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What Have You Found in a Septic Tank?

All manner of things have been found in or rescued from septic systems.

Engagement rings, watches and dentures are certainly common. Fire fighters rescued a woman from her septic tank in May. And earlier this year an elephant was rescued from a septic tank in China.

We want to know: what’s the strangest thing you’ve ever removed or rescued from a septic tank?

Answer online now and your comments could be shared in one of our publications!


Unusually High Usage of Septic Systems is Cause for a Maintenance Assessment

The past few months of working from home, home schooling children, self-isolation and self-quarantine have put unusual strain on septic systems all across Western Canada.  Pumpers have been reporting more frequent emergency calls and contractors are reporting more demand for repair and maintenance.

Many systems, particularly older ones, were not designed to manage the current demand caused by families being home more and using all their water infrastructure throughout the day rather than the morning and evening surge typical of working families.

This is a good time for Maintenance Providers to reach out to their homeowners with a reminder to have their system assessed for functionality.  Pumpers could also take the opportunity to remind homeowners that more use of the home infrastructure means a more frequent pumping schedule.

Installers who have homeowners in their client list who are not currently on a maintenance plan could reach out to their client list and encourage those homeowners to be proactive rather than reactive and have their system maintained before an emergency occurs.

The Association has put together a flyer for those members wanting to reach out to their customer lists with a reminder about maintenance.  The flyer also informs homeowners about resources available on the Association websites and notifies them about webinars available to them on proper operation and maintenance. These webinars will be hosted by the Association and other stakeholders during Septic Awareness week, September 14 – 18. If you'd like to add your own company logo to the flyer, you can download this flyer and insert your image along the bottom banner.

UVic launching system to test for COVID-19 in wastewater


The University of Victoria (UVic) is partnering with a private company to monitor for signs of COVID-19 in local wastewater.

According to UVic, the ability to detect COVID-19 in Greater Victoria’s sewage networks can help serve as an early-warning system for the virus, and can help supplement public health data.

Results of wastewater testing can be used to help health authorities respond quickly to potential outbreak clusters in specific communities.

Learn more here.

UCalgary, The City of Calgary and AHS team up in the fight against COVID-19


UCalgary researchers from the Cumming School of Medicine, Faculty of Science, and Schulich School of Engineering; Advancing Canadian Wastewater Assets (ACWA), The City of Calgary, and Alberta Health Services (AHS) have teamed up to test Calgary wastewater for early signs of COVID-19 cases. The team has received Canadian Institutes of Health Research funding to pursue the research, beginning immediately.

Learn more here.

Professional Governance Act Webinar

The implementation of the Professional Governance Act in November 2020 represents a shift in how the professions of engineering and geoscience are regulated, and will introduce new obligations and requirements for professional engineers and geoscientists.

Transitioning from the almost 100-year-old Engineers and Geoscientists Act can raise questions and concerns; registrants will have an opportunity to have their questions on this important topic answered by President Lianna Mah, P.Eng., FEC.

ASTTBC is holding a webinar on Thursday, August 6 at 11:00 AM.

Registration for this free webinar is now open and all registrants will be invited by email to submit their questions about this topic in advance.

Do You Have Septic Sense?

The Western Canada Onsite Wastewater Management Association and its affiliates will be promoting septic awareness during the week of September 14 to 18. The purpose of this initiative is to promote proper operation and maintenance of onsite wastewater systems.

Notices will be put up on our websites and in local newspapers about the importance of maintaining septic systems along with tips for operation. In some regions of Western Canada, delivery of our Septic Sense program will take place during that week. We will also be offering webinars to assist homeowners in understanding why they need to properly maintain and care for their septic systems.

Join us in asking your customers, regulatory authorities and municipal representatives – Do you have Septic Sense?

Download the press release and help spread the word. 

Contact the association office for more information, or for materials to help you promote Septic Awareness.  

Manitoba Unveils New Climate and Conservation Fund

The new funding will focus on local green initiatives that support key priorities within the Made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan.

The Controversy Over the Use of Tire Chip Media (Rubber Tire Shreds)


The Association in Saskatchewan regularly gets complaints from installers about rubber tire shreds used as aggregate in sand mounds. These complaints stem from contractors being contacted to repair or replace these systems, often within only a few years of the system’s life.

