The Metro Vancouver region has two types of sewer systems: Combined and Separate. Combined sewer systems are where storm water and waste water are carried away in the same pipe. Although no longer used in new construction, the city still has some older combined sewers in operation. Replacement of these combined sewers is underway but it is a very expensive undertaking. Hopefully, by the year 2050 Vancouver’s sewers will all be replaced with separate pipes.
Until the replacement is complete, there are potential hazards to individuals and the environment. Combined sewers typically all run to a treatment plant. This works well in dry weather however problems arise during periods of heavy rains. The combined sewer systems cannot handle the volume of water and therefore much of the untreated water flows directly into the environment, ultimately making its way into the waterways.
Where separated sewer systems exist, the danger of harmful waste water leaching into the surrounding area is reduced. However, there is still a threat. Disposing of harmful materials down a storm drain can unexpectedly find its way to the environment. Storm drains are built into the road at curb level to receive runoff during storms.
Hazardous materials should never be disposed of down these drains. Here are some examples:
- Flammable liquids such as gasoline, turpentine, kerosene.
- Paints of any type
- Soapy water from washing vehicles
- Oils or grease
- Septic System overflow or leakage
Where separated sewer systems exist, the danger of harmful waste water leaching into the surrounding area is reduced. However, there is still a threat. During periods of heavy rains where the combined sewers overflow, normal household waste will leach into the environment. This poses an entirely different threat. In these situations, any item flushed in the house has the potential to make its way into the rivers and waterways.
For these reasons you should never flush anything down the toilet. But especially dangerous to the environment are items such as:
- Unused medicines
- Baby wipes
- Feminine products
- Medical supplies
Not only are these items a threat if they overflow, they can cause extensive damage to a water treatment plant. Safely dispose of these items in the trash, recycling center or collection agency.
Have an issue with a clogged storm or sewer drain or back-up? McRae’s Septic serves commercial, municipal, industrial and residential customers across all Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley including Delta, Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Coquitlam, Mission +++. Give us a call and we can provide a free estimate for clearing your sewer or storm drains and keeping our environment and waterways clean.