Sewer guidelines en.doc

Sewer Use Guideline

These guidelines have been prepared to assist staff and students in determining whether
certain liquid wastes may be discharged into drain systems on University premises.
The University's Environmental Policy (No. 72) and the Environmental Management Policy (No.
91) require us to comply with all applicable laws, regulations, codes, by-laws and guidelines.
The discharge of liquids is regulated under the City of Ottawa Sewer Use By-Law. The By-
Law specifies concentration limits for certain chemicals and wastes, and prohibits the
disposal of others. The intent of the By-Law is three-fold:
1. to protect receiving waters such as the Ottawa River from discharges of harmful contaminants that the sewage treatment plant is incapable of handling; 2. to protect sewer and sewage treatment plant workers from substances that may 3. to protect the sewer system infrastructure from damage as a result of disposal of The By-Law is enforced through a sewer It should be noted as well that these limits sampling and analysis program conducted by apply to the University as if it was an the City of Ottawa. Where analysis industrial operation, as distinguished from demonstrates that By-Law limits are being domestic or residential use of sewers. Normal exceeded, or prohibited materials are being residential practices may not be considered detected, the University will be asked to acceptable at the University. City of Ottawa investigate the causes and institute closely monitors discharges from large corrective actions and practices. Charges operations such as the University. can be laid by the municipality if the University fails to reduce discharges to The University has its own sewer sampling acceptable levels. The University would program that is managed by the Office of Risk consider disciplinary measures, including Management, Environmental Health and recovery of fines paid from the faculty, Safety. service, department, or research unit involved in cases where there was deliberate contravention of the Sewer Use By-Law or University policies. The Ministry of the Environment also requires building constructed or modified after 1987 to comply to the Ontario Water Resources Act if the building will emit industrial type wastewater. Sewer Use Guideline


In support of the University's environmental management policies, all staff and students are
discouraged from discharging non-household type wastes into drains and sewers. It is
recognized, however, that low concentration wastes can be discharged as long as they do
not negatively impact the environment, or affect the University's compliance with the Sewer
Use By-Law.
The following section, entitled "Permissible Discharges", lists which materials, wastes or
groups of materials and wastes that can be discharged into the sewer. The section is not
exhaustive; rather, it focuses upon discharges normally encountered throughout the
University. Given that thousands of substances are in use at the University, it would be
impractical to provide long lists of materials, stating which ones can and cannot be disposed
to the sewer. The decision to dispose of a material or waste into the sewer should therefore
be based on permissible discharges.
By default, substances not covered under permissible discharges should be regarded as
prohibited. Substances falling in this category should be collected and disposed through
appropriate off-site disposal. Staff and students are encouraged to contact the Office of Risk
Manageme nt, Environmental Health and Safety to obtain guidance on disposal options for
their particular situation.

The following materials and wastes can be discharged subject to any stated limitations:
Liquid wastes containing hazardous Radioactive materials:
ingredients: Aqueous solutions containing accordance with the Canadian Nuclear Safety
hazardous contaminants at micrograms per Commission licence conditions and University
millilitre concentrations.
Internal Radioisotope Permit conditions. Pharmaceutical agents: In aqueous media
Physiological salt and buffer solutions: At used in research at normal pharmacologic
concentrations up to 1%, and in volumes concentrations.
not exceeding 10 litres.
Phenolic compounds: Not exceeding a
Nutrient medias: This would include for concentration of 10 milligrams/litre and a
example, non-infectious cell culture liquids.
Sterilized biomedical wastes:
Acids and bases: At concentrations less
Sterilized blood - Not exceeding a
Ethanol solutions: At concentrations less
Javex solutions:
Sewer Use Guideline
Anions and cations - As listed below in volumes not exceeding 10 litres.
Anion or Cation
Anion or Cation
Chromium (Cr) Cobalt (Co) Lead (Pb) Manganese (Mn) Molybdenum (Mo) Selenium (Se) Silver (Ag) Tin (Sn) Titanium (Ti) Vanadium (V) Copper (Cu)
Please note that permissible discharges are also subject to the following limitations:

