Sanitary Sewer

Prevent the pollution of UBC’s sanitary sewer system and the environment, by routine and planned discharges from research, operations, and maintenance activities. Following approved procedures and guidelines will facilitate compliance with the applicable environmental requirements.

Sanitary Sewer

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What’s important from our regulators?

UBC’s wastewater is directed via our sanitary sewer to the Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is currently only a primary treatment plant (mechanically removes large solids from the wastewater effluent). After treatment, wastewater is discharged into the Strait of Georgia.

Metro Vancouver has developed Wastewater Pollution Prevention Guides, which contain recommended practices for safeguarding the wastewater system and the environment. These newer guidelines are applicable to research, teaching laboratories and art studios, and help eliminate or reduce pollution at its source.

All UBC labs must continue to review the contents of wastewater and how we dispose of it, as well as use the many sanitary sewer tools and best management practices. Watch this video and review the sections below to learn more.

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What are the sanitary sewer regulatory requirements?

Discharges of hazardous materials, oil, grease and other materials to the sanitary sewer can:

  • compromise the health and safety of staff managing the drain system
  • damage the operation of the sewers and sewage facilities
  • adversely impact the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of waste water treatment
  • pose a risk to fish and the natural environment

Metro Vancouver’s Sewer Use Bylaw (PDF) regulates pollutants that are discharged into sanitary sewers. The bylaw protects the environment as well as human health and safety. It specifies prohibited and restricted pollutant discharges and includes monitoring and permit requirements for non-domestic discharges.

Metro Vancouver Liquid Waste Services have developed guidelines to assist industry and institutions in managing their wastewater safely and responsibly.

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What are the UBC sanitary sewer guidelines?

UBC has planned and routine discharges to the sanitary sewer from research, operations, maintenance and construction activities at the Point Grey campus. SRS Environmental Protection assesses waste streams for fitness for discharge to the sanitary sewer, or determines if effluent needs to be disposed as hazardous waste.

Discharges from Operation, Maintenance and Construction activities:

e.g. pipe cleaning, surface cleaning, water main disinfection, neutralization of dilution tanks, vehicle washing, draining of water (pools, fountains, boilers, ice rinks, etc.)

UBC operators and contractors must manage wastewater safely and responsibly by following best practices & industry guidelines developed by Metro Vancouver:

Operators planning to discharge wastewater to the sanitary sewer system must apply for approval to discharge from SRS Environmental Protection. The required information includes: type/volume/temperature of liquid to be discharged, proposed location, expected duration and additional details. Certain discharges may require Metro Vancouver authorizations.

Discharges from Laboratory Research and Teaching activities:

e.g. small amounts of waste solutions containing hazardous chemicals

Small amounts of waste solutions that are not regulated because they do not exhibit any of the hazardous characteristics (ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity or toxicity) as defined by BC Hazardous Waste Regulations, and is not restricted or prohibited by the Metro Vancouver Sewer Use Bylaw can be disposed of via the sanitary sewer.

Lab personnel must complete the Aqueous-Waste-Profile (EXCEL) and SRS Environmental Protection will determine if laboratory liquid streams must be disposed as chemical waste via the Hazardous Waste Inventory System (HWIS) or may be disposed of via sanitary sewers, under certain conditions.

Things to note:

  • Aqueous waste with high volume/frequency may not be acceptable for drain disposal even if it meets low concentration requirements
  • Corrosive waste (e.g. bleach) that does not exhibit any other hazards must be neutralized to an acceptable pH range (6-10) before going down the drain.
  • Some research chemicals (in small quantities) may be Safe to Dispose down the Drain (PDF) and flushed with tap water. If the chemical is not on the list, it may be hazardous.

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What is the UBC sanitary sewer procedure?

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