The fermentation sector is a growing industry and an economic driver in the capital region. As part of the normal operation of a fermentation operation, liquid and solid wastes are generated. Generating waste products is not necessarily an environmental issue. However, how we manage the waste can have significant impact on our natural resources, public & private infrastructure, and human & environmental health associated with stormwater, wastewater & septic systems. The following resources are specific to the fermentation sector.

Common Regulations and BMP for stormwater, wastewater and septic systems use

Waste generators are required to comply with all federal, provincial, municipal and regional regulations for proper waste disposal.

Under the Provincial Environmental Management Act and the Federal Fisheries Act, a waste generator may be held liable for any contamination or harm created as a result of the deposition or discharge of that waste. Proper disposal and management of wastes significantly reduces risks of environmental contamination and the requirement for remediation.

Proper storage, inventory of products and wastes, spills response plans and employee education on managing fermentation wastes are important factors in keeping our receiving waters clean.

Requirements and BMP specific to sanitary sewer

All industrial, commercial or institutional facilities that discharge non-domestic wastewater to the sanitary sewer system operated by the CRD must follow the requirements of CRD Bylaw 2922 - Sewer Use Bylaw. The fermentation sector, as with many other sectors, have specific requirements under a code of practice within the Sewer Use Bylaw.

Code of Practice for Fermentation Operations prescribes the requirements and conditions for preventing or limiting the discharge of prohibited and restricted wastes into the sanitary sewer system.

The following is a summary of the key requirements under the Bylaw and Code of Practice (Schedule "P").

  • Use a strainer or filter with sieve no greater than 1000 microns to strain solids from wastewater
  • Separate waste mash and organic solids for proper reuse (such as composting) or disposal
  • Monitor discharge to prevent high or low pH

Please submit a Waste Discharge Assessment Form if you are unsure whether this code of practice applies to your business.

Although compliance with Sewer Use Bylaw may help you meet other municipal, provincial or federal conditions, other agencies may have additional requirements. Use BizPaL to help you identify additional permits and licenses required to operate your business.

Requirements and BMP specific to septic system

Wastewater pre-treatment is not specifically required under CRD Bylaw 3479 - Onsite Sewage System Maintenance Bylaw. However, fermentation waste, such as high strength loads and acidic or caustic solutions, can impact the treatment process, significantly increase maintenance costs of the septic system and reduce its useful life span.

Requirements and BMP specific to stormdrains and catch basins

Prevent stormwater contamination and protect our aquatic environment by ensuring that fermentation waste does not enter the storm drain network (which includes ditches, catch basins and roadways, etc.).

  • Educate staff about the spill prevention and response
  • When hosing or washing equipment or surfaces outside, do not let the runoff water enter the storm drain.
  • Regularly inspect and maintain any parking lot catch basins
  • Store waste products under covered areas with appropriate spill containment

If you operate on the Saanich Peninsula (North Saanich, Central Saanich and Sidney) then you need to know about Bylaw 4168 requirements.

Requirements and BMP specific to trucked liquid wastes

Liquid waste haulers can be hired to responsibly manage any fluids associated with fermentation practices.

It is important to note that the waste generator retains ownership of the waste even after it has been turned over to a waste hauler. This means the generator can be held responsible for the consequences of a spill or improper disposal of waste.

For that reason it is important to ensure that the hauler you hire can demonstrate that they are:

  • Properly licensed;
  • Have properly trained staff and;
  • Will deal with your waste in a safe, responsible, legal and diligent manner.

Why wastes from fermentation operation are a concern in our stormwater, wastewater and septic systems

Liquid waste from fermentation operations may contain contaminants such as suspended solids, sulphides and other chemicals and substances in concentrations that can negatively impact private and public infrastructure, wastewater treatment, septic systems and the receiving environment.

Suspended solids can contribute significantly to the chemical and biochemical oxygen demand in wastewater. High concentrations can have an adverse effect on aquatic organisms by removing available oxygen from the water. Some cleaning chemicals used by fermentation operations can also be toxic to aquatic organisms. Organic loadings can also cause odours in the sewer system.

Variable pH, as a result of cleaners and acidic waste beer or wine, is also a concern. Caustics and acids are corrosives that may, in large volumes, cause damage to pipes and infrastructure. Damaged pipes can allow waste to escape in to the environment or allow rainwater in, which can cause flooding at your work site or increase loading to your septic systems or a wastewater treatment plant.

What is considered a fermentation operations

A fermentation operation means any operation where alcoholic beverages are produced for sale to any person or through the use of facilities or equipment for a fee, including brew pubs, brew clubs, micro-breweries, cottage breweries, wineries, brew-on-premises operations, vint-on-premises operations and distilleries.