Farm Buildings & Access - 2.2 Drainage & Sewage Systems

If inadequate drainage or liquid waste disposal systems are not in place, food, food contact surfaces, inputs, housing areas and the water supply can be contaminated.


This good agricultural practice applies to all farms.

What Needs to Be Done

Make sure facilities and yards have drainage and liquid waste disposal systems designed and maintained to prevent any risk of contamination.

How to Do It

  • Use safeguards (for example, dikes, drains, ditches and berms) to protect outdoor facilities and yards from flooding.
  • Design facilities to promote drainage (for example, floor surfaces sloped to drains).
  • Take the following into account when designing and constructing septic, liquid waste disposal, and drainage systems:
    • site of drainage system (for example, distance from water supplies),
    • protection of pipes from freezing temperatures in winter, and
    • volume/capacity of waste liquid generated from production systems.
  • Install backflow prevention devices to prevent drainage backups.
  • Maintain liquid waste disposal and drainage systems (for example, empty septic tanks at recommended intervals to ensure sludge buildup does not affect operation).

In General

  • Consider what to do in the event of unexpected circumstances, such as flooding or extensive freezing, that creates a food safety hazard.
  • In the event of a spill, contact your local municipality or your local public health inspector or the Provincial Emergency Program for guidance on how to handle the clean-up.

If You Need an Audit

Be prepared for the auditor to:

  • Review documentation and the Permit-to-Operate for any on-site sewage system,
  • Review documentation on septic tank pump-outs,
  • Visually observe for any unusual standing water and accompanying odours.

Laws & Regulations that Apply

There are few laws that directly impact on food safety directly regulating internal drainage and sewage systems in agricultural production. Generally, these requirements are laid out in laws regarding the processing of meat, fish and other  food products, which are outside the scope of this document.

Forms & Records

Go back to 2.1 Facility Maintenance Proceed to 2.3 Toilet & Hand Washing Facilities