A new sewage bylaw could hit a few West Shore property owners in the pocketbook this year.
If your Langford property has access to a sewer main but isn’t connected, you have until the end of 2019 to hook up. If one is subsequently constructed that would give you access, you have until the end of 2019 or one year from that line’s completion date, whichever is later, to get connected.
But, a recent amendment to that relatively new bylaw specifically targets properties on Langford, Glen and Florence lakes. Lakefront properties now have until May 2017 to get connected. If a new line is constructed, owners have a year from its completion to connect.
“They were told to be on sewer 15 years ago … We thought we’d have more people hooking up,” said Langford Mayor Stew Young.
At that time, he said, the expectation was that homes with access to sewer would connect when they could or transition over at the end of their septic system’s lifespan. “We just never really enforced it,” he said, adding there’s still a few stragglers, specifically in environmentally sensitive areas surrounding Langford’s lakes, that the City is now looking to get connected. “That was in our plan … Now it’s time to get everyone hooked up.”
This push to have property owners connect to sewer, Young said, is to create a “level playing field” and help lessen the cost burden for property owners already connected to sewer.
Michelle Mahovlich, Langford’s director of engineering, said the creation of the new sewer utility bylaw was a matter of house cleaning. With the City’s old sewer bylaws dating back to the City’s incorporation, she noted “some aspects were out of date or no longer applicable.”
With two new sewer mains in the works, Mahovlich said almost every parcel around the three lakes should have access to sewer in the near future.
“Council sees that as an environmental priority,” she said, echoing Young’s comment that getting those properties off septic and hooked up to sewer lines has been in the works for awhile.
In 2004, the City of Langford signed an agreement with West Shore Environmental Services Inc., a division of Corix Utilities, to operate and maintain extensions of the City’s sewage collection system. This agreement also includes operating and maintaining the existing sewers, as well as handling all customer inquiries.
There is also a price tag that comes with the jump to sewer, as owners will be faced with a number of one-time charges. They include a sewer connection fee of $1,500 per inch of service pipe diameter, a sewer capital recovery fee – it’s $9,426 for 2016 but will rise to more than $9,700 in 2017 – and an incremental storage improvement fee of $495.
Mahovlich noted these fees are designed to help cover the City’s sewer construction costs.
The fees are outlined within the sewer utility bylaw, which the public can view online here. The City of Langford also has some answers to frequently asked questions posted on their site to help property owners with the transition.