Chemical odours
All discharges should not contain chemicals with offensive odours, in quantities sufficient to give rise to odour complaints by members of the general public, e.g., hydrogen sulphide is detectable at 0.001 ppm. Other examples of chemicals with offensive odours include: reduced sulphur compounds, amines or ammonia, pyridine, mercaptans, or short chain fatty acids.
Obstructive wastes
All discharges should not contain solid or viscous matter to such an extent as capable of causing obstruction of sewer flow. Examples of such materials include sand, cement, ashes, bones, cinders, mud, straw, shavings, metal, glass, rags, feathers, tar, plastics, wood, unground garbage, grease, oils, animal guts or tissues, paunch manure, or clotted whole blood.
High-temperature discharges
Discharges should not be at temperatures and volumes capable of raising the final sewer outflow in excess 65E Celsius. Large process equipment, such as institutional sized dishwashers, for example, are capable of producing these effects. Contact the Environmental Health and Safety Service for further information.
Coloured wastes
All discharges should not contain dyes or coloured materials, in solid or liquid form, to such extent that they cause the sewer treatment plant outflow to become discoloured. Histologic dyes and latex paints, for example, discharged in high volume could give rise to this situation. Sewer Use Guideline

Discharges of the classes of materials or wastes listed below are prohibited in any quantity or
concentration, and must be collected for disposal off-site.
Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
This would include for example, gasoline, diesel fuel.


Cytotoxic agents
Drugs used in cancer therapy such as 5-fluorouracil, cyclophosphamide.
Hazardous Chemical Wastes
Untreated Biomedical Wastes

Biomedical wastes are defined as any untreated liquids of human or animal origin (e.g. blood or blood products), or microbiological liquids, such as live or attenuated vaccines or cell lines, which contain infectious agents classified at Risk Level 3, as listed in the Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines, 2nd edition, 1996, issued by Health Canada.
Ignitable Wastes
Ignitable wastes are defined as:
1. a liquid having a flash point less than 61EC (e.g. include ethanol at concentrations
greater than 24%, varsol, gasoline, or petroleum distillates); or 2. an oxidizing substance which yields oxygen to stimulate or contribute to the combustion of other materials (e.g. permanganates, perchloric and nitric acids).
Reactive Wastes
Reactive wastes are susceptible to violent/vigorous reactions or are likely to generate toxic
fumes. The waste is considered reactive if it meets any of the following criteria:
1. the waste is normally unstable and readily undergoes violent change without detonation
(e.g. diazomethane on contact with ground glass joints); 2. the waste reacts violently with water (e.g. sodium metal) or forms potentially explosive 3. when mixed with water, the waste generates toxic gases, vapours or fumes in a quantity sufficient to present danger to human health or the environment (e.g. cyanide or sulphide); 4. it is capable of detonation or explosive reaction either : • under standard temperature and pressure (e.g. 1,3-butadiene); • if it is subjected to a strong initiating source such as vibration 5. it is an explosive (e.g. 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine). Sewer Use Guideline


Storm sewers are primarily intended to collect water from rainfall from roadways and parking
lots. Whereas all discharges are normally into sanitary sewers and are therefore treated at
the sewage treatment plant, storm sewage is conveyed without treatment directly into
receiving waters such as the Ottawa River. Consequently, the Sewer Use By-Law imposes
more severe restrictions upon their use. For this reason, storm sewers should not be used for
any kind of disposal.
If a spill occurs, action should immediately be taken to (further) prevent the entry of the spilled liquid into drains, if this can be performed safely. All running water should be closed to prevent further movement of the spill, unless its continued use is essential to avert serious damage or injury. Should the spill be large enough that staff cannot safely deal with it, contact Protection Services at 5411 to activate a response team.
Please note that the University, through the Office of Risk Management, Environmental
Health and Safety, is legally required to notify the City of Ottawa of the occurrence if the
discharge is sufficiently serious to create possible health, safety or environmental effects
further down the sewer system.
There are different ways to contact the Office of Risk Management, Environmental Health and Safety: • through the web page, The City of Ottawa has more information on the Sewer use by-law on their web page


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