Resources for Campground Operators
Drinking Water Safety Act:
Ensuring Manitoba’s drinking water suppliers provide safe drinking water “from source to tap” is a priority. Through legislation and supporting policies, Manitoba regulates approximately a thousand drinking water systems and also provides guidance, technical expertise, up-to-date information and educational materials about drinking water safety to water suppliers and the public.
View more details on the regulations and standards required in Manitoba below:
The Onsite Wastewater Management Systems (OWMS) Regulation and The Environment Act:
Onsite wastewater management systems (OWMS) such as holding tanks and disposal fields are approved under the OWMS regulation or the Environment Act. In general, the OWMS regulation applies to developments that have a combined daily wastewater flow of less 10,000 litres (2,200 gallons) per day. The regulation applies only to domestic wastewater and includes all domestic wastewater generated by the development on an individual property. Under the regulation, a registration application must be submitted for each holding tank or disposal field.
Under the Environment Act, an Environment Act Licence is required for developments that have a combined daily wastewater flow of 10,000 litres (2,200 gallons) per day or greater and includes all types of wastewater (domestic, industrial, etc.). An Environment Act Licence applies to all properties included in the overall development and is obtained by submitting an Environment Act Licence Proposal which is usually prepared by a qualified professional because the process is more involved and typically requires the submission of more technical information than required under the OWMS regulation.
The two main types of OWMS used for seasonal campgrounds and resorts are holding tanks and disposal fields. The general procedure used to determine if the OWMS or combination of OWMS can be registered under the regulation or if an Environment Act licence is required is as follows:
Individual holding tanks for seasonal campground developments can be registered under the OWMS regulation, even if the total daily wastewater flow to all tanks exceeds 10,000 litres/day. This includes holding tanks servicing residences, campsites/RV sites, washrooms, sani-dumps, and dining halls. Registration of multiple individual holding tanks is allowed under the regulation because the wastewater from the holding tanks is not treated onsite but rather is hauled off site and disposed at a licenced wastewater treatment facility.
When the total daily wastewater flow exceeds 10,000 litres/day and the wastewater will be discharged to one large holding tank or a series of interconnected holding tanks, an Environment Act Licence is required.
Combination of Disposal Fields and Holding Tanks
Where the development utilizes a disposal field or combination of disposal fields and multiple holding tanks, if the total daily wastewater flow to the disposal field(s) exceeds 10,000 litres/day, an Environment Act Licence is required and will apply to both the disposal field(s) and the holding tanks.
Expansion of Existing Campgrounds
Determining the requirements for the expansion of existing campgrounds can be more challenging depending the type of existing OWMS, the total daily wastewater flow, and the type of new OWMS that will be added. If the existing development is serviced by individual holding tanks and the expansion will also be serviced by individual holding tanks, then the expansion could be approved by registering the new holding tanks under the OWMS regulation. However, if the existing development includes one or more disposal fields and/or a large holding tank or holding tanks connected in series, then a qualified person will likely be required to undertake a detailed evaluation of the total daily wastewater flow to determine if an Environment Act Licence is required. For example, if the existing development has three disposal fields that have a combined daily wastewater flow of over 10,000 litres/day, then an Environment Act Licence would be required even if the new campgrounds will be serviced by individual holding tanks.
Disposal fields are registered under the OWMS regulation when the total daily wastewater flow to the disposal field or a combination of disposal fields is less than 10,000 litres (2,200 gallons) per day. For example, if 2 or 3 separate disposal fields are used to service various parts of the development, the total daily wastewater flow is determined by adding the flow from all disposal fields together. If the total daily wastewater flow to the disposal field(s) is greater than 10,000 litres/day, an Environment Act Licence is required.
Total Daily Wastewater Flow
As indicated above, determination of the total daily wastewater flow is a critical factor in determining whether an Environment Act Licence is required or if the OWMS can be registered under the regulation. Daily wastewater flows are determined using the flow tables in the Supplementary Information Manual (see link below). For example, a daily wastewater flow rate of 180 litres/day is assigned to an RV campsite. A campground with 100 RV sites would have a total daily wastewater of 100 RV sites x 180 litres/day = 18,000 litres/day. In some cases, water use records for an existing development can be used to determine the daily wastewater flow provided the water use data is sufficiently detailed and is prepared and assessed by a qualified person.