Waste facilities – Setbacks

Information on setback distances under the Subdivision and Development Regulation.



In Alberta, the setbacks for landfills from a dwelling and public road or railway were initially established in regulation as early as 1936. The regulations changed over time to include schools, hospitals, food establishments, non-operating landfills, waste storage sites and hazardous waste management facilities.


Section 17 of the Matters related to Subdivision and Development Regulation (AR 84/2022) under the Municipal Government Act defines the setback distance required from a development for a residence, school, hospital, or food establishment to an operating landfill, non-operating landfill, waste storage site and hazardous waste management facilities.


The current regulation lists minimum setback distances and the requirements for various types of developments that can encroach or be encroached upon. The development authority (or Municipality) can review a request for a setback variance if the development is suitable.

Developers and municipalities can use the following guideline to determine if a development is a setback is suitable:

Under section 7(6)(b), of the aforementioned legislation a copy of the of the complete application shall be provided to the Deputy Minister of Environment and Protected Areas.

Water wells

The setback distance for a water well providing water for human consumption, from a landfill, is 450 metres.

See Section 15 of the Nuisance and General Sanitation Regulation (AR 243/2003) under the Public Health Act.