Waste, water and flood control

Waste Management

Waste collection and disposal facilities can be serious sources of pollution, especially to aquatic habitats. If poorly managed, they may also attract animals, including species at risk. Once habituated to these food sources, animals may become nuisances or dangerous, and need to be moved or killed.

 (c) Mike Pearson

Recommended actions:

  • Use the best available technology in wastewater and sewage treatment.
  • Use a bylaw to prohibit the introduction of toxic materials into storm and sanitary sewers.
  • Ensure that odours and animal access are controlled in all waste management facilities.
  • Use a bylaw to require residents, businesses and institutions to restrict odours and animal access in their waste facilities.

Water Supply and Sewer Systems

Municipal water systems draw from wells or surface water and may have significant impacts on species at risk through their effects on local hydrology. Storm and sanitory sewers are often major sources of pollution to aquatic habitats.
 (c) Mike Pearson

Recommended actions:

  • Evaluate the impacts of municipal water withdrawals from wells and surface water on stream and wetland hydrology.
  • Reduce reliance on high-impact sources through water conservation initiatives and switching to low-impact sources.
  • Equip storm sewers with in-pipe and end-of-pipe features to protect water quality (e.g. oil-grease separators, sediment traps, treatment wetlands).

Land Drainage

Flood control is a major concern for local governments with low-lying urban or agricultural lands. They are responsible for drainage through their own lands, most roadside ditches, and sometimes private property.

Drainage is typically maintained by dredging silt and vegetation from channels every two to ten years, a practice that can damage species at risk and their habitats.

Authorization from Fisheries and Oceans Canada is required when fish habitat is affected. Authorizations may be difficult to obtain, require long, complex application processes, and contain requirements for fish salvage, environmental monitoring and habitat compensation that are very expensive to fulfill.

Recommended actions:

  • Reduce the need for maintenance by planting native trees and shrubs to prevent bank erosion and shade channels, reducing grass growth.
  • Maintain channels by hand where feasible.
  • Integrate fish habitat enhancement into drainage maintenance work.
  • Develop watercourse management plans in cooperation with fisheries agencies. They should categorize channels by ecological sensitivity and describe maintenance protocols for each sensitivity level.

Hand maintenance of drainage, chilliwack, bc (c) Mike Pearson