Do you need a waste discharge authorization

An authorization is written permission to discharge waste into the environment. Learn what waste discharges need an authorization under the Environmental Management Act (EMA).

Find the waste or activity that applies to you

All businesses, governments and property owners must follow the EMA and Waste Discharge Regulation when discharging waste to air, land or water.

You need to follow the rules for each waste activity on your site or for your operation. This may require more than one authorization.

Waste and activities list

Select your waste or activity from the list below to find the rules you must follow.


Aquaculture










Sewage 



Specific waste activities requiring authorization

These activities require a waste discharge authorization. If your activity is not captured in these options, see all other activities.

More detailed information about waste discharge requirements are found in the Waste Discharge Implementation Guideline (PDF, 592KB).

You need an authorization for

  • Air emissions from boilers and heaters bigger than 0.15 megawatts (MW) such as those used by a greenhouse or nursery

Learn more and start your application


You don't need an authorization for

  • Boilers and heaters that are 0.15 MW or less and are CSA certified. These are considered already registered

You need an authorization to

Discharge air emissions from:

  • The use of cutback asphalt 
  • Hot-in-place asphalt recycling plants and hot mix asphalt plants (except in Metro Vancouver

Learn more and start your application


You don't need an authorization for

  • Associated gravel production
  • Hot tar roofing
  • Surface grinding of asphalt
  • Beneficial use of surface grindings
  • Disposal of old asphalt in dry conditions

These discharges require a separate authorization:

You need an authorization for

  • The construction and operation of compost facilities
  • The production, distribution, storage and sale of biosolids and compost

Learn more and start your application


You don't need this authorization for

You need an authorization for

  • Manufacturing ready-mix concrete or concrete products and related air and process water discharges

Learn more and start your application


You don't need an authorization for

  • Discharging solid concrete, including residual slurry and sludge
  • Small scale home concrete projects
  • Concrete mix operations

You need an authorization to

  • Dispose of water, wastewater or water mixed with chemicals in a deep well if you are 3rd party service provider

Learn more and start your application


You don't need this authorization to

  • Dispose of water, wastewater or water mixed with chemicals in a deep well if you are a primary producer. You may need an authorization under the BC Oil and Gas Commission

You need an authorization to

Receive, treat, discharge or dispose of:

Learn more and start your application


You don't need this authorization to

  • Generate hazardous waste
  • Transport hazardous waste
  • Operate a return collection facility

These require a different registration.

You need an authorization to

  • Apply biosolids to land
  • Apply Class B compost from a managed facility to land

Learn more and start your application


You don't need this authorization to

You need an authorization for

  • Land-based facilities where finfish are fed, nurtured, held, maintained or reared in fresh water to reach a size for release or market sale. For example, fish hatcheries, rearing ponds or other similar facilities

Learn more and start your application


You don't need this authorization for

  • Net pen facilities
  • Spawning channels
  • Fish product processing. For this activity you may need an effluent authorization
 

You need an authorization for

  • Mining related air discharges
  • Mining related effluent discharges
  • Mining related refuse discharges

Each of these discharges may require a separate authorization.

Learn more and start your application

You need an authorization to

Compost waste from facilities producing a mushroom growing substrate. Waste includes: 

  • Air emissions 
  • Wastewater effluent 
  • Solid waste
  • Storage

Learn more and start your application


You don't need this authorization for

You need an authorization to

Operate facilities including:

  • Petroleum storage greater than 100,000 litres
  • Distribution facilities greater than 100,000 litres
  • Cardlocks

Learn more and start your application


You don't need an authorization to

  • Store less than 100,000 litres of petroleum
  • Store at a location for less than 180 consecutive days
  • Operate retail service stations
  • Deliver fuel from storage to end-users at marinas, airports or ports

Air emissions from bulk plants are governed under the Gasoline Vapour Control Regulation.

