Register a Municipal Sewage Discharge

Compliance with the Municipal Wastewater Regulation (MWR) provides authorization for a discharge of municipal effluent or use of reclaimed water in B.C.

The registration guidance below is to assist with, and simplify, the Municipal Wastewater Regulation’s registration process for wastewater facility owners, operators and consultants.

Determine if the Municipal Wastewater Regulation (MWR) is applicable 

As a first step, you should review the information below and retain a qualified professional to determine if the Municipal Wastewater Regulation (MWR) is applicable to your discharge.

To determine if the proposed discharge is covered under the MWR please review the application section of the MWR (Section 4). A qualified professional will be able to determine the wastewater design flow requirements for your site. The Ministry of Health’s Sewerage System Standard Practice Manual may be used as a guide to determine the design flows for smaller systems.

Please note that for discharges to ground less than 22.7m3/day, the Public Health Act’s Sewerage System Regulation may apply.

If the MWR applies, a qualified professional will be able to evaluate your site, conduct the required studies, produce the appropriate plans, complete the required design work, and assist with, or complete the MWR registration process.

Prior to the pre-registration meeting, it is recommended that dischargers:

Become familiar with the guidance information below;

  • Become familiar with the content of the MWR. For more information about EMA and the MWR and how they apply to you, you may wish to obtain legal advice;
  • Ensure their proposal will meet the requirements of the MWR;
  • Be aware of and satisfy any local government, other provincial ministries and federal government requirements. For example, local governments generally have land use authority and the appropriate land use approvals for the project should be sought prior to registering a discharge;
  • Determine if a Liquid Waste Management Plan will apply to the facility or discharge. 

Pre-registration activities

The ministry recommends that a pre-registration meeting between the discharger and the Regional Environmental Protection Director (the director) be held prior to the formal registration of a discharge. The meeting should be held at least 60 days before you intend to register. 

Please review and familiarize yourself with the Municipal Wastewater Regulation and the registration guidance contained on this page prior to arranging the pre-registration meeting with the director. 

The pre-registration meeting is intended to provide an opportunity for dischargers to: 

  • Describe the proposed discharge to the director;
  • Confirm the requirements of the MWR;
  • Confirm the appropriate level of detail required for the environmental impact studies, operating plans, operator requirements and monitoring;
  • Confirm whether security applies to the discharge and, if so, consider which option to select; and
  • If required, obtain direction from the director regarding contact with other agencies.

The pre-registration meeting is an opportunity for the director to: 

  • Identify any concern with the proposal;
  • Determine whether additional requirements or more stringent standards are likely; and
  • Provide input into the terms of reference for the environmental impact study.

Registration Documents

The sections below are intended to be a guide to assist with the completion and submission of the documents that make up the registration package. Please keep copies of all documents submitted for your records.

Registration Document Checklist

The optional Registration Document Checklist can be used to help prepare the registration package and prevent unnecessary delays in the registration process. The checklist can be used for new registrations, or when revising or transferring an existing registration. The checklist contains a brief description of each document required for registration, and a reference to the applicable section of the MWR.

Technical Information Summary Sheet

The Technical Information Summary Sheet (summary sheet) must be submitted with the registration package.

The purpose of the summary sheet is to satisfy Section 12 of the MWR and to provide ministry staff and facility owners with a quick reference to key registration information. The summary sheet will also allow ministry staff to conduct compliance activities with greater efficiency. The summary sheet is also a valuable reference tool for wastewater treatment facility owners and operators.

Certification by Qualified Professionals Sheet

The Certification by Qualified Professionals Sheet (signoff sheet) must be submitted with the registration package. The purpose of the signoff sheet is to satisfy Section 15 of the MWR and to provide a consistent template for professionals to use. 

The intent of the signoff sheet is to provide assurance to the regulator that the design of the facility and associated documentation meets the requirements of the regulation or requirements imposed by the director. The signoff sheet does not replace any other professional signoff that would normally be required for individual documents, such as design drawings or environmental impact studies.

Registration Form

The Registration Form conveys important administrative, technical, and wastewater system information to the ministry. Please use the instructions below to assist with completion of the form. For ease of reference, the section numbering and lettering below matches the registration form.

How to submit a registration package

Submitting documents by mail or courier 

Submit the completed registration package, including application fee (see Section 6 below) to the following mailing or courier address. 

Mailing address:

Ministry of Environment
Environmental Management Branch
Business Services Section
PO Box 9377 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W 9M1

Courier address:

Ministry of Environment
Environmental Management Branch
Business Services Section
3rd Floor, 2975 Jutland Road
Victoria BC V8T 5J9

Fees

Application Fee 

A $200 application fee is required to process the application and must be submitted with your registration package. Cheques, money orders or cash (if paid in person) are acceptable. Credit cards are not accepted at this time. Cheques must be made payable to the Minister of Finance. The application fee is non-refundable. The application fee must also be submitted when revising or transferring an existing registration. 

