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Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change

On-Site Sewage Disposal Licences

Who Needs This Licence?

Installing, replacing, or altering a system in Nova Scotia must only be completed by individuals recognized under the On-site Sewage Disposal Systems Regulations. This includes pumping of systems and portable rest rooms.

Below is a list of the categories recognized by our regulations.

Qualified Persons (QPs) - Can select pre-designed systems from the Standard.

Installers - The contractors who build the systems.

Septic Tank Cleaner - Those who pump, clean, and maintain systems and portable rest rooms.

QPs, Installers and Septic Tank Cleaners are certified by Nova Scotia Environment. Someone working in any of the above recognized areas must be certified for each area of the program they work in.

Issuing Department / Agency:

Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change

Where can you get this Licence and / or further information?

Any Regional or District Office of Environment closest to the business or place of operation.

Application Forms & Process:

For first time applicants, see Information Package for this certification which explains the application process. The Training Request Form must be submitted along with the education requirements to initiate the process.

Applicants must successfully complete a course of instruction, conducted by an outside agency, recognized by NSECC. Once NSECC receives confirmation of successful completion of course from the recognized agency; an application form will be forwarded to the applicant.

Steps for Applicant
  1. Contact WWNS ( or for the onsite training and exam, for which there are the following options:
    • WWNS offers an in-person training course followed by an exam for a group of applicants for the Qualified Person and Installers Certifications.
    • WWNS offers a self paced training course for the Septic Tank Cleaner Certification followed by an exam administered by NSECC.
    • If experienced in OSSDS, applicants may challenge the exam. Please contact if you have obtained OSSDS experience in another province or country. Documentation of work experience will be required. The corresponding exam must be written and passed by all applicants with foreign experience to become certified in Nova Scotia.
  2. Arrange to take the training and exam.
  3. The exam pass mark is 70% in order to qualify for the next steps in certification. Individuals will be notified of their mark following the exam by WWNS or NSE.
  4. Following successfully passing the exam, NSE will provide the applicant with the application form.
  5. Complete the applicant form, pay the appropriate fee, and provide proof of liability insurance.
  6. Certifications are valid for four years and are subject to requirements for staying certified as described on this page.
Expiry & Renewal:

Each OSSDS certificate is valid for four years.

To remain certified, an individual must complete an appropriate amount of continuing education units (CEUS) such as applicable training or attending board meetings during the renewal cycle.

WWNS administrates the point system for Qualified Persons, Installers and Cleaners to remain certified with the province. The points system will be based on a 4-year review. Each Qualified Person and Installer must accumulate a minimum of 100 points within a 4-year period. Each septic pumper, portable restroom operator and bed flusher (Cleaners) must accumulate a minimum of 50 points within a 4-year period. Extra points do not carry over to the next cycle.

Price: (No tax is charged)

New Application & Renewal Fees:
The Installer Certification is $166.05 per four-year period.
The Qualified Person is $311.45 per four-year period.
For the Cleaner Certification, the first activity is $114.65 and each additional is $58.30 per four-year period.

Please make cheque or money order payable to the Minister of Finance or pay online at

Related Requirements:
  1. Successful completion of an approved course;
  2. Applicant must provide valid Commercial Liability Insurance.

Requests for accommodation can be emailed to

More information on the Accommodation Policy at Environment and Climate Change.

Additional information:

If the documentation that must accompany an application cannot be obtained for reasons beyond the applicant's control, the applicant should contact and provide technical reasons why the information cannot be obtained. Examples may include former employers unwilling or unable to provide references or listing of required experience or loss of copy of course graduation information. This may require the program lead to contact former employers or project sites that will only be done with the signed consent of the applicant in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPOP). If the program technical lead decides that the applicant has met the criteria for the class being applied for, the recommendation for approval will be sent to the administrative staff for consideration. If the program technical lead decides that there is insufficient information to support the applicant's preferred installer class, the technical lead may recommend that the applicant be denied certification.

Any reduction of certification class or denial of certification by a decision of an Administrator may appeal that decision to the Minister of Environment within 30 days of the date of the decision letter. The appeal must be submitted on the Notice of Appeal Form accessible at the following website address:

Subject to s.8, if the applicant is unwilling or unable to provide additional information required to process the application, the Department may reject the application. In the case the application is rejected by the Administrator, the decision shall be in writing providing the reasons for the rejection. The applicant may appeal this decision under Section 137 of the Environment Act, which reads; a person who is aggrieved by a decision of an Administrator may appeal that decision to the Minister of Environment within 30 days of the date of the decision letter. The appeal must be submitted on the Notice of Appeal Form accessible at the following website address:

Legislative Authority:
Environment Act, Statutes of Nova Scotia, 1994-95, Chapter 1, On-site Sewage Disposal Systems Regulations

Back to Nova Scotia Environment Index in the Nova Scotia Permits Directory

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