Managing Stormwater

With increasing urbanization, there are more impervious surfaces (roads, parking lots, sidewalks and roofs), which prevent rainwater from passing into the soil. This results in much higher surface runoff, known as “stormwater”. When rainwater travels over roads, parking lots and properties, it can pick up chemicals, metals, dirt and oils which get carried into the stormwater system, which are connected to our creeks, streams and shorelines. Higher stormwater levels can impact local business, animals and the environment through flooding, erosion, pollution and habitat degradation.


With a changing climate, the region is expected to see more intense rainfall events in the winter months. It is becoming increasing more important to properly manage stormwater to reduce peak flows and flooding events. 

What Can I Do as a Business Owner or Operator?

Industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) facility operators have an important role in managing stormwater. By adhering to applicable regulations and adopting best management practices, stormwater contaminants can be significantly reduced protecting your business and the environment.

Follow Bylaws and Best Practices

Municipalities have bylaws that regulate and prohibit certain types of wastes from being discharged into stormwater drains. These bylaws are in place to protect public health and the environment. Contact your municipality for relevant regulations. On the Saanich Peninsula, the Saanich Peninsula Stormwater Bylaw No. 4168 is in effect.

Saanich Peninsula Stormwater Bylaw No. 4168: Central Saanich, North Saanich & Sidney

Bylaw No. 4168 regulates and prohibits certain types of wastes from entering the stormwater drainage systems in order to protect municipal infrastructure, public health, local waterways and the marine shoreline environment.

Everyone, including residents and business must make sure the water leaving their property is free of contamination so only clean water enters nearby stormwater drains that lead to local creeks and waterways. This can be done by:

  • Ensuring land activities do not leave waste or chemicals that can be picked up by rain (such as paint or oil from vehicles and vehicle maintenance).
  • Ensuring water uses do not wash contaminants into the stormwater drain or a waterway (such as water from power washing or landscaping).
  • Follow codes of practice for parking lots and outdoor storage of materials or equipment. For the full code of practices, check out Schedule "C" for parking lots and Schedule "D" for outdoor storage of Bylaw No. 4168.

Clean out the Catch Basin

Property owners and waste generators are responsible for cleaning out catch basins. Clean your catch basin at least annually before the fall rains start in September or October. When maintained and serviced properly, catch basins effectively reduce the risk of flooding and the amount of pollution leading to our waterways, beaches and shorelines. Learn more >>

Only Rain down the Drain

Water from outdoor activities can cause pollution to enter the storm drain system and local creeks and ocean. Never pour or allow any fluids, wash/rinse water, wastewater or spills to flow into storm drains, parking lots, ditches, soil or roadways. Protect our environment by allowing only rain down the drain.

Potential sources of stormwater pollution include:

  • Leaks from vehicles and boats in parking lots and work areas.
  • Outdoor rinsing, or washing and maintenance of equipment, surfaces, storage containers or vehicles.
  • Improper disposal of wastewater.
  • Leaks from recycling, garbage, storage areas and containers.
  • Any soils, rocks or fill that are exposed to weather or being disturbed.
  • Rainwater accumulating or ponding in excavated areas.
  • Fuel or oil spills.
  • Runoff from excessive irrigation of gardens and lawns.
  • Grease accumulating on rooftops due to poorly maintained rooftop exhaust units or improper cleaning that allows wastewater to flow into storm drain system.

Wastewater and liquid waste must be disposed of with an approved sanitary sewer connection or with an approved trucked liquid waste hauler. For specific stormwater best management practices, check out the brochures in the right-handed column.

Install Green Infrastructure

Green infrastructure aims to infiltrate more rain and stormwater into the land to be slowed and naturally filtered by the soil, trees and vegetation. Installing green infrastructure around your business can help prevent pollution from entering the storm drain system and protect our streams and shorelines.

Types of green infrastructure:

Learn more>>

Learn more about Stormwater:

Managing Stormwater Best Practices:

Best management practices help reduce the negative impact that your operations could have to our environment:

Located on the Saanich Peninsula?

Properties in Central Saanich, North Saanich & Sidney must follow the Saanich Peninsula Stormwater Bylaw No. 4168: