewater facilities. Nova Scotia's 82 municipal facilities were already required to have certified operators.

The amendments also clarify which other facilities require certified operators. These include registered public drinking water systems serving 500 clients or more, in places such as schools, nursing homes, workplaces and trailer parks. There are about 50 of these facilities in the province.

The rest of the 1,900 registered systems in Nova Scotia serve fewer than 500 people or do not serve the same people on a regular basis. They include rural restaurants, campgrounds, hotels, bed and breakfasts, and some schools and healthcare facilities.

These systems do not require certified operators but water quality must be monitored regularly and problems addressed and reported immediately to the Department of Environment and Labour. The department will work with the departments of Education and of Health to develop a code of practice for schools and health-care facilities in this category. Owners of private water supplies, who are not covered by these regulations (such as homeowners with wells), are still responsible for testing their own water.

With the coming into effect of these amendments, the action plan set out in Nova Scotia's drinking water strategy, launched in 2002, is now fully implemented. The strategy may be viewed on the department's Web site, www.gov.ns.ca/enla/water.

Meanwhile, Nova Scotia's Department of Agriculture and Fisheries is proposing new guidelines aimed at improving management of livestock manure on farms in the province. The proposed revisions will take into account changes to environmental laws, agricultural practices and technologies since the guidelines were last revised, in order to reflect current best management practices.

The draft revised guidelines describe the components for manure storage and establish a method for developing a sound manure management plan and for putting the plan into action. The guidelines apply to all livestock operations, including beef, dairy, sheep, goat, poultry, mink, and hogs, where manure management constitutes a significant component of the farm operation.

A document describing the suggested guidelines provides current information on legislation, nutrient management planning, safety factors and hauling of manure. It is available on the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Web site, www.gov.ns.ca/nsaf/rs/envman/manureguide1_16.pdf.

Comments on the proposed revisions will be accepted until Tuesday, November 15, 2005. They can be forwarded to Lorne Crozier, resource management specialist, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, PO Box 550, Truro, NS B2N 5E3, E-mail crozielm@gov.ns.ca.

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