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Stormwater drainage permits

Within The City of Calgary, approval is required to directly or indirectly release water into the Storm Drainage System (including roadways and swales).

The following kinds of activities do not require approval to dispose of water to the Storm Drainage System:

  • Foundation drainage collected below ground;
  • A swimming pool or fountain that is less than 3,000 litres;
  • Potable irrigation or wash water (no detergents or cleaners) from single family or semi-detached homes; or
  • Water used to extinguish fires.

What's new?

  • Simplified terminology
  • Updated, more user-friendly application form
  • Simplified process, including removal of commencement notification and amendment process
  • Laboratory Water Quality Results reporting table
Our Nuisance Water Disposal Flowchart can be used to help you determine what kind of permit you will need if you are releasing anything into the stormwater drainage system. You may need a drainage permit for the following scenarios:

  • An excavation or trench has collected water and it must be removed to continue work;
  • Surface rainwater runoff has collected on your construction site and needs to be removed;
  • Pumping any potable drinking water;
  • Fire flow or hydrant testing;
  • Water that has collected in a parking lot, parkade or parkade excavation;
  • Draining ground water cisterns prior to permanent connection to the storm system;
  • Commercial snow melting;
  • Commercial or industrial stormwater management ponds; or
  • Any other activity that requires you to release water into the storm drainage system.
To obtain approval, follow the Approval Process FlowchartApproval Process Flowchart below:

Approval Process Flowchart
Click on image to enlarge.

Note: You may be required to provide supplementary water quality information as part of a Drainage Permit Application. Please use the Laboratory Water Quality Results Table (Excel spreadsheet) to summarize results and provide with the original lab report(s).

Even with a permit there are some substances that should never be put into the stormwater system. These prohibited items include:

  • Soil, sediment, waste or other solid matter;
  • Fecal matter, animal waste, dead animals or animal parts;
  • Fats, cooking oils and greases;
  • Gasoline, motor oil, transmission fluid and antifreeze;
  • Solvents or paints;
  • Cement or concrete waste;
  • Sawdust, wood, fibreboard or other construction material;
  • Yard waste;
  • Hazardous substances;
  • Medical or industrial waste;
  • Soaps or detergents;
  • Water from hot tubs;
  • Any substance that emits an odour; and
  • Fish and other aquatic plants or animals.
Turbidity Examples
Water with a nephelometric turbidity unit (NTU) reading of greater than 100NTU may not be discharged to the storm drainage system. Water to the left of the red line meets the NTU limits set out in the Code of Practice for Drainage Activities while those to the right of the line do not.

For more information regarding these permits, view the Drainage Bylaw, Code of Practice for Drainage Activitiesm pdfCode of Practice for Drainage Activities or contact 311.​​​​​