Samahquam-Wastewater System and Sludge Management

Project Summary:
A new community wastewater system is proposed to service the current and projected future (20 year) population of Q'aLaTKu7eM. The existing on-site septic systems are no longer meeting the community's needs. A new gravity sewage collection system, sewage pump station, forcemain, communal septic tanks, and a centralized drain field is proposed. 

The proposed community wastewater system will consist of approximately 1,225 m of buried gravity sewers, a sewage pump station, approximately 165 m of buried forcemain, twin communal septic tanks, and centralized drain fields.

Geotechnical investigation (test pits) will be required to confirm soil and groundwater conditions for trenching/ backfill. Some vegetation/ tree clearing will be required for the community drain fields to be located to the south of the community. Once the new community wastewater system has been constructed, the existing on-site septic systems are slated to be decommissioned.

Waste Generation:
Tree material will be generated from the required clearing. Any material useful for firewood or similar will be salvaged and used within the Q'aLaTKu7eM community. Brush and similar waste will be chipped on site. Some of the excavated material may not be suitable for re-use as backfill. If so, this material will be disposed within the community where fill is needed or at an approved location off site. Typical construction waste such as PVC pipe scraps, etc. will be managed by the contractor including collection, storage, and disposal.

Design Guidelines and Regulations:
The wastewater system is being designed in accordance with BC Municipal Wastewater Regulation (MWR); however, MWR Registration of ground discharges on reserve is a topic under review by the BC Ministry of Environment (MoE).

Land Description:
The Lillooet River is approximately 150 m east of the project site and Billygoat Creek is approximately 150 m south of the project site.

Water Table:
Approximately 38 m below ground surface.

Fauna and Flora:
Wildlife Species at Risk:
The Government of Canada Species at Risk Act (SARA) identifies nine species that are listed as endangered, threatened, or special concern species with ranges and suitable habitat in the vicinity of the project area that have the potential to occur.

One species at risk occurrence was reported within of the project area and throughout the valley:
- A masked sensitive occurrence – a request was sent the Conservation Data Center (CDC) on April 28th, 2022. A response has not yet been received.

Mapped critical habitat within the project area:
- Whitebark pine - However, this species only occurs in high elevation areas. This species is not anticipated to be impacted by the project.
- Marbled murrelet – However, according to Environment Canada's Recovery Strategy for the Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) in Canada, nesting critical habitat for marbled murrelet is found within the Geographic Location polygons where the biophysical attributes are found (Environment Canada, 2014). The biophysical attributes for marbled murrelet critical habitat (nest sites) include large branches usually with moss cover, trees typically greater than 30 m tall, soft substrate (moss, other epiphytes, duff, and leaf litter) to create nest cup, overhead cover, openings in canopy, and vertical complexity of the canopy. After considering the biophysical attributes of marbled murrelet critical habitat and assessing the project area, it was determined that marbled murrelet not expected to occur or be impacted by the proposed project.

Migratory Birds:
Numerous migratory bird species use the Lillooet River valley during the spring and summer months.
Vegetation clearing must be conducted between August 17th and March 12th to avoid impacting migratory birds during the nesting season.  In addition, a survey for raptor nests should be completed prior to clearing.  Raptors and owls generally have a longer nesting season than migratory birds and clearing should be conducted between September 15th and January 31st to minimize impacts to raptors/owls during the nesting season.

Fish or Fish Habitat:

Much of the project alignment has been cleared of vegetation for existing roads and community infrastructure.  Some tree removal will be necessary to accommodate the septic drain fields.  Douglas-fir is the dominant tree species with lesser amounts of black cottonwood.  Understory vegetation consists of snowberry, Douglas maple and alder.

Plant Species at Risk:
No plant species at risk under SARA were identified as having ranges and suitable habitat in the vicinity of the project area.
However, mapped critical habitat within the project area included whitebark pine. However, this species only occurs in high elevation areas. This species is not anticipated to be impacted by the project.

Traditional/Cultural Uses:
Cultural, Historical or Archaeological:

A search of the BC Integrated Land and Resource Registry was completed on April 8, 2022.  The search revealed that there at least two known archaeological sites in proximity to the project area.

Traditional use areas:
The Lillooet River valley was used extensively for fishing, hunting and settlement.

Note: Based on the information provided by Urban Systems Ltd. on behalf of Samahquam.


Latest update

August 6, 2022 - Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) issued its Notice of Determination and determined that the project:
- is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.



Indigenous Services Canada
Fasih Siddiqui, Senior Engineer
1138 Melville Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6E 4S3
Telephone: 604-376-0802
Fax: 604-775-7149

  • Location

    • Samahquam First Nation, 08041 - Q'ALATKU7EM (British Columbia)
  • Nature of Activity

    • Other, not otherwise specified
  • Assessment Status

    In progress
  • Start Date

  • Proponent

    Samahquam First Nation
  • Authorities

    • Indigenous Services Canada
  • Assessment Type

    Project on federal lands
  • Reference Number


This map is for illustrative purposes. The markers represent the approximate locations based on available data. More than one marker may be identified for a given assessment.


Nearby assessments

...within 200 kilometres
Date modified: