Information | Scheduled system upgrade - May long weekend

Due to a scheduled system upgrade, some applications and documents on may not be available from 5 p.m. Friday, May 17 until 8 a.m. Tuesday, May 21. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Learn more about how your business can stay in compliance and avoid surcharges or fines.

Surcharge program

What is considered high-strength wastewater?

Wastewater discharge that exceeds the wastewater limits for three treatable parameters (see table below) set in the Wastewater Bylaw 14M2012 are considered high strength.

Treatable parameters Bylaw limits (mg/L)

BOD- Biological Oxygen Demand


TSS- Total Suspended Solids


O&G- Oil and Grease


How are wastewater surcharges calculated?

A surcharge is applied to a customer’s monthly water consumption, in addition to regular sewer service charges, if wastewater strength is found to be greater than the bylaw limits.

Further information on how the wastewater surcharge is calculated can be found in ‘Schedule F’ of The City of Calgary’s Wastewater Bylaw.

How can I reduce my surcharge bill?

 The Surcharge Program promotes the importance of industries having a pre-treatment system, good housekeeping and industry best management practices in place to treat wastewater onsite and help reduce the strength of wastewater discharged into our system. Reducing the amount of higher strength wastewater going into the wastewater system will reduce your monthly surcharge bill.

How and where are wastewater discharge samples taken?

Periodically, discrete composite wastewater samples are collected over a 24 hour period at the designated sample point and analyzed in a City accredited laboratory. 

Food Service Establishments (FSE's)

What is a grease interceptor?

A grease interceptor (also known as a grease trap) is a plumbing device that collects fats, oil and grease, and food particles to prevent them from going into the wastewater system. This device must be installed by a licensed plumber under a Plumbing permit issued by a City of Calgary Plumbing & Gas Inspector.

Who is required to have a grease interceptor?

The City of Calgary Wastewater Bylaw 14M2012 states that all industrial, commercial, institutional facilities where food is cooked, processed, prepared or where FOG is released (there is no minimum amount), must install a grease interceptor.

What does a grease interceptor do?

A grease interceptor protects your business and your wastewater system.

Fats, oil and grease hardens as it cools and sticks to the inner lining of pipes, eventually causing a blockage. Preventing fats, oil and grease from going down your drain reduces the amount of money you have to spend on:

  • cleaning and disinfecting after a sewer backup,
  • hiring a contractor to clean the buildup in your pipes, and
  • repairing or replacing your pipes if the blockage is severe.

How do I choose the right grease interceptor?

A licensed plumber can determine which device is best suited for your facility. They will consider the volume and flow rate of wastewater from your sinks to determine proper sizing.

Does a grease interceptor help prevent wastewater blockages?

Yes, a grease interceptor protects your pipes by removing fats, oil and grease from wastewater before it is released into the pipes where the substances stick and create a clog or blockage.  Grease interceptors require frequent and thorough cleaning to function properly. A grease interceptor which is not regularly cleaned will eventually clog.

Will a food waste grinder affect my grease interceptor?

Yes. The ground up solids from food waste grinders settle at the bottom of the interceptor and take up room. The interceptor will clog up with grease more quickly and will need to be cleaned more frequently.

Why does my grease interceptor back up and overflow? Will a larger one back up and clog less?

Grease interceptors back up because they need to be cleaned or because an outlet is blocked. If you buy a larger unit it will need to be cleaned less often because it holds more grease, but all grease interceptors will clog if you don't remove the entire contents regularly.

How often should I clean my grease interceptor?

Wastewater Bylaw 14M2012, referencing the Canadian Standard Association document B481, states that:

  • Grease interceptors shall be serviced at least once every four weeks.
  • Grease interceptors shall be serviced before the volume of FOG and solids exceeds 25% of the liquid volume of the grease interceptor.
  • Grease interceptors shall be service regularly to ensure efficient operation.
  • Proper servicing consists of removing 100% of the interceptor substances (entire contents) and thoroughly cleaning the grease interceptor and inspecting its components.
  • Regular servicing of grease interceptors shall be performed to prevent excessive odour and the attraction of vermin.

Who do I call to install or clean a grease interceptor?

Grease interceptor selection and installation must be completed by a licensed plumber under a Plumbing permit issued by a City of Calgary Plumbing & Gas Inspector. A qualified service provider can also assist with cleaning requirements, as well as tools to help manage cleaning needs and offer proper disposal of waste material. There are several businesses located in Calgary that offer these technical expertise and services.

How much does installation and cleaning cost?

Costs will vary depending on the work needing to be completed. We suggest obtaining a few quotes from qualified service providers.

How should I dispose of the waste if I clean my grease interceptor myself?

FOG and solids should be placed in either your organics bin if permitted, or double-bagged in your garbage bin.

  • Contact your organics service provider before sorting the contents to determine if they will accept grease interceptor waste.
  • Grease interceptor contents cannot be disposed of into the wastewater system, stormwater system, or the environment.

What are my disposal options as a grease interceptor cleaning service provider?

Grease Interceptor contents removed during the cleaning process can be disposed of at the City of Calgary’s Bonnybrook FOG disposal station located at 4302 15 St. S.E.