You need an authorization when your placer mine discharges waste to the environment

Learn more and start your application

You do not need a waste discharge authorization when you meet all of the following conditions

  • Hand panning for gold
  • Exploring for minerals using equipment movable by hand and:
    • You do not use mercury or other chemicals
    • The washwater delivery system intake does not exceed 38 mm
    • The tailings are discharged to a tailings pond with a minimum of 0.5 m freeboard
    • The water in the tailings pond is reused or allowed to seep into the ground
    • No suspended sediment is allowed to enter downstream
  • Producing minerals where
    • You do not use mercury or other chemicals
    • The tailings are discharged to a tailings pond with a minimum of 0.5 m freeboard
    • The water in the tailings pond is reused or allowed to seep into the ground
    • No suspended sediment is allowed to enter downstream

You need an authorization to

  • Discharge more than 22.7 m3/d or 500 gallons of sewage or wastewater from treatment facilities to ground
  • Discharge to water
  • Use reclaimed water
  • Discharge private and municipal sewage

Learn more and start your application


You don't need an authorization to

A different process is followed for Liquid Waste Management Plans and Operational Certificates.

You need an authorization for

Slaughter and poultry processing facilities processing: 

  • More than 5 tonnes (live weight killed) red meat or combination of red meat and poultry per year 
  • More than 1.5 tonnes (live weight killed) poultry meat per year

And that manage waste in one or more of the following ways:

  • Discharge wastewater to ground or irrigation
  • Air emissions from incinerating solid waste
  • Landfill solid waste
  • Compost solid waste

Learn more and start your application

You also need to be authorized as a composting facility if composting more than:

  • 30 tonnes of solid waste from red meat or combination of red meat and poultry processing per year
  • 10.5 tonnes of solid waste from poultry processing per year

You don't need this authorization for

  • Discharging all wastewater to an authorized municipal sewage system and all solid waste to an authorized rendering facility or municipal landfill
  • Slaughter and poultry processing facilities for personal use. For this activity see agricultural environmental management
  • Discharging waste from poultry egg cleaning or grading and the sale of live poultry. For these activities see all other activities

You need an authorization to

Land apply more than 5 m3 of soil amendments. This includes industrial inorganic or organic wastes, for example:

  • Fly ash
  • Lime
  • Pulp or paper mill wastewater residuals
  • Water treatment residuals
  • Industrial wood residue

Learn more and start your application


You don't need this authorization for

You need an authorization to

  • Dismantle more than 5 wet vehicles per year. A wet vehicle means a motor vehicle that is no longer used for transportation purposes and still contains fluids like oil, gas and coolant

Learn more and start your application


You don't need an authorization to

  • Dismantle less than 5 wet vehicles per year
  • Recycle steel and operate crush facilities not associated with vehicle recyclers
  • Operate vehicle service stations or garages and repair shops which do not recover or recycle parts from used cars

You need an authorization to

Operate:

  • Wood waste landfills at wood processing facilities 
  • Dryland log sort landfills
  • Remote camp landfills

Learn more and start your application


You don't need this authorization to

The following require a different landfill authorization:

  • Landfills not related to wood processing
  • Private landfills
  • Pulp mill landfills
  • Commercial landfills that accept waste for a tipping fee

 

All other activities that need an authorization

Depending on your activity and the types of waste you plan to release, you may need one or more of the following authorizations.

You need an authorization to

  • Discharge air emissions including:
    • Dust 
    • Particulate from manufacturing and industry
    • Volatile organic compounds
    • Heavy metals

Learn more and start your application


You don't need an authorization to

  • Discharge odour causing compounds, excluding H2S
  • Discharge steam

You need an authorization to

Discharge liquid waste, including:

  • Mine effluent
  • Manufacturing process water
  • Cooling water
  • Conditioning water
  • Solvent water
  • Landfill leachate
  • Surface water run-off
  • Equipment and product wash water
  • Sterilization waste water

Learn more and start your application


You don't need this authorization for

A different process is followed for Liquid Waste Management Plans and Operational Certificates.

You need an authorization to

Discharge waste to ground, including:

  • Ash or partially burned materials
  • Sludge
  • Bark, trim ends, off grade chips

Learn more and start your application


You don't need this authorization to

  • Operate a wood waste landfill associated with a wood processing facility. For this activity see wood waste landfills

A different process is followed for Municipal Waste Management Plans and Operational Certificates

 

Need help?

If you have questions about what process your discharge falls into, our authorization administration staff can help.

Ask a question