Spill Response

If you witness a spill, paint, or chemicals being washed into a stormwater drain, or a contaminated stream:

  • Call City Operations Department immediately at 604-987-7155 (Monday-Friday, 8:00-4:30) or after hours at 604-988-2212 (after hours emergency)
  • You can also call the Emergency Management BC at 1-800-663-3456
  •  If you see a spill that gives you immediate concern for your or others' safety, call 9-1-1

How Spills Affect Waterways

There are two types of pollution to the City's waterways:

  1. Point source pollution - from a single identifiable source like a factory, waste water treatment plant or some other facility. Most of the current federal, provincial and municipal regulations are regarding these types of pollution sources.
  2. Non-point source pollution - from multiple or unidentifiable sources. This includes stormwater runoff from roadways, parking lots, lawns and agricultural fields. This runoff can contain oils, soap, animal or human waste, sediment and fertilizers. Foreign substances like cleaning products, automotive fluids, fertilizers, paints, solvents, pool and hot tub water, and even loose soil can kill fish, insect and plant life when dumped into these drains.
water coming out of storm drain

The City has more than 150 kilometres of storm sewers which collect rainfall from properties and streets. The storm system carries stormwater runoff - or rainwater - from roads and gutters to our streams and Burrard Inlet. Because the contents of storm drains aren't treated before entering City’s streams and Burrard Inlet, we need to keep storm drains clear of contaminants. Water running off properties can carry with it household chemicals and organic wastes like dirt, grass clippings, and leaf litter that can pollute local streams and wildlife habitats.

The storm system is different than the sanitary system. The sanitary system carries wastes and water from within buildings and homes such as sinks, showers, toilets, basement floor drains and washing machines. This wastewater is transported to the North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant where it is treated before the water is released back to the environment.

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