Wastewater bylaw FAQs

Learn more about how your business can stay in compliance with the Wastewater Bylaw 14M2012 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

300

TSS- Total Suspended Solids

300

O&G- Oil and Grease

100

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 do I need to install to comply with the bylaw?

FSEs must install a system to remove or capture any fats, oil and grease (FOG) released from the business to prevent these substances from entering the sewer or the environment. This system is often referred to as a grease interceptor.

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

Grease interceptor selection and installation must be completed by a qualified / certified 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.

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. 

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.

General

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.