Annual Fee

Following registration, the registration holder will be assessed an annual fee on the first anniversary date of the registration and each subsequent year. Payment of annual fees is required in order to remain registered under the MWR. The value of the annual fee will be determined based on the volume and concentration of contaminants identified on the registration application form. Annual fees will be calculated in accordance with the Permit Fees Regulation

Registration effective date

Registration takes effect on the date the director notifies the person that all of the required information has been received in the form and manner acceptable to the director. 

You should expect to receive a written notification of registration, or that additional information is required prior to registration. 

Please note that notification by the director of registration is not evidence that the requirements of the Environmental Management Act or MWR have been met. 

Updating or transferring an existing registration

The optional Registration Checklist (see Section 4i above) will guide you through the process of updating or transferring an existing registration. Once the required documents are completed, submit the revised package according to Sections 4 and 5 above. Please note that the MWR includes specific timelines that must be adhered to when updating or transferring a registration. You must also include the application processing fee (see Section 6 above).

Transfer of registration 

The discharger must notify the director of an intent to transfer the registration at least 30 days before the transfer.

A transfer of registration (from a developer to a strata corporation for example) would typically only require submission of a revised registration form. Please refer to section 16 of the MWR to determine if additional information is required. 

Any changes to registration information must be reported to the director within 30 days, along with any revised documentation, if applicable.  

The documents to be submitted depend on the extent of revision. If only administrative information is being updated (updating contact or landowner information for example) then only a revised registration form would be required. 

If the revision is required due to a change in the registered discharge or because of updated documentation (plans, drawings, studies, etc.) then the revised documentation must be submitted along with a revised registration form. Please refer to section 16 of the MWR.

E.g. updated information could include an updated operational plan with finalized operation and maintenance information and sealed as-constructed drawings, which reflect changes made during construction. 


Event
Notification/SubmissionTimeline
Change to registration information on file
Notify director, submit revised information
30 days prior
Transfer of registration
Notify director of intended transfer. Submit revised information, if applicable. 
30 days prior
Providing reclaimed water
Notify the applicable health officer in writing. Provide proof of the above notification to the director.
Notify Health Officer at least 60 days before registering the proposed use of reclaimed water.
Provide audited financial statements of capital replacement fund for the previous year.
Submit financial statements to the director.
Within 90 days from the end of the discharger’s fiscal year.
Prior to begining of discharge
Notify the director that discharge will begin and submit sealed as-constructed design drawings of the facility.
Within 30 to 60 days before beginning of discharge.
Just after begining of discharge

Notify the director that discharges have started.

Not more than 7 days after beginning to discharge.
Prior to bypass which may cause the discharge to fail any requirement of the MWR.
Notify director of intent to bypass. Receive authorization to bypass. Comply with bypass conditions imposed by the director.
At least 30 days before start of bypass.
Unauthorized bypasses, overflows or spills.
Report in accordance with the Spill Reporting Regulation.
Report in accordance with the Spill Reporting Regulation.
System malfunction which may cause the discharge to fail any requirement of the MWR.
Notify director and health officer.
Immediately.
Failed routine toxicty test.
Notify director.
Immediately.
Assurance plan coverage ending.
Notify director.
Within 30 days of coverage ending.
Annual report for discharges serving populations greater than or equal to 10,000 or for use of reclaimed water.
Submit annual report to director.
Prior to May 1 of each year for discharges serving greater populations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the financial security requirements of the MWR? 

If the discharger is an individual, company or strata corporation, the MWR requires one the following be established:

  • a capital replacement fund and provision of security or,
  • an assurance plan acceptable to the director.

This requirement is intended to assure reasonable operation and maintenance of wastewater facilities so that the occupancy of principal residents, public health, and the environment are not jeopardized. 

Under special circumstances, contributions from the capital replacement fund and/or security may be accessed by the director and used for repair, operation, maintenance, replacement and/or improvement of a wastewater facility as specified in Section 30 of the MWR.  

The requirements for establishing a capital replacement funds, security and assurance plans are specified in the MWR in Division 5 – Security and Assurance Plans. 

Note: The security requirements do not apply if the discharger is a municipality, or if the discharge is from a service area defined and governed by a local service area bylaw.

This guidance document does not replace the Environmental Management Act (Act) or its regulations. It does not list all provisions relating to municipal wastewater discharges. If there are differences or omissions in this document, the Act and regulations apply.