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Source Control Program

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ARROW Utilities, in partnership with its 13 member municipalities, operates a Source Control Program aimed at reducing the number of contaminants sent via the sanitary sewer system to the ARROW Utilities Wastewater Treatment Plant and EPCOR’s Gold Bar Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The program is in place to protect the environment and keep regional wastewater treatment plants operating efficiently by facilitating:

  • Wastewater sampling
  • Septic receiving station monitoring
  • Site drainage inspections
  • Wastewater discharge permits
  • Education

Program Benefits

Proper and cost-effective operations

Regional wastewater treatment plants maintain advanced treatment processes like biological nutrient removal (BNR) and ultraviolet (UV) disinfection. The range of negative impacts on these processes caused by contaminants, from higher operations and maintenance costs to the complete failure of the biological processes, can be eliminated or reduced by removing contaminants at the source. This is where our Source Control Program comes in.

Protection of the health and safety of the public and workers

Discharging flammable, toxic or oxygen-depleting substances can harm workers, adjacent residents, and the environment. Removing contaminants at the source protects wastewater industry workers and our ecosystem by eliminating potential health, safety, and environmental hazards.

Learn more about our wastewater systems, our operating bylaws and our codes of practice.

Wastewater Sampling

Industrial, commercial, and institutional (ICI) facilities are sampled to determine whether they have the potential to release prohibited, restricted or overstrength wastewater into the sanitary sewer.

All sampling results are evaluated and categorized according to the overstrength and restricted concentration limits as stated in your municipality’s utilities or sewer use bylaw. ICIs can choose to take action to reduce the concentrations of overstrength contaminants discharged at their site, thereby reducing their wastewater disposal fees. Wastewater samples exceeding the restricted limits are prohibited and will be reported to their respective municipality for enforcement.

Overstrength And Compliance

What do these terms mean, and how do they ultimately affect your business?

ARROW Utilities samples wastewater at ICIs within the Capital Region to test for wastewater parameters and contaminants. The negative impacts of contaminants in the sewer system can range from higher operations and maintenance costs to the complete failure of the biological processes used for treatment at the regional wastewater treatment plant. Contaminants not removed by the wastewater treatment process may be released to the North Saskatchewan River or the land through our biosolids application programs, which can have adverse environmental impacts.

All results are evaluated and categorized according to the overstrength and compliance concentration limits in the ACRWC Quality of Wastewater Bylaw. The categories are:

ICIs are faced with a decision when receiving an overstrength surcharge on their municipal utility bill:

Continue to pay the overstrength surcharges for ARROW Utilities to treat their overstrength wastewater at an extra cost.


Implement further pre-treatment or process modifications to reduce or even potentially eliminate their overstrength surcharges.

Compliance issues for restricted waste must be rectified immediately and cannot continue. On a case-by-case basis, ARROW Utilities and the municipality where the business discharges wastewater can manage these types of discharges via Wastewater Discharge Permits. Without a permit, continuing restricted waste concentration exceedances could lead to legal sampling, fines, and abatement.

Wastewater Overstrength Surcharges

Overstrength and additional overstrength surcharges may be assessed to the industry for wastewater discharges that exceed the limits of treatable parameters set out in Schedule ‘C’ of the Bylaw. The overstrength surcharges are billed through your municipality and are adjusted every six months.

Wastewater Inspections

The Municipal Government Act gives your municipality’s representatives the right to conduct drainage inspections on any ICI facility with reasonable notice. These are completed to ensure ICIs are compliant with applicable sewer use bylaws.

What questions to expect during an inspection

  • What is your business, and what operations are typically completed?
  • Are there any wastewater pre-treatment devices such as sumps, oil or water separators, or grease traps? If so, what drains or fixtures are connected or flow to these devices? We may ask to inspect the inside of these devices to assess their condition.
  • If you have any pre-treatment devices, we will need to know details surrounding their maintenance, including who cleans them and how often, where the waste is disposed of, and do you have records on-site in the form of manifests or invoices to support these details.
  • Do you have used oil, solvents, or other automotive fluids on-site, and if so, how are they stored and disposed of?
  • Do you have any hazardous materials, wastes, or other chemicals that require special disposal? If so, how are they disposed of and is there appropriate documentation?
  • Is there appropriate containment surrounding places where chemicals are stored?
  • What are your procedures for spill prevention/spill clean-up?


