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Drainage inspections

We have bylaws in place to control the use of the municipal sewer system. The Drainage Bylaw 18100 specifies what can or cannot be released into the sanitary and storm sewer systems. It also sets out connection requirements for the sewer system, including various types of interceptors. It's the job of our drainage inspectors to enforce these bylaws. They do this by monitoring and inspecting more than 2,000 industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) sector facilities each year and by responding to spills and complaints.

Inspections

Our Drainage Bylaw 18100 gives these Inspectors the right to conduct a drainage inspection of any ICI sector facility in Edmonton with reasonable notice and at any reasonable time. Inspectors carry photo identification and are often in uniform identifying themselves as EPCOR employees.

The purpose of an inspection is to ensure that nothing hazardous to human health or the environment, or any material that could damage the sewer or wastewater treatment plant, is being released into the sewer system. Violators risk fines of up to $10,000, payment of any needed repairs and discontinuance of service. In addition, provincial investigators may be involved if necessary.

On-site inspections also give Inspectors the opportunity to raise awareness and provide information regarding the safe disposal of waste and storm water.

What these inspectors look for

Inspectors will want to review any place where wastewater, including outdoor runoff, drains into the sanitary or storm water sewer systems, a ditch or watercourse. This review includes looking at all drainage features on-site including floor and roof drains, sumps, washrooms, grease traps, interceptors, processes, chemicals and chemical storage areas and outdoor features such as catch basins. To help in the inspection, an Inspector may request a copy of the building plan, disposal records and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS).

Drainage Bylaw 18100 outlines all of the restrictions regarding release of wastewater including storm water. Key restrictions to the drainage system include:

  • No hazardous material including paint, solvents, oil, flammables, heavy metals, chemicals or other materials harmful to the environment.
  • No sawdust, glue, grease, glass, paper, straw, cement mix, sand (sanitary only), cloth, sharp objects or other materials that may damage or plug drainage pipes or equipment.
  • No material that is corrosive or radioactive.

A key restriction to the storm sewer system is:

  • No wastewater other than storm water, subsurface water or clear water waste, and certain other specified wastewater that does not contain hazardous, prohibited or restricted materials.

Handling waste responsibly Everyone can play an important role in preventing contaminants from entering the sewer systems. Understanding and abiding by bylaw restrictions will help protect the environment and reduce sewer systems maintenance repair and operation costs.

All wastes that cannot be discharged in the sewer systems should be collected and removed to an appropriate waste disposal site. In some cases, you may have to install interceptors or treatment equipment on-site to remove undesirable substances from wastewater before it is released.

Waste disposal contractors are listed in the Yellow Pages under Environmental Products and Services, Waste Disposal or Recycling.

Equipment you may need

  • Flow Monitoring Points (Inspection Manholes)on each sewer pipe leaving your property.
  • Oil and grease interceptor at premises where commercial or institutional food preparation takes place.
  • Oil, grease and sand interceptor at premises in which equipment or vehicles are serviced, repaired or washed.
  • Containment systems and special drainage arrangements for area with a high potential for fuel, oil or chemical spillage.
  • Wastewater pre-treatment equipment to bring concentrations below the bylaw limits.
  • Wastewater screening systems to prevent objects larger than 20 mm from entering the sewer system.
  • Neutralization systems for acidic or basic wastewater.
  • Metering on non-EPCOR water supplies.
  • Hazardous waste detection devices/alarms on sewer lines.