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Stormwater drainage permits

Within the city of Calgary, a permit is required to directly or indirectly release water into the stormwater drainage system (including roadways and swales).

The following kinds of activities do not require a permit:

  • 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.

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 a permit:

  1. Call 3-1-1.
  2. Keep the service request number provided to you as you will need it for your application.
  3. Complete and submit theSchedule A- Site Drainge Self Assessment and Application.pdfSchedule A- Site Drainage Self Assessment and Application. Make sure to complete all required sections, including the service request number provided by 3-1-1 and sign the completed form.
  4. If you determine you have a standard site, you can start pumping. This type of permit is valid for 30 days after submission.
  5. if you determine you have a non-standard site, you must wait for an approval letter before you can begin pumping. This approval is valid for the dates noted on the letter.
  6. If there are any minor changes while pumping complete aSchedule C- Notice of Amendment.pdfSchedule C- Notice of Amendment.
  7. If there are any major changes while pumping complete aSchedule D- Application for amendment.pdfSchedule D- Application for Amendment.

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.

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 detailed information on the Drainage Permit process follow the Interactive Drainage Permit Flowchart.pdfInteractive Drainage Permit Flowchart or theInteractive Amendment Flowchart.pdfInteractive Amendment Flowchart.

For more information regarding these permits, view the Drainage Bylaw, Code of Practice for Drainage Activities (2016 update).pdfCode of Practice for Drainage Activities or contact 311.​​​​​