Wastewater is "used" water that contains a mixture of
liquid and solid materials from residential and commercial sources. Wastewater
flows through the sanitary sewer system to wastewater treatment facilities, where it
is treated before being discharged into receiving waters.
LegislationIn British Columbia, the Local Government Act and Community Charter enable local governments to provide wastewater services. Wastewater is regulated by two provincial agencies:
Wastewater PlanningDeveloping and implementing long-term waste management strategies is key to protecting the environment from the potentially adverse effects of wastewater. Local governments can develop a Liquid Waste Management Plan (LWMP) to help ensure that wastewater infrastructure will meet community needs today, and into the future.
The Liquid Waste Management Plan process takes into account the sensitivity of the receiving environment, the local government's ability to finance the upgraded wastewater facilities, and provides a process for public input to the waste management planning process. The LWMP allows local governments to schedule and develop strategies to address all municipal liquid waste, specifically:
LWMPs help minimize the environmental impact of wastewater
and ensure that development is consistent with Ministry of Environment waste
management objectives and Ministry of Health public
health objectives. A well managed LWMP protects human and
environmental health and supports sound financial planning.
Funding for Wastewater Management
The Infrastructure Planning Grant Program assists local governments by providing grants up to $10,000 to study the feasibility and planning for wastewater projects. The Program supports a range of activities related to wastewater infrastructure including, but not limited to:
PartnershipsThe Department participates in several inter-agency working groups that develop legislation, policy, regulatory tools and advisory material for local governments.
The Green Infrastructure Partnership is an example of a collaborative effort that is
working to develop tools for introducing green infrastructure at the local
level. This partnership has produced the
Green Design Guidelines to provide local governments with alternative construction standards
and practices that will allow for the development of sustainable municipal
By partnering with organizations such as the
BC Water and Waste Association,
the Department is able to pool resources and increase the delivery of
sustainable and cost effective management practices.