Wastewater Discharge Applications

Wastewater Discharge Applications

A Wastewater Discharge Application needs to be submitted to ARROW Utilities when one or more of the following discharges into the ARROW Utilities system is required:

  • The average discharge rate will be equal to or is greater than one mega litre (1000 m3) flow/day;
  • A temporary discharge is proposed;
  • A new continuous discharge is proposed; or
  • The proposed discharge does not comply with the terms and conditions of ARROW Utilities’ Quality of Wastewater Bylaw.

ARROW Utilities’ Regulatory Services Source Control Group determines when to initiate the Wastewater Discharge Permit process for an industrial, commercial, and institutional (ICI) facility based on the inspection of the ICI business.

If the application is approved, a Wastewater Discharge Permit will be issued to the applicant by ARROW Utilities. The applicant will be contacted if the application is denied or requires revision.

If the wastewater in question is to be hauled into one of the Alberta Capital Region’s septage receiving stations, the appropriate municipality must be contacted to gain access to the septage receiving station and to confirm any requirements they may have. A listing of the Alberta Capital Region’s septage receiving stations and approximate locations appears on the final page of the Detailed Wastewater Discharge Application.

Before completing a Wastewater Discharge Application, the ARROW Utilities Quality of Wastewater Bylaw should be referenced to compare the characteristics of the proposed wastewater discharge with the acceptable characteristics and restricted limits within the Bylaw.

ARROW Utilities will not accept uncontaminated storm or groundwater. If the wastewater characteristics to be discharged meet the minimum requirements of Alberta Environment and Protected Areas Quality Guidelines for Alberta Surface Waters, please get in touch with your municipality regarding discharge to a storm sewer.

If the wastewater parameters to be discharged are above the Quality Guidelines for Alberta Surface Waters and are less than the Bylaw restricted limits, please complete and submit the Discharge Application.

If the characteristics do not meet the minimum Bylaw limits, an alternative disposal method may be required; however, ARROW Utilities may still consider the Wastewater Discharge Application or request a revision.

Should I submit a Wastewater Discharge Application?

Follow the flow chart below to help you decide whether you should submit an application to ARROW Utilities.

Select either the Abbreviated Wastewater Discharge Application or the Detailed Wastewater Discharge Application. If you need help deciding which to select, contact ARROW Utilities via email at; Attention: Regulatory Services. To submit a completed application, refer to the directions on Page 1 of either of the documents.

The Source Control program regularly monitors four septage receiving stations. Sewage taken to these stations is conveyed through a wastewater transmission network to either ARROW Utilities’ Wastewater Treatment Plant or EPCOR’s Gold Bar Wastewater Treatment Plant. The septage receiving stations are designed to accept domestic wastewater from residential homes and ICI facilities not connected to a sanitary sewer system.

Acceptable Septage

  • Septic tanks
  • Holding tanks
  • Portable toilets

Not Acceptable Septage

  • Grease interceptor waste
  • Sump waste
  • Hazardous waste
  • Uncontaminated ground or surface water
  • Prohibited Waste as described in Schedule A of the Bylaw.
  • Restricted Waste with concentrations exceeding limits found in Schedule B of the Bylaw.
Codes of Practice

Codes of Practice

  • As a condition of discharge of wastewater into a sewer connected to a Wastewater Works, an operator of a business identified within one or more of the Designated Sector Operations must submit a completed Code of Practice registration form:
  • Within 90 days of the date of adoption of the Designated Sector Operations’ Code of Practice by the municipality in which the discharge occurs in the case of a discharging operation in existence on the adoption date or
  • In all other cases, within 30 days of the discharging operation commencing wastewater discharge into a sewer connected to a Wastewater Works.
  • Code of Practice Registration Form

Designated Sector Operations

Oil & Gas Operations and Support Services sector

Food Service Operations