 **NOTE: Enter through the access gate at 42 Avenue and 17a Street S.E.

  • A FOG hauling permit is required to access this disposal station.
  • Information on how to apply for a permit can be found here.
  • FOG can not be disposed of at the Valleyfield Septage Station. 

What if my kitchen doesn't generate any grease and I don't use grease in my cooking? Do I still need a grease interceptor?

Yes. A grease interceptor not only collects grease, it removes food particles, fats and oils such as:

  • fats from butter, margarine, shortening and mayonnaise,
  • cooking oil,
  • dressings and condiments,
  • grease from cooking or baking,
  • dairy products, and
  • soups, sauces, and gravies.

What can I do to reduce the amount of FOG going to my grease interceptor?

  • Use dry paper towels or a spatula to wipe off food waste from cookware into the compost before washing in the sink or dishwasher.
  • Use strainers in your sinks to catch food waste. Empty the strainer into the compost.
  • Put greasy foods in the compost, not down the drain.
  • Pour small amounts of cooking oil and grease into a container with a tightly sealed lid (e.g., coffee can, small ice cream pail) and once it hardens, scoop it out in your compost. Do not pour it down the drain.

Do I need to keep a record of cleanings and/or maintenance?

Yes. A maintenance log is a record of how often you clean the interceptor and how full it is each time. It is required under the Wastewater Bylaw 14M2012 to ensure that maintenance is performed regularly. The bylaw also requires that the maintenance records for the previous two years be available for inspection.

Is there a penalty if I don't install, maintain and keep records of a grease interceptor?

Yes, you could pay a fine under the Wastewater Bylaw:

  • for failing to install a grease interceptor: $500 to $2,000
  • for failing to monitor, operate, properly maintain and clean a grease interceptor: $500 to $1,500
  • for failing to submit grease interceptor maintenance records: $100 to $500

In addition, The City can take corrective action at the owner's expense. As a result, the owner could be charged for the following:

  • the cost of wastewater service cleaning to clear grease blockages,
  • the cost of correcting problems in neighbouring properties (e.g., wastewater backups) that are a result of violating the bylaw requirement to have a properly functioning grease interceptor.

Can you waive the grease interceptor requirement for my food service establishment?

No, The City does not give exemptions.  If food is cooked, prepared or processed or any amount of FOG is released from washing equipment used in the preparation, cooking or processing of food, a grease interceptor must be installed.

Who can I contact if I have more questions about grease interceptors?

Click here for more information and to download helpful information sheets, posters and a service record template or contact 311.

Can I recycle cooking oil?

Yes. Some businesses collect and reuse large amounts of cooking oil.

Please note, grease interceptor waste can not be disposed of in the used cooking oil bins provided by these companies.

Automotive industry

What do I need to install to comply with the bylaw?

Automotive businesses need to install a system to remove or capture any solids, fluids or chemicals released from the business. This prevents unwanted substances from going into the sewer or the environment. This system is often referred to as ‘pre-treatment’.

Who do I call to install or clean a pre-treatment system?

Pre-treatment selection and installation must be completed by a qualified / certified consultant or tradesperson. A qualified service provider can also assist with cleaning requirements, as well as tools to help manage cleaning needs and offer proper disposal of waste material. There are several businesses located in Calgary that offer these technical expertise and services.

How much does installation and cleaning cost?

Costs will vary depending on the work needing to be completed. We suggest obtaining a few quotes from qualified service providers.

Clear water waste dispoal

I need to remove accumulated water from my site. How do I know if I need a permit to discharge to the Wastewater System or the Storm Drainage System?

Clear water waste is defined as water originating from sources other than wastewater streams and includes the following:

  • roof and foundation drainage;
  • remediated groundwater;
  • impounded storm drainage or impounded groundwater
  • a release as directed by Alberta Environment

First, cross reference your project with the Nuisance Water Flow Chart to determine which system should be accessed. Then, follow the links below to apply for the appropriate permit.

Apply for a Drainage Permit (Storm System) here.

Food trucks

What are the requirements for the food truck logbook under section 34.1 of the wastewater bylaw?

After unloading the wastewater, you must fill out a logbook that includes the date, time, location, approximate volume, and the name of the person/company disposing of the wastewater.


How do I report a violation of the wastewater or drainage bylaw?

Contact 311 to report a bylaw infraction. Have the following information ready before calling:

  • Your name and address,
  • a primary and alternate phone number,
  • the address and exact location of the property for which you wish you register a complaint, and
  • a brief and concise description of the complaint.

What should I do if my business has a spill that enters the wastewater system?

A business is required to contact 311 to report a release of Prohibited or Restricted substances, as defined in Wastewater Bylaw 14M2012. This will allow City field crews to attempt to contain the release before reaching the receiving Wastewater Treatment Plant. The following information will be required:

  • Your name and contact information,
  • time, location and volume of the release as well as the type of material,
  • any known hazards, and
  • any corrective actions being taken.

Are there some things that shouldn’t go down the drains or toilets?

Flushing anything other than toilet paper and human waste down the toilet can clog pipes and create sewer back-ups. Click here for a full list of things that should not go down the drain. Please note that wipes that claim to be flushable aren’t. Flushable wipes retain their shape and strength, causing blockages in pipes. These need to be placed in the black bin.