Installers report that in systems where the rubber shreds or tire chips do not meet the requirements for tire chip media, shreds can be much larger than prescribed.  Rubber shreds that are four to six inches or larger can compact over time and melt together forming an impermeable layer.  Alternately, some of the rubber shreds and wires may migrate to the surface causing a nuisance or even a danger to the homeowner when mowing and caring for their yard.  When using tire chip media, the system is intended to be covered with geotextile fabric to mitigate ‘floating’ tire chips, however this does not always occur.

Rubber Tire Shred or Tire Chip Media is allowed in the Saskatchewan Onsite Wastewater Disposal Guide under certain prescriptive requirements.

Learn more here.

Tips To Avoid Heat Exhaustion 

The great weather is here, but with warmer sunnier days comes the risk of heat exhaustion, especially if you are busy in the field.

Take care of yourself by keeping in mind these tips:

  • Drink plenty of cool liquids, especially water, before you feel thirsty to decrease your risk of dehydration. Thirst is not a good indicator of dehydration. Want to spruce things up? Try infusing your water with fruit for a refreshing taste.
  • Reschedule or plan outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day if possible.
  • Avoid sun exposure. Shade yourself by wearing a wide-brimmed, breathable hat. 

Welsh Research Identifies New System for Pharmaceutical Detection in Wastewater

A research team at Swansea University in Wales have developed a new method for fast removal and detection of wastewater pollutants that come from everyday pharmaceuticals like paracetamol, ibuprofen, and aspirin, which could help minimize their impact on the environment.

Perkopolis Benefits for WCOWMA Members

WCOWMA has partnered with many great companies, including Perkopolis. Use your Perkopolis membership to enjoy great savings on entertainment, travel, attractions, shopping, health, wellness, sport and more!

Step 1: Go to and click "Register" in the top right corner.

Step 2: To access all perks you must register by using a valid email address. Then, you will receive an email to activate your registration.

Step 3: Enter your member ID code which is "WCOWMA" + your member number. (ex: WCOWMA1234)

Please note: only current membership are able to access these benefits. If your membership has lapsed, or you'd like to sign up, please contact your provincial WCOWMA branch today!

5,000+ exclusive perks waiting for you. Find yours today and start saving.

  • Take advantage of 10% savings on Manulife's already affordable rates when travelling out-of-province
  • Save 20% off your order of $75+ and enjoy Free Shipping at Footlocker
  • Get 30% off full-price items and 15% off sale items on
  • Take advantage of a Shell Fleet Navigator™ Card for savings on fuel, car washes and more
  • Discounts with numerous car rental companies
  • Take an interactive virtual tour of SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando, and Discovery Cove
  • Receive 10% off pet insurance policies by using the below promo code at checkout
  • Receive a 25-35% discount on an exclusive insurance program, sold and serviced by Breckles Insurance Brokers in partnership with Ensurco
  • Get $10 off when you spend $75 on Books, Toys and Gifts at Indigo
  • Save up to 15% off base fares with WestJet by using the discount code

To receive these benefits and more, sign up for your Perkopolis account today!

Site & Soils Evaluation Field Days (BC)

The WCOWMA – BC hosted two Site & Soils Evaluation Field Days in July. These practical training days were a great opportunity to get hands-on experience evaluating a site, as well as practicing hand texturing and sampling. Soils scientist, Stephanie Munn led classes in the processes of identifying and logging soil characteristics per SPM V3.
Students from the recent onsite practitioner course were joined by those wishing to refresh their soils assessment knowledge. 

Participants practised social distancing and masks were provided to all attendees. 

Training days were held in Vernon (July 7) and Prince George (July 9).  Thank you to members Betty Holtskog (Vernon) and Gary Giese (Prince George) for providing the sites for these training events.

More workshops will be announced shortly. 

Soil Texture by Feel

Looking to refresh your soils texturing?
Check out this informative four minute video!

Onsite Wastewater Practitioner Training

The Western Canada Onsite Wastewater Management Association provides an excellent industry training program for Onsite Wastewater Professionals throughout Western Canada.

This training program has been found to meet or exceed the requirements of the Agreement on Internal Trade, the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement, and the New West Partnership.

Training, including the number of days, varies by province. More details on each program can be found on the provincial training pages, or by contacting our office.

Students will be required to complete an online training component prior to attending the classroom sessions.

Abbotsford, BC
Days 1-5: August 31,
September 1, 2, 3 & 4, 2020
Days 6-10: September 14, 15, 16 17 & 18, 2020

For more information on our training program, or to register, please contact the association office at 1-855-872-2645.

