WIT Press

Review Of On-site And Communal Water And Sanitation Systems For Remote Communities


Free (open access)





Page Range

275 - 283




704 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


A. Perks & T. Johnson


Many small communities across Canada rely on on-site or communal water and wastewater systems to meet their needs, and several factors are likely to reinforce this direction: a) the reduction in grants available from senior levels of government to assist small communities with capital upgrades; b) the emergence of new small scale technologies for water and wastewater treatment that can be cost-effectively applied at the small community level, reducing the need for costly underground piping networks; and c) regulatory pressures to adopt full cost pricing that will force small communities to seek lower cost solutions. Servicing costs for small communities may be significantly reduced and still provide acceptable and comparable levels of service, as well as employment opportunities within the communities. Because many significant problems and / or failures in on-site and communal water systems have been attributed to inadequate O&M, it is unlikely that more complex technologies requiring higher levels of expertise will represent a sustainable solution. On-site and communal systems may be a more sustainable solution for smaller communities, perhaps using contract O&M services, and should be carefully considered. Keywords: water, wastewater, onsite, policy, community servicing. 1 Introduction Throughout Canada, small communities are typically served by on-site or communal water and wastewater systems where it is impractical to construct a centralized system due to the high cost and/or low density of population. According to Environment Canada’s MUD survey in 2001, more than three million rural homes and buildings are not connected to municipal systems. Dalhousie University has reported that more than 50% of the population of


water, wastewater, onsite, policy, community servicing.