The printing sector provides an important service to local residents and businesses. As part of the normal operation of a printing 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 and private infrastructure, and human and environmental health associated with stormwater, wastewater and septic systems. The following resources are specific to the printing 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 printing 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 printing sector, as with many other sectors, have specific requirements under a code of practice with in the Sewer Use Bylaw.

Code of Practice for Printing Operations describes 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 "Q").

  • Not discharge prohibited waste into the sewer system
  • Not discharge wastewater which contains:
    • rinse water from equipment that has been washed in solvent
    • inks and fountain solutions
    • flexography plat acid bath solutions, etching solutions and wash-out solutions
    • cleaning solvents
  • Install treatment works to treat liquid wastes or collect and transport prohibited and restricted wastes for offsite management
  • Perform inspections and maintenance of treatment works
  • Create a spill response plan
  • Maintain written records treatment work maintenance and proper waste disposal

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, non-domestic waste, such as printing waste should not discharge to a septic system as this can create a contaminated site. At minimum, the discharge of non-domestic waste will 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 printing wastes do 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 printing.

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 printing operation are a concern in our stormwater, wastewater and septic systems

Liquid wastes from printing processes such as inks, fountain wash solutions, rinse water from equipment that has been washed in solvent, flexography plate acid bath solutions, etching solutions and wash-out solutions can negatively affect sewer pipes, treatment works, septic systems and pose a health hazard to humans and to the environment.

Wastewater from printing operations can also contain quantities of solids, heavy metals, oils and grease and chlorinated solvents that may be toxic even in very low concentrations.

Printing chemicals can be a health hazard; they can also create hazards such as fire, explosion, air and water pollution, corrosion of pipes or damage to sewage treatment facilities or septic systems. Damaged pipes can allow rain and ground water in to sewer lines or waste to escape into the environment.

What is considered printing operations

Printing operations includes any commercial, industrial or institutional operation or a public authority operation involved in printing including, but not limited to, the following processes: lithography gravure, rotogravure, flexography, screen printing or letterpress.