Dates to be announced

For more information please contact the association office at 1-855-872-2650. 

Dates to be announced

For more information on our training program, or to preregister for the next session, please contact the association office at 877-489-7471.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, all Spring courses have been postponed until Fall. 

Please contact Patricia Oleksiew
Red River College | Technology Solutions for the Workplace
A131N – 2055 Notre Dame Avenue | Winnipeg, MB R3H 0J9
Ph: (204) 632-3017 |

Orenco Webinars Available

Orenco’s training department offers webinars covering a variety of topics. They're all free, so take as many courses as you like.

Webinars include "Put Controls to Work For You," "Put Greywater to Work for You," and "Solving the Nitrogen Problem," and more.

A full list of their webinars can be found here. 

Infiltrator Webinars Available

Infiltrator’s training department offers webinars covering a variety of topics. They're all free, so take as many courses as you like.

Webinars include "Streamlining Commercial Wastewater Treatment using Innovative Solutions with an Integrated Systems Approach," "Fact vs. Fiction and the Top Ten Septic Myths," "Advanced Tank Design and Materials Expand Onsite Applications," and more.

A full list of their webinars can be found here. 

Upcoming Industry Events

You can keep up-to-date on industry events on our events pages:
British Columbia
Septic Awareness Week 
September 14 - 18, 2020

Water Environment Federation's Technical Exhibition and Conference
October 5 - 11, 2020

Imagine a Day Without Water
October 21, 2020

2020 Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) Fall Convention & Tradeshow
November 2 - 5, 2020

BCWWA 2020 Virtual Conference & Trade Show
November 3 - 4, 2020

SWWA Tradeshow
November 4 - 5, 2020

Septic Con
January 29 - 30, 2021
Tacoma, WA

23rd Annual AOWMA Convention & Trade Show
February 9 - 11, 2021
Red Deer, AB

ASTTBC's Virtual AGM & Conference

ASTTBC's virtual AGM & Conference is on now until August 4! Log on to visit the virtual tradeshow, networking lounge & get your CPD hrs by participating in breakout sessions.

Read This Before You Press Send

Love it or hate it, email is at the core of every company’s day-to-day communications. Still, how often does it happen when you get an email the purpose of which isn’t clear, there is no call to action, the body copy is too long — you name it.

Power Concepts has compiled a useful guide to sending emails, which is available on their website. 

Area Sales Representative Wanted

Infiltrator Water Technologies, LLC is looking for an Area Sales Representative to cover Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and British Columbia. Infiltrator manufactures and sells multiple onsite product lines making us a full solution provider to our customers.  These products include drainfield products, advance treatment and septic tanks. Our technologies are based on fundamental principles of physics, soil science and microbiology and offer performance advantages that have furthered the industry’s goal of protecting public health, improving water quality and preserving natural resources.

We are looking for someone with 3-5 years of experience in onsite, construction, water and sewer and/or plumbing experience. A Bachelor’s Degree in a technical field is a plus.  Experienced candidates may submit their resume via email to

Growing Wastewater Impact on Nutrient Imbalance in Lakes

A new study is warning that while wastewater treatment has become an increasingly common practice in developing countries to remove excess nutrients and make the water cleaner, the surge in treatment may be harming ecosystem biodiversity by creating an imbalance between phosphorus and nitrogen.

Bedouin Village Tests New Solar-Powered Wastewater Treatment System

Villagers in Umm Batin, a Bedouin village in Israel’s Negev desert lack the funds to build a modern sewer system. The solution? A solar-powered, self-operating wastewater mini treatment plant that doesn’t need to be connected to the national sewer system. 

Kansas University Gives Community Early COVID-19 Warning

Early results from a project in Kansas show tests of a community’s wastewater can detect COVID-19 outbreaks approximately a week before individual testing would show an increase in cases.

Durham Region Partners with Ontario Tech to Detect Second Wave of COVID-19 Pandemic

Dozens of untreated sewage samples from multiple water pollution control plants in Durham Region will be collected and tested. The samples will be checked for traces of the virus that causes COVID-19. Using this information, a model will be developed for predicting new cases for identifying new coronavirus hot spots in the area. 

Read the entire article by Water Canada. 

Find us on Facebook

Stay up-to-date on industry news, learn about our latest training sessions, and check out photos of some of our events all on our Facebook pages!

AOWMA Facebook page
WCOWMA-BC Facebook page
SOWMA Facebook page
MOWMA Facebook page
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