Sanitary Sewers

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 Sewers

What are the regulatory requirements for sanitary sewers?

Discharges of hazardous materials, oil, or grease 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

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.

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How does UBC monitor sanitary sewer discharges?

The UBC Sewer Discharge Monitoring Program ensures compliance with bylaw requirements. Waste water discharges to the sanitary sewer are sampled twice a year from monitoring points on South West Marine Drive and North West Marine Drive. The samples are tested for organic load, hardness, pH, various metals and radioactivity. The results are compared with the Metro Vancouver Sewer Use Bylaws to ensure compliance. All UBC Point Grey  waste water discharges tested so far have been within the regulatory limits.

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What are the UBC sanitary sewer guidelines?

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

Discharges from Operation, Maintenance and Construction activities:

e.g. pipes cleaning, surface cleaning, water main disinfection, neutralization and dilution tanks, etc.

Generators planning to discharge wastewater to the sanitary sewer system must apply for approval to discharge from RMS Environmental Services. The required information includes: type/volume/temperature of liquid to be discharged, proposed location, expected duration and additional details.

Discharges from Laboratory Research Operations:

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 RMS will determine if laboratory liquid streams can be disposed of via sanitary sewers, under certain conditions.

Things to note:

  • Aqueous waste with high volume/frequency may not be acceptable even if it meets concentration requirements
  • Corrosive waste that does not exhibit any other hazards must be neutralized to an acceptable pH range (5.5-10.5) before going down the drain.
  • Some research chemicals (in small quantities) can be Safe to Dispose down the Drain (PDF) with plenty of water. If waste is not on the list, it may be hazardous.

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What is the UBC sanitary sewer procedure?

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What’s coming next from our regulators?

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

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.

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