Polluting a Stream or Well

It is an offence to put debris into a well, stream, stream channel or an area adjacent to a stream.

It is also an offence to allow debris to fall, spill, drain or otherwise get into a stream or a well and you may be fined or ticketed under the Violation Ticket Administration and Fines Regulation.

A wide range of human activity can cause debris or foreign matter to be introduced to wells, streams, stream channels and the areas adjacent to streams. It is important to take care with your work and activities to prevent debris from entering wells, streams and adjacent areas.

Debris may enter the water directly from people dumping or discharging material into the stream or well. Other times, debris may enter the water indirectly as a result of land use activities.

Debris may harm or damage streams by substantially altering channel characteristics and by changing water depth and natural flow regimes.

The Water Sustainability Act (WSA) prohibits dumping of

  • Debris
  • Refuse
  • Carcasses
  • Human or animal waste
  • Pesticides or fertilizers
  • Material from construction or demolition
  • A prescribed matter or substance.

Activities that can potentially introduce debris into the water include:

  • Resource extraction (access roads, ground disturbance)
  • Energy supply (construction, flooding and reservoir operation, corridors)
  • Land development (clearing, filling, construction)
  • Transportation (road, rail, or bridge construction and maintenance, truck hauling)
  • Waste disposal (stockpiling and dumping)
  • Agriculture (drainage and watercourse maintenance)
  • Stream clearing (gravel removal, logjams)
  • Commerce and recreation (wharves, piers, loading facilities)

Debris under the Water Sustainability Act

Under the WSA it is an offence to put or allow debris to spill or fall into a stream or well at any time. Previously it was only an offence to continue putting debris into a stream or well after being ordered to stop, but since the WSA came into effect on February 29, 2016, you may be penalized for putting or allowing debris into the water.

The Violation Ticket Administration and Fines Regulation identifies the offences and corresponding penalties under the WSA.