A big excavator sits poised to begin work on our new septic field tomorrow.
The Department of the Environment has required that we have the new septic installed in order to continue to use the building. Since eventually we want to install a fully Certified Commercial Kitchen, it is important that we comply with such regulations.
The old system, which had a holding tank and a mechanical aeration system and managed to serve 200 students and their teachers, was decommissioned as it no longer meets current standards. For the last year, we’ve simply been pumping out the existing holding tank as needed, at a cost of about $1.50 per 5-gallon flush.
We are grateful for the help of an infrastructure grant from the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage, and we raised the rest of the funds with our 2013 Tiny Studio Raffle.
Now you might think that a sustainability project such as this one would be eager to find alternatives to large septic fields, and you’d be right. For example, there are no provisions in Nova Scotia for greywater treatment, unlike some other provinces.
However, the tight deadline to comply with the septic field order did not give us time to work with various levels of government to develop new policies. That day may come as our project matures. Meanwhile, installing the septic field is a necessary step towards our many goals for the Blockhouse School.
Right now, we are concerned for the welfare of the big pine tree that hundreds of children have played under, climbed into and remembered as the centrepiece of the schoolground.
The septic bed will pass within 3m of its trunk. Roots will have to be cut, and the tree will surely experience a setback.
But there’s a lot of life in it, and we hope it will survive to reign over a repurposed Blockhouse School for many years to come.