Pollution Prevention Plans will be coming to UBC’s research labs

Metro Vancouver is currently developing a proposal that would require research laboratories to implement Pollution Prevention Plans, similar to the Pollution Prevention Plan Regulation for Hospitals, to eliminate or reduce pollution at its source.

Like other post-secondary institutions in the region, UBC has several research and teaching laboratories, both on and off-campus, that discharge to sanitary sewers. Due to the high volumes that are discharged, some form of regulation is appropriate to ensure these facilities are properly managing their wastewater.

Every day, over a billion litres of wastewater is generated in our region. UBC contributes about 10 million litres per day. The Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant alone processes over 207 billion litres a year before it is discharged into the Strait of Georgia. Can you imagine if all that wastewater flowed untreated right back into our water system and ocean?

Without proper care, these potential wastewater pollutants can have a major impact on the environment, public health, and the infrastructure that is designed to transport it safely. Considering how dependent we are on a healthy water supply, being vigilant about what we dispose of as wastewater is extremely important.

As UBC moves toward adopting this upcoming bylaw, our labs must continue to review the contents of our wastewater and how we dispose of it, as well as use the many sanitary sewer tools and best management practices UBC already has in place for guidance.

As more information on this change becomes available it will be added to the Risk Management Services website. For more information, please visit, rms.ubc.ca/wastewater.