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Drainage inspections

We have bylaws in place to control the use of the municipal sewer system in Edmonton. These bylaws specify what can and cannot be released into the sanitary, combined and storm sewer systems. It also sets out connection requirements for the sewerage system, including various types of pre-treatment devices​.​​​


EPCOR inspects and tests the sewer system in your area to verify the sewer system is in good condition and is connected properly. Ensuring properties are properly connected to the sewer system helps reduce the risk of flooding and odours in your home and business. In addition, these inspections help ensure the sanitary system is connected properly so it does not enter the stormwater system that protects our local water bodies and the North Saskatchewan River from harmful environmental impacts.

The bylaws mentioned above give our inspectors the right to conduct a drainage inspection of any facility in Edmonton with reasonable notice and at any reasonable time. Inspectors carry photo identification and are in uniform, identifying themselves as EPCOR employees.

Learn about inspections for residential customers and inspections for industrial, commercial and institutional customers (ICI)​.​​​

​Inspections for residential customers

EPCOR inspects the wastewater collection system with dye testing that tracks the flow of wastewater from your property to the sanitary or stormwater system. The dye helps us verify that your sanitary system is entering the correct sewer system and that the infrastructure is in good condition and connected properly in order to prevent flooding and odour issues.
  • An EPCOR employee will enter your property and will flush a coloured, non-toxic and biodegradable, dye down your toilet or other plumbing fixture. This test will not damage the toilet or plumbing and should only take a few minutes.
  • The EPCOR employee will then check the both the sanitary and storm manholes on the street to determine which sewer system the dye entered.​
  • This test helps EPCOR determine if untreated wastewater is entering the storm sewer system (i.e. cross connection).
  • Depending on the result of the dye test, repairs or modifications to the private sewer system may need to be completed, which could result in costs to the property owner.

Received a letter to book a dye test?

Schedule a dye test inspection by emailing the contact on the letter you received.

​Inspections for industrial, commercial and institutional customers (ICI)

EPCOR enforces the Bylaws by monit​oring and inspecting over 2,000 industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) sector facilities each year and responding to spills and complaints. The Bylaws give EPCOR the right to conduct a drainage inspection of any ICI sector facility in Edmonton w​ith reasonable notice and at any reasonable time. All EPCOR employees carry photo identification and are in an EPCOR branded uniform.​

​What EPCOR looks for

Inspections allow EPCOR to ensure no prohibited, restricted or hazardous wastes (which may have adverse affects to human health, the environment or wastewater collection infrastructure) are being released into the sewerage system. Inspections also give us the opportunity to raise awareness and provide information regarding the safe disposal of wastewater and storm water.

During an inspection, an EPCOR employee will look at 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, we may request a copy of the building plan, disposal records and Safety Data Sheets (SDS).​​

Key wastewater restrictions

A key restriction for the storm sewer system is that no wastewater other than rainwater and snow melt should enter the system.

The Bylaws outline all the restrictions regarding release of wastewater, including storm water. Key restrictions to the drainage system include, but are not limited to:​​
  • 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; and
  • No material that is corrosive or radioactive.​
All waste 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 other pre-treatment equipment on-site to remove prohibited or restricted substances from wastewater before it is released.

Waste disposal contractors can be found by searching “Environmental Products and Services” or “Waste Disposal or Recycling” through your preferred search engine.

Note: Violations of these Bylaws are subject to fines of up to $7,500, payment of any needed repairs, or discontinuance of water or drainage services.​​

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

​Equipment ICI customers may be required to install and/or maintain:

  • 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; or
  • Hazardous waste detection devices/alarms on sewer lines. ​