Source Control

ACRWC Source Control Program

Environmental Stewardship in Action

Keeping our environment safe requires a cooperative effort between your municipality and industry. The Alberta Capital Region Wastewater Commission (ACRWC), in conjunction with its 13 member municipalities, operates a Source Control Program aimed at reducing the amount of contaminants being sent via the sanitary sewer system to the ACRWC Wastewater Treatment Plant and EPCOR’s Gold Bar Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Industrial, Commercial and Institutional facilities – termed ICIs – and Industrial Wastewater Haulers are the main groups considered in the Source Control Program. Sectors of Concern are groupings of businesses with similar operations that have a high potential to release harmful or large quantities of contaminants into the sanitary sewer system. ICIs within the “Sectors of Concern” are the primary focus of the program. The Program is in place in order to protect the environment and to keep regional wastewater treatment plants operating efficiently, limits have been established on what can be put into the sewer system by ICIs. The Program functions through completing site inspections and sampling.

In addition to ICIs, the Program regularly monitors ACRWC five sewage transfer stations. Sewage taken to these stations is conveyed through a wastewater transmission network to either the ACRWC Wastewater Treatment Plant or to EPCOR’s Gold Bar Wastewater Treatment Plant. The transfer stations are designed to accept domestic wastewater from residential homes and industrial, institutional and commercial facilities that are not connected to a sanitary sewer system.

Source Control Program Mission

To manage discharges into the sanitary sewer system, at the source,
where pollution should and could be prevented.


Program Objectives

Protect the sewer infrastructure from corrosive materials or from materials that can clog the sewer system;
Protect wastewater treatment processes and prevent harmful discharges into the environment;
Eliminate the discharge of toxic, flammable or explosive materials into the wastewater flow;
Help ICIs to reduce their environmental impact; and
Allocate costs fairly.


Site Inspections and Sampling

ICIs falling within an identified “Sector of Concern” are inspected and may be sampled to determine whether they have the potential to release prohibited, restricted or overstrength wastewater into the sanitary sewer. The frequency of recurring site inspections and sampling will depend on the nature of discharges from each ICI.

The Municipal Government Act gives your municipality’s representatives the right to conduct drainage inspections on any ICI facility with reasonable notice. These are completed in order to check for compliance with sewer bylaws, and ensure that nothing hazardous to human health,the environment, the sewer system or the wastewater treatment plant is being discharged.

On-site inspections in the form of face-to-face interactions provide a platform for raising awareness and education. Areas within businesses that could be inspected include any place where wastewater drains into the sanitary sewer system, which could  include (but is not limited to)  floor drains, sumps, washrooms, grease traps, interceptors, processes and chemical storage areas (new and used).  To aid in the inspection, a site plan as well as Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for certain chemicals on-site may be requested. The following questions could be posed during a typical site inspection:

  • What sort of business is conducted at your location?
  • If washing is done on site, what types of soaps/cleaners are used? What types of vehicles and/or equipment are being washed and what are the potential contaminants?
  • Are there any wastewater pre-treatment devices such as sumps, oil/water separators, or grease traps? If so, what drains/fixtures flow these devices?
  • If you have any pre-treatment devices, we will need to know details surrounding their maintenance (who cleans them, how often, where is the waste disposed of, and do you have records on site in the form of manifests/invoices to support these details?)
  • Depending on the circumstances, we may ask to look inside certain pre-treatment devices to assess their condition.
  • Do you have used oil, solvents, or other automotive fluids on site, and if so, how are they stored and disposed of?
  • Do you have any hazardous materials/wastes or other chemicals that require special disposal? If so, how are they disposed of and is there appropriate documentation?
  • Is there appropriate containment surrounding places where chemicals are stored?
  • What are your procedures for spill prevention/spill clean-up?
  • Do you have any septic tanks or holding tanks on site that are used to contain wastewater?
  • We may request a copy of the building drawings to show sanitary lines within the facility, and where they connect to the municipal sewer system, or holding/septic tank.
  • If you have a municipal sewer connection, we may ask to see its location if there is a manhole or standpipe present.
Evaluation and Industry Action

All sampling results are evaluated and categorized according to the overstrength and restricted concentration limits as stated in your municipality’s utilities or sewer use bylaw. ICIs can choose to take action to reduce the concentrations of overstrength contaminants discharged at their site, thereby reducing their wastewater disposal fees. Wastewater samples that exceed the restricted limits are considered prohibited and will be reported to their respective municipality for enforcement.



Program Benefits

Proper and cost-effective operations

The regional wastewater treatment plants maintain advanced treatment processes such as biological nutrient removal (BNR) and ultraviolet (UV) disinfection. The range of negative impacts on these processes caused by contaminants, from higher operations and maintenance costs to the complete failure of the biological processes, can be eliminated or reduced by removing contaminants at the source.

Protection of the health and safety of the public and workers

The discharge of flammable, toxic or oxygen depleting substances can be harmful to workers, adjacent residents, and the environment. Removing contaminants at the source protects wastewater industry workers and our ecosystem by eliminating potential health, safety and environmental hazards.

Do Your Part to Protect the Environment

You can help maintain the health of the North Saskatchewan
River and the safety of employees, wastewater industry
workers, and the public, by eliminating the discharge of flammable and
 toxic contaminants into our sewers.

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