Wastewater is produced when you shower, wash clothes, flush the toilet, prepare your meals, and clean up dishes. However, not everything that is disposed of down the drain is safe for the plumbing in your house or safe for the miles of public sewers that service the community.
Items such as fats, oils, and greases (FOG), pharmaceuticals, paints, solvents, motor oil, antifreeze and others cannot be effectively treated by wastewater treatment plants and will ultimately end up entering rivers, lakes, and the ocean untreated after passing through the plants.
The Halifax Regional Municipality has designated special waste depots for many household items which should not be poured down drains or flushed.
Illegal dumping and spills
Storm drains are for rain and snow melt only. Dumping toxic chemicals such as those mentioned above, or even soapy water into the storm drain is prohibited by Halifax Water’s Rules and Regulations [PDF].
If you witness someone pouring something down the storm drain, please call 902.490.4820 or email the Halifax Water Pollution Prevention Team immediately.
Listen to Halifax Water’s Don’t Dump This Campaign audio ad.
Preventing fats, oils, and grease from entering the wastewater system
Fats, oils, and grease (FOG) dumped into the sewer system can block sewer laterals, cause a back-up of raw sewage, and may result in expensive repairs to your home or business.
Common examples of ingredients that produce FOG are:
- butter, margarine, lard
- cooking oils
- dairy products
- baked goods
- food scraps
- sauces and dressings
These items should never be disposed of into sink drains or toilets. They should be cooled, wiped and placed in your green bin.
What can be put into a drain or toilet in Halifax?
Don’t dump any of the following items down the toilet or sink. Put them in the garbage:
- cigarette butts
- cotton swabs
- dental floss
- fats, oils, and grease
- sanitary napkins
- tampon applicators
- wipes (baby and/or adult)
Many household items such as pharmaceuticals, paints and solvents and wastewater from carpet cleaning, car washing, and pools and hot tubs that enter our sewer systems cannot be effectively treated by municipal wastewater treatment systems.
Toilet paper: the one and only flushable wipe
“Flushable” wipes are clogging sewers across Canada and are costing Canadian ratepayers at least $250-million a year. While these “flushable” wipes may swirl down the toilet with ease, they don’t disintegrate, creating serious problems as they work their way through sewer systems on their way to treatment plants.
Pollution prevention for businesses
The Pollution Prevention Team may request to inspect your business to ensure compliance with the Halifax Water’s Rules and Regulations [PDF]. Food service establishments such as restaurants and cafeteria’s, including those contained within industrial, commercial or institutional premises as well as vehicle or equipment service stations, repair shops and garages must comply with the Regulations.
The Halifax Water Pollution Prevention Team may request to inspect your business to ensure that:
- grease interceptors discharge to the wastewater system and not the stormwater system
- food establishment grease interceptors are in compliance with the Building Code Act, the Building Code Regulations, as well as CSA B481 Series-12
- vehicle and equipment service operations are in compliance with the Building Code Act as well as the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute [PDF]
- you have up to date maintenance records for grease interceptors available (clean-out, maintenance, and disposal records must be kept for two years)
- enzymes, solvents, hot water or other prohibited agents are not used in place of grease removal by mechanical means
For more detailed information on the requirements of Halifax Water's Regulations regarding grease interceptors, please see section 70 of the Halifax Water’s Rules and Regulations [PDF].
For more detailed information on the requirements of Halifax Water's Regulations regarding vehicle and equipment service oil and grease interceptors, please see Section 71 of the Halifax Water’s Rules and Regulations [PDF].
Pollution prevention forms
Pollution Prevention Form 1
The completion of an Abbreviated Discharger Information Report (Form 1) [PDF] is required by all Industrial, Commercial or Institutional (ICI) customers who discharge to the Halifax Water wastewater system as outlined in the Rules and Regulations for Water, Wastewater and Stormwater Services, section 73.
Pollution Prevention Form 2
The Rules and Regulations state that the Halifax Water Pollution Prevention Team may also require some customers complete a Detailed Discharger Information Report (Form 2) [PDF]. Pollution Prevention staff will advise whether a Form 2 is required.
Contact the Halifax Water Pollution Prevention Team
Halifax Water P2 Team
PO Box 8388, RPO CSC