Many substances cannot be put in the sewer system as they may endanger workers, damage the existing municipal sewer systems, disrupt the City of Ottawa treatment process and negatively affect the quality of our rivers. The University is therefore required to comply with the City of Ottawa which includes over 87 parameters. When a chemical is not included in this by-law (example: acetone) this means the substance is prohibited, in any concentration, to be put down the drain.
How do we know if the University is complying with the By-Law?
The University of Ottawa works closely with the City of Ottawa to ensure that discharges from our community are complying with the City requirements. This is performed via sampling at random intervals at various locations on our Main Campus and our Health Science & Medicine Campus.
What do we do when there is an exceedance?
When an exceedance occurs the Office of the Chief Risk Officer conducts Investigations with the appropriate Faculties and Services to help determine where the exceedance is coming from and assist the responsible parties in the development of mitigation strategies. Our focus is on collaborating with Faculties and Services to implement feasible, long-term solutions to maintain sewer discharge compliance.
Parameters of Concern at the University of Ottawa
There are certain recurring exceedances identified by OCRO and the City of Ottawa in our sewer discharge. These recurring exceedances become parameters of concern that we monitor closely. Some examples are: Acetone, Dichloromethane, Total Suspended Solids, Biochemical Oxygen Demand, Total Phosphorous, Total Kjedahl Nitrogen and a few more. Examples of recent equipment/activities that were sampled on campus: cell culture broths, water aspirators, rotovaps, extractions, glassware washing, etc.
What am I allowed to put down the sink?
Only water and phosphate free hand soap unless your waste has been categorized and has been approved for sewer disposal. Every other substance, including non hazardous substances (i.e. sample cuttings, food products, soil/dirt, etc.) is also prohibited. You may request a review of your hazardous waste stream via the process validation service to determine if it is authorized for sewer discharge. Refer to the (PDF, 1.3MB) for a list of prohibited substances and for additional information.