>> Environmental Laws and Regulations>> Contaminated Sites>> Drainage
The Ministry of Transportation has a responsibility to safeguard the environment as much as possible in all of its activities.
Your responsibilities for the protection of the environment when
on the Ministry's right-of-way include, but are not limited to:
- Complying with all applicable federal and provincial legislation and
On a construction project with particular environmental concerns, it pays to have an environmental management plan in place. One method of accelerating your environmental management plan is by retaining a qualified environmental consultant or an environmental construction monitor on an "as and when" basis.
- Protecting fish and fish habitat by not altering or destroying fish
habitat and not releasing deleterious substances, including silt and vehicle
fluids, into watercourses.
If you are planning a development which will affect streams or ditches in any way, NOTIFY the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Even if you do not require a permit to carry out your work, notification is a courtesy that will save time, effort and aggravation later.
- Protecting endangered species and their habitats by not altering or
destroying their habitats, including nesting sites, and not killing or
injuring the animals or their young.
Under the federal Species at Risk Act, recovery plans are being developed for 75 endangered species and 48 threatened species. These recovery plans, to be released July 2006, will affect work on provincial highways, as buffer zones will form a part of the recovery strategy.
- Protecting indigenous ecosystems and local agricultural operations
by not introducing foreign plants, such as invasive weeds, and not dumping
waste materials and waste fluids on or into the highway right-of-way.
- Complying with the Heritage Conservation Act in reporting any
archaeological resources known or found through the process of development
More detailed information can be found in the Ministry of Environment's Environmental
Best Practices for Urban and Rural Development in British Columbia
this is a large document that will take several minutes on high-speed Internet
Environment Laws and Regulations
A number of legislative acts, regulations and policies apply to activities and structures on the right-of-way. These include the following:
- Fisheries Act, Section 34(1), 35(1) and 36. These protect disruption of fish habitat, and prohibit the deposit of substances harmful to fish into fish-bearing water courses.
- Navigable Waters Protection Act, Sections 5(1), 6(1), 6(4), 10(1), 10(2). These prohibit the construction of projects on navigable freshwater or in a marine area without approval from Transport Canada.
- Migratory Bird Convention Act, Section 12 prohibits the injury or destruction of migratory birds and their nests.
- Water Act, Section 9, Water Act Regulation Part 7. These regulations protect water quality, habitat and water users by regulating changes in and about a stream.
- Fish Protection Act, regulates activities that affect fish habitat and riparian areas.
- Wildlife Act, Sections 9, 34 and 35, regulates works having an impact on wildlife, including removal of nests or beaver dams, possession of birds, eggs or nests, and transportation of carcasses.
- Weed Control Act, Weed Control Regulations prevents the spreading of noxious weeds and their seed.
- Public Health Act, Sewerage System Regulation, regulates the installation, construction and maintenance of sewage disposal facilities.
The Ministry offers Best Management Practices for Highway Maintenance Activities. This publication, while written for highway maintenance contractors, offers the regulatory background for all environmental stewardship practices, and highlights some excellent practices which apply to highway permit and approval activities as well as highway maintenance .
On April 1, 1997 the Contaminated
Sites Regulation of the Environmental Management Act (B.C. Reg. 375/96)
took effect. If the permit proposal involves land that has been used or
is used for industrial or commercial purposes or activities, you may have to provide a
site profile, a form which describes the potential hazards on the land.
Schedule 2 of the regulation sets out some examples of the types of
industrial or commercial land uses to which site profile requirements
apply. More information is available from Ministry of Environment offices. If the land has not been
used for industrial or commercial purposes you may provide a letter
to that effect, rather than a site profile. A letter template is available.
More information about contaminated sites is available at
The highway drainage system is for the protection of the provincial highway
right-of-way. It is not designed or intended to serve the drainage
requirements of abutting properties beyond that which has historically
flowed to the provincial right-of-way.
Drainage to the provincial highway
right-of-way will not be permitted to exceed the undeveloped historical flow. Instead, use
controlled flow detention ponds to control the flow
from developed properties. When the development requires curbs and gutters, you can eliminate the drainage
ditch by installing a storm sewer system. The Ministry
shall determine the appropriate drainage controls necessary to meet existing
or projected site-specific conditions.
Ministry staff may find that the site requires a drainage study by a qualified engineer registered in British Columbia. The type, design, and condition of drainage
structures must meet the approval of the Ministry of Transportation in unincorporated areas
and the local government and the Ministry in incorporated areas.
Ministry drainage design and specifications requirements are outlined in
Section 1010 of the BC Supplement to TAC
Geometric Guide and Standard Specifications for Highway
Infilling of Ditches by Property Owners
Infilling of road-side ditches by adjacent property owners, at their own
cost, may be permitted if it complies with Ministry Standard Specifications
and ensures proper drainage is maintained.
More information is available in the Ministry of Environment Environmental
Best Practices for Urban and Rural Development in British Columbia.