Erosion and Sediment Control Requirements

During construction, soils are often exposed due to vegetation removal, excavation, and vehicle access roads. Exposed soils can lead to erosion, with sediments washed onto roads and into catch basins, storm sewers and streams. Sediment laden water is detrimental to fish health and can clog or damage the drainage system.

To help maintain healthy watercourse ecosystems, the city implemented the Stream and Drainage System Protection Bylaw, 2003, No. 7541, which includes Erosion and Sediment Control requirements for development to prevent the discharge of a prohibited substance into the stream and drainage system. 

Key Requirements of the Bylaw

Water Discharge Criteria

Water discharged from a site must not contain any sediment, rock, gravel, sand, clay, silt, earth, construction or excavation wastes, cement, concrete, exposed aggregate wash water or other substances which, when introduced into a drainage system, will at the point of deposition, result in:

  1. A turbidity of more than 100 Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU) during and for 24 hours following a Significant Rainfall Event (>25mm in 24 hours), or more than 25 NTU  during any other time
  2. A pH value outside of the range 6.5 - 8.0; or
  3. A temperature increase of 2 degrees Celsius or more.

Erosion and Sediment Control Plan

Complex Developments (three units & larger, streamside developments, and projects on steep slopes or with slope instability as identified by a geotechnical study) are required to submit an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan prepared by a Professional Engineer or Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC).

Monitoring / Reporting Requirements

A monitoring program to measure the suspended solids in the run-off water discharged from the construction work is required for all complex developments. Monitoring must occur at minimum twice a month during dry months (May-September), weekly during wet months (October - April), after a Significant Rainfall Event, and until at least 90% of construction is complete. The results of the monitoring program must be submitted the City’s Engineering Department within one week of each site inspection.

Penalties and Enforcement

Penalties for discharge of a prohibited substance include fines of up to $10,000 per offence. As the City drainage system is connected to fish-bearing streams and Burrard Inlet, any discharges to the storm drains are also prohibited under the Federal Fisheries Act, with fines of up to $300,000 for first time offences.

Erosion & Sediment Requirements

An Erosion and Sediment Control Plan lays out the steps to prevent a discharge of sediment-laden water from a construction site into the stream and drainage system. An Erosion and Sediment Control Plan must consider the possible sources of erosion on the site, how to mitigate that erosion and prevent sediment laden water leaving the site, and how to treat sediment-laden water prior to discharging off the site. The plan is required in accordance with the Stream and Drainage System Protection Bylaw, 2003, No. 7541.

The plan must be followed for the duration of the project and should take into consideration what erosion and sediment control measures are necessary for each step of the construction process. 

Implementation and Maintenance of Erosion and Sediment Control Measures

Measures outlined in the Erosion and Sediment Control Plan must be implemented prior to starting work on the site and obtaining a City permit. Other measures may need to be implemented as work progresses in order to mitigate the current conditions on the site. All Erosion and Sediment Control Measures should be inspected regularly and maintained as necessary. A Monitoring Program is required for complex developments to ensure ESC measures are effective and maintained regularly. Upon project completion, all implemented erosion and sediment control measures should be decommissioned and removed from site.

Erosion and Sediment Control Deposit

A deposit in the amount of $1000 is required for each project. The deposit will be returned at project completion, when all erosion and sediment control measures on site are removed, and the site is cleaned up to the City's satisfaction.

Single Family, Duplexes, and Coach House - Erosion & Sediment Requirements

Three Units or Larger, Streamside Developments, and Projects on Steep Slopes - Erosion & Sediment Requirements

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