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 Liquid Waste Services have developed specific guidelines to assist industry and institutions in managing their wastewater safely and responsibly.  These specific 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 299 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.

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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 recommended 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 or permits.

Discharges from Laboratory Research and Teaching activities:

e.g. small amounts of highly diluted aqueous waste containing hazardous chemicals

Some aqueous solutions 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 are not specifically prohibited or restricted by Metro Vancouver’s Sewer Use Bylaw. Refer to the non-hazardous chemicals section under the disposal guide.

SRS Environmental Protection will determine if laboratory liquid waste streams may be may be safe to dispose down the drain and flushed with tap water, under certain conditions. Lab personnel must first submit mixtures as Chemical waste via the Hazardous Waste Inventory System (HWIS) and then complete an Aqueous-Waste-Profile if applicable.

Things to note:

  • Aqueous waste solutions generated by laboratories are considered hazardous until approved by SRS that they meet criteria for drain disposal, on a case-by-case basis.
  • If any chemical components are listed as hazardous in the SDS, the mixture (aqueous solution) is disposed as hazardous waste.
  • 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 safely neutralized to an acceptable pH range (6-10) before going down the drain.

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What is the UBC sanitary sewer procedure?

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