Why should you care what goes down the drain?
UBC produces about 10 million liters of wastewater per day, generated from residential, research, operation and maintenance activities. Hazardous waste when flushed down the drain without proper treatment can cause serious harm to the environment. Discharges of hazardous materials, oils or grease into the sanitary sewer system can:
- Compromise the health and safety of staff managing the drain system
- Damage the operation of the sewers and sewage facilities
- Adversely impact the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of wastewater treatment
- Negatively affect the aquatic environment/ecosystems
Watch this video to learn how to prevent wastewater pollution and to find out what’s coming next from our regulators.
Complete an Aqueous Waste Profile (excel/pdf) for your laboratory waste. This profile will help you determine if the waste stream of concern can be disposed of via the sanitary sewer system. RMS has also undertaken the assessment and sampling of certain high volume and frequency aqueous waste in various buildings on a case-by case basis.
Review your waste carefully! Refer to the RMS Sanitary Sewers webpage for details. Some non-hazardous aqueous waste streams (i.e. not toxic, corrosive, flammable, or reactive), may be suitable for drain disposal under certain conditions.
- Follow the guidelines for disposing of non-hazardous chemicals down the drain. If your waste is not in the list, it may be hazardous! Review the Hazardous Waste Disposal Guide for further information, including silver, oil and paint recycling.
- Review ESF’s CWIS assessment of your hazardous waste.
- Visit the Hazardous Waste Manual and the Sewer Use Bylaw guidelines for detailed disposal procedures.
- Appropriately neutralize common corrosive waste (with no other hazards). The acceptable pH range is (5.5-10.5) before drain disposal.
- Use and dispose of bleach solutions responsibly. Bleach is commonly used in labs and due to its very high pH (12-14) it can be quite damaging to plumbing if used in excess, or if inappropriately disposed of.
Want to learn more?
- Learn about a new Metro Vancouver bylaw that directly affects UBC laboratories.
- Check out the presentation, entitled: “Down the Drain: Where Wastewater Goes and How it’s Regulated” courtesy of Riley Sziklai from Metro Vancouver.
- Watch this short video from Metro Vancouver: Grease in Sewers.
- Read about the Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Facility.
- Read about the Lion’s Gate Wastewater Treatment Plant, which provides primary treatment to the wastewater of over 180,000 residents.
- Take a virtual tour of the Lulu Island Wastewater Treatment Plant, a secondary treatment plant that treated 26 billion litres of water in 2012!