Wastewater in Sparsely Populated Areas

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Wastewater Treatment in Sparsely Populated Areas – does it concern me? 

Wastewater treatment is needed in sparsely populated areas too. You must treat your property’s wastewater in a way that does not cause environmental contamination. The wastewater treatment obligation concerns permanent apartments as well as summer cottages. Read the wastewater treatment obligations in different situations below. 

Wastewater treatment regulations on beach and groundwater areas 

If you own a property built before 2004 that includes a building that produces wastewater within 100 meters of a waterway or on classified groundwater area, you must ensure that the building’s domestic wastewater treatment system meets the stricter than base level cleansing requirement criteria. The cleansing requirement was adopted in beach and groundwater areas on 31.10.2019.  

Wastewater treatment regulations of dry land properties 

If your dry land property is located in a sewerless area, you must update your wastewater treatment system to meet the intensive cleansing requirement criteria in connection with a major renovation. In normal conditions, the dry land property’s wastewater treatment system must meet the basic level cleansing requirement criteria mandated by the Environmental Protection Act.  

Wastewater treatment regulations of new buildings 

Wastewater treatment demands concern new buildings immediately. You may organize wastewater treatment together with your neighbors as joint treatment.  

Duties concerning all properties 

Each property must have a written review of the wastewater treatment system and the system’s instruction and maintenance manual. You must present the review to the Environment Office when asked to. See the review form template of wastewater treatment systems and the general instruction (pdf) and the maintenance manual for wastewater treatment systems of individual properties (pdf). (The forms are in Finnish).

Turkansaari on June 2020.

Treatment System renovation 

Find out the sewer network expansion areas from the water supply plant and the possible demands concerning properties in groundwater areas before building a new wastewater treatment system or updating the old system.  

For the treatment system design, contact an expert designer who visits the property and compiles the needed documents for your permit application. Apply for a permit from building control. Read more about treatment systems (in Finnish).

Properties must always connect to the water supply plant’s wastewater network when possible. See the regional water supply plants on the vesi.fi map service. Choose “water services” and click your municipality. 

You do not need to update your wastewater treatment system if 

  • The property’s construction permit was granted in 2004 or after 
  • The property will be connected to the sewer network 
  • The property already has a wastewater treatment system that meets the criteria 
  • All property owners living on the property are born before 9.3.1943 
  • The property only uses carried water and a composting toilet 

However, you must update your wastewater treatment system to meet the required criteria immediately if the property’s current wastewater treatment causes environmental contamination, hygienic harm or harm to neighbors. 

Deviation from the Treatment Regulations

You may deviate from the wastewater treatment system update if the environmental load is significantly minor, or if the renovation costs would be unreasonable for the property owner. An application for deviation from the demands is sent to the municipality’s environmental protection authority, in this case, to the Environment Office of Oulu. Deviations are granted for a maximum of five-year periods at a time. Read more about the application here. 

The deviation permit expires immediately when the property’s use changes, or the amount of wastewater increases from the amount reported in the application. The property must be connected to the wastewater sewer network before the change or, if this is not possible, the treatment system must be updated. A permit must be applied from the municipality’s building control. 

Contact Us

Environment Office of the Oulu Region
Environmental Protection
Environmental Protection help line is open on weekdays 9.00-15.00. E-mail is read on weekdays.