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Water drainage bylaw - FAQ

The Water Drainage Bylaw works in conjunction with the Lot Grading Bylaw and Community Standards Bylaw to regulate Calgary's storm drainage system by requiring that both the public and industry manage drainage and water quality.

This page contains common questions about the drainage bylaw. For more details, including highlights for homeowners and businesses, please visit our water drainage bylaw page.

Common water drainage bylaw questions

1. Can I still wash my car in the driveway or street?

We recommend using a commercial car wash to clean your vehicle. Commercial car washes drain to the City's wastewater treatment facility where the wastewater is cleaned and treated. If you do wash your car in the driveway or street, you cannot use soap. Use water only and ensure that dirt or oil from your car does not get washed down the storm drain. For more information, see bylaws related to car washing.

2. What is an interceptor?

Some industrial and commercial properties have interceptors such as oil and grit separators, which collect and separate contaminants and particles to improve storm water quality. The Bylaw requires the regular maintenance of interceptors to ensure optimum performance. For more details, see Fat, Oil and Grease Disposal.

3. Can I get a drainage or dewatering permit?

A permit is legally required before allowing any water other than stormwater into Calgary's storm drainage system. For information on the permit process, please see drainage permit requirements under our erosion and sediment control page.

4. How do I report a bylaw violation?

For more information about reporting a bylaw infraction, visit the following pages:

Failure to comply with the Drainage Bylaw could result in contaminants or pollutants being released into our rivers, obstructions in the storm drainage system (sewer backups in the pipe system), and flooding. Failure to comply with the bylaw can also result in fines ranging from $75 to $10,000 and/or remedial orders.