There is no evidence to support allegations that septic fields in Emerald Estates are leaking into Green Lake.
Following its announcement earlier this year that extension of the sewer system to all residences in Emerald may take a year or two longer than expected, the municipality received a number of letters and complaints about leaking septic fields. One letter stated "...a large number of Emerald Septic fields are currently leaking raw sewage and possibly toxic chemicals into the environment."
In response to these complaints the municipality retained an environmental consultant to test the water quality in Green Lake. GeoAlpine Environmental Consultants collected 12 surface samples near the shoreline at Emerald Estates and determined fecal coliform in all samples was below detection levels.
In a report to council Brian Barnett, the municipality’s manager of environmental services, wrote: "These results surpass the Canadian health standards for bathing and even meet the Canadian drinking water standards. Based on these results and on visual observations, the consultant and the RMOW engineers have concluded Green Lake is not adversely affected by septic systems in Emerald Estates."
Barnett also talked to the local inspector for the Coast Garibaldi Community Health Services Society, who is responsible for permitting and monitoring septic fields. The inspector had also received complaints about leaking septic fields but concluded the claims of environmental concerns may be exaggerated.
Barnett’s report concedes "it is likely that several septic systems are not operating effectively," but there will usually be odours if that is the case. The local health authority, the Coast Garibaldi Community Health Services Society, is responsible for enforcement of regulations if people do not properly maintain their septic fields.