Alberta takes a comprehensive approach to municipal wastewater management. Alberta Environment and Parks’ (AEP) Municipal Wastewater Program regulates wastewater treatment systems that are designed to treat more than 25 cubic metres of wastewater per day or systems that discharge off the site of development. These systems service approximately 80% of the province's population.
Provincial wastewater systems not regulated by the department include:
- private home and farmstead systems (regulated by Municipal Affairs)
- First Nations systems (regulated by the federal government)
The Wastewater Program is comprised of 5 elements:
- wastewater systems
- performance assurance
- knowledge and awareness
AEP regulates the Municipal Wastewater and Storm Water Management Program to ensure environmental protection. Regulatory frameworks, standards and guidelines are designed to assure environmentally acceptable wastewater discharge and acceptable storm water management practices. Municipal systems are regulated by AEP and private sewage systems are regulated by Municipal Affairs.
For an overview of the regulations for municipal and domestic wastewater systems, see:
Private sewage systems
Private systems that receive less than 25 cubic meters per day of wastewater and that dispose treated wastewater on private land.
- Safety Codes Act – Applies to the design, construction, operation and maintenance of plumbing and private sewage disposal systems.
- Private Sewage Disposal Systems Regulation – Requirements for equipment and operation of systems that dispose of sewage on private property.
- Alberta Private Sewage Systems Standard of Practice – Outlines the private sewage system objectives and the minimum requirements for safety, health and structural capability.
- Alberta Private Sewage Systems Standards of Practice Handbook – Provides examples and explains the Alberta Private Sewage Systems Standard of Practice 1999 but is not a regulatory document.
- Permits and Alberta’s Safety Code System
For more information on private systems, contact Municipal Affairs or see Private sewage codes and standards.
For more information on regulated systems, contact one of AEP's offices: Environment and Water – Contacts.
The Government of Alberta is always striving to improve its programs and services. Here are some of the initiatives that aim to advance the municipal wastewater program:
Municipal wastewater facility assessments
In 2008, AEP initiated a comprehensive review and assessment of the condition of municipal wastewater treatment systems' infrastructure and receiving environment where these systems discharge their treated effluents. This work was carried out in 2 phases and was completed in July 2010.
The first phase of the study included data collection, site inspection of mechanical plants, development of the receiving environment and infrastructure assessment frameworks. The result of the first phase of the study are documented in 'Municipal Wastewater Facility Assessment, Volume 1 Phase 1 Report and Appendices', dated January 2009.
The second phase of the study is a refinement of the results from Phase 1 and analysis to prepare conclusions and recommendations. The technical analysis and the recommendations prepared in phase 2 are detailed in 'Municipal Wastewater Facility Assessment, Phase 2 Report and Appendices', dated July 2010 and 'Municipal Wastewater Facility Assessment Phase 2 Executive Report' dated July 2010.
An Access® database entitled 'Alberta Municipal Wastewater Database' has also been designed to manage the data and derive the metric results for this project. This data management tool contains all the information and metric results for the municipal wastewater facilities and their receiving environment.
To download the respective documents and database, please see:
- Canada-wide Strategy for the Management of Municipal Wastewater Effluent
- Stormwater Management Guidelines for the Province of Alberta