The waste discharge authorization process
Learn about the process and timelines to get a waste discharge authorization.
How applications are processed
Depending on the type of waste or activity, authorization applications follow either a simple or complex approval process. Each process has a distinct series of steps with specific timelines.
The simple process is for applications under a regulation or code of practice that are less complex and technical in nature.
Examples of applications following the simple process are:
- Registering an agricultural boiler or heater
- Registering a land-based finfish facility
- Application of soil amendments
If your application falls under the simple process, getting permission to discharge waste follows these steps:
Step 1: Intake
During this step, ministry staff process application fees and review application forms to ensure they are administratively complete.
After you submit your completed application form and any applicable fees, expect to:
- Receive notification if your application is incomplete within 30 days
- Have your application returned if it is incomplete. The application fees are not refunded
Step 2: Screening
During this step, ministry staff review your application to confirm it belongs in the simple process.
In this step, expect that:
- Ministry staff may contact you for more information
- It may take up to 60 days for ministry staff to complete screening of your application
Step 3: Completion
During this step, ministry staff complete your application and enter it into the system.
In this step, expect:
- To receive a letter to confirm or deny your authorization
- The simple process can take up to 90 days from the date the ministry receives your application form
The complex process is for applications that involve submission of specific technical information. It also involves a lot of interaction with ministry staff.
Examples of applications following the complex process are:
- Sewage discharges
- Hazardous waste management facilities
If your application falls under the complex process, getting written permission to discharge waste follows these steps:
Step 1: Intake
During this step, ministry staff process application fees and review intake forms to ensure they are administratively complete. The intake forms include the information and supporting documentation describing your proposed project or activity.
After you submit your completed intake forms and any applicable fees, expect to:
- Have your intake forms returned if they are incomplete. Application fees are not refunded
- Receive a file tracking number within 30 days of the ministry accepting your intake forms
- Use the file tracking number to check the status of your application throughout the complex process
Step 2: Pre-application
During this step, ministry staff work with you to determine the components of your application package.
Expect to receive clear guidance, direction and communication from ministry staff on the information needed in your application package, including:
- Technical information about the project or activity
- Best Achievable Technology (BAT) Summary (PDF, 355KB) requirements
- Public notification activities
- Indigenous community engagement
This step begins with ministry staff reviewing your intake forms and contacting you to set up a pre-application meeting to discuss the details of your application.
Before the meeting
It is recommended that you:
- Review the discharge requirements in the applicable legislation for your project or activity
- Ensure you are familiar with other government requirements (local, provincial, federal) for your project or activity, such as land use approvals
- Review available guidance documents
- Review the Information Requirements Table (IRT) for your project or activity to see what you may need in your application package
During the meeting
During the pre-application meeting, you discuss the details of your application with ministry staff. The goal of the meeting is to:
- Define and confirm what information is needed for your application. This can include:
- Site plans
- Closure plans
- Management plans
- Public consultation requirements
- Engagement with Indigenous communities requirements
- Summarize the requirements into a checklist called an IRT
After the meeting
After the pre-application meeting, your ministry contact will send you an Application Instruction Document (AID) that clearly states the process and application requirements agreed upon during the meeting. The AID may include an IRT.
You are responsible to:
- Acknowledge the application requirements and process by signing the AID
- Complete the requirements outlined in the AID, which may include:
- Preparing technical documents
- Notifying the public and responding to concerns
- Engaging with potentially impacted Indigenous communities
You have up to 36 months to develop your application materials and submit them to the ministry. Support is available upon request from your ministry contact throughout this process.
Step 3: Application submission and screening
In this step you submit your application package that contains all the documents outlined in the AID and IRT.
During this step ministry staff:
- Screen your application package to ensure it is complete and free from administrative errors. It is not screened for technical details at this time
- Contact you if any documents or administrative information is missing from the submission
Step 4: Review and decision
During this step ministry staff:
- Conduct a detailed technical review of your application
- Conduct consultation with potentially impacted Indigenous communities
- Draft the terms and conditions for your authorization
- Decide to approve or deny your application
- Enter approved authorizations into the system
In this step, expect to:
- Be contacted to provide additional details or information, or to address outstanding concerns from Indigenous communities
- Receive the draft terms and conditions of the authorization for review
- Be notified of the ministry's decision to approve or deny the application
- If approved, you will receive your authorization documents in a final authorization package
- If approved, the public will be able to search for and view your authorization
Timelines are dependent on complexity of the application.
|Intake||Up to 30 days for ministry staff to process the intake form|
|Pre-application||Up to 120 days to hold the pre-application meeting|
|Application submission||Up to 36 months for the applicant to submit required documentation|
|Review and decision||Up to 12 months for the ministry to review the submitted documentation|
If you have questions about what process your discharge falls under, our authorization administration staff can help.