Routine Application Process for a Waste Discharge Authorization

The Routine Application Process is for waste discharge applications that require technical assessments and reviews by ministry staff to inform authorization decisions that are protective of the environment.

These are applications for activities described in the Waste Discharge Regulation under the Environmental Management Act (EMA) that require a permit, approval or operational certificate (new or amended) as well as registration under the Municipal Wastewater Regulation and Hazardous Waste Regulation.

Process Description

This process has four phases: 





  • Incoming applications are sorted by transaction type (Express or Routine)
  • Applications are checked for completeness; if they are complete, applications are entered into the Ministry database, and assigned a tracking number
  • Incomplete applications are returned to the applicant

Preliminary Application

  • The Ministry will confirm what the necessary application package requirements are to support a statutory decision
  • An Environmental Protection Officer will contact the applicant
  • An Application Instruction Document (AID) is provided to the applicant
  • The applicant has a maximum of 36 months from the date the tracking number is assigned to submit a complete application


  • Ministry staff confirms that the required technical information provided in the AID is sufficient for the application to be processed

Review and Decision

  • A detailed review of the application package is conducted to ensure all technical components are included, as well as record of public and First Nations engagement
  • Terms and conditions are developed which form the authorization for the Statutory Decision Maker’s consideration
  • Statutory Decision Maker reviews all materials and makes a decision on the authorization request
  • Applicant is notified of the outcome of the decision

What to Expect in the Process

Application fees are collected, and complete applications (or preliminary applications), registrations, and notifications will receive a tracking number and will be determined to proceed either within the Express Transaction Process or the Routine Transaction Process. 

Applicants will be notified of their tracking number at the end of the Intake Phase and be provided with information about what to expect in the next phase.

Incomplete applications, incomplete registrations and incomplete notifications are not accepted and will be returned to the applicant. The applicant can reapply at any time.

This phase begins after successfully submitting a complete preliminary application form and obtaining a tracking number. Ministry staff will contact the applicant to arrange a time and location for a meeting to discuss the details of the project. This meeting is particularly important, as each situation is addressed on a case-by-case basis.

Here the components and requirements needed for a complete final application package will be determined. This involves guidance, direction and communication from the Ministry on the technical information requirements, as well as the public and First Nation engagement activities required in the final application package (i.e. Technical Assessment Report and Consultation Report found on the Guidance, Forms & Fees page).

In preparation for the preliminary application meeting, applicants should:

  • Become familiar with the Environmental Management Act, applicable regulations and any Ministry guidelines relevant to the proposed discharge. They may wish to seek legal opinion as to their rights and obligations under the act and regulations.
  • Become familiar with other government requirements (local, provincial, federal). For example, local governments have land use authority.
  • Compile detailed information on waste sources, treatment (engineering information and process flow systems), discharge characteristics and discharge location. 
  • Become familiar with guidance documents for the Technical Assessment Report and Consultation Report (both found under the "Routine Application" heading on the Guidance, Forms & Fees page) and provide as much information as possible in a format that is typically required in a technical assessment report.
  • Become familiar with the specific Information Requirements Tables (IRT) that are relevant to your project. IRT's are found under the "Routine Application" heading, under the "New" and "Amendment" sub-headings on the Guidance, Forms & Fees page.
  • Applicants are advised not to enter into any land agreements or purchase land until there is some certainty of the project. 
  • Applicants are advised not to purchase major pieces of pollution prevention equipment until there is certainty about the project requirements and authorization to discharge is obtained. In B.C., it is possible to construct works without authorization from the Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy, however, authorization from the Ministry must be obtained before discharge commences.

The applicant will receive an Application Instruction Document (AID) which summarizes all the information requirements for the final application.

This phase ends when the requirements for the final application package are submitted. The application package then enters the next phase.

This phase confirms that the draft final application package contains the information identified in the preliminary application phase. The application package is screened for administrative and technical completeness. It also involves confirming the technical complexity of the application, and determining the timelines for the final review and decision phase.

Note: a full review of the application package will occur in the review and decision phase.

This phase includes the following steps:

  • Detailed final review of the application request
  • Formal consultation with First Nations
  • Development of a draft authorization document
  • Final decision on the request which may result in the issuance of the authorization or a refusal of the application

The application package is reviewed and assessed in detail. The applicant may be required to provide additional information about the discharge, waste treatment or potential environmental impact and to resolve outstanding issues that arose from consultation. If government staff supports the application, a draft authorization document will be prepared for the Statutory Decision Maker, with conditions necessary to protect the environment.

If authorization is granted, the applicant will receive the authorization document. The permit or approval is active and the discharge may begin in compliance with the terms and conditions specified in the authorization.

If authorization is not granted, applicants will be notified and may re-apply with a new application.


How to Submit an Application Package 

All information for an application should be submitted via e-mail to

We encourage and prefer electronic submissions for applications.


Please submit the application fee in accordance with the instructions on the application form and review the Guidance, Forms & Fees page for fees associated with a particular application. 

Do not submit credit card information for payment of application fees via email or in an email attachment.