Catch basins are chambers, usually with a grate, which collect stormwater. They provide some contaminant removal by allowing solids to settle and light materials to float. Catch basins discharge to stormwater systems that discharge to nearby water bodies, such as streams, wetlands or the ocean.

Catch basins are very common in parking lots and on streets. They contain litter, car fluids (oils, gas, antifreeze, etc.), metals, sediments, leaves, sand, grit and/or soil.

Cleaning Catch Basins

Property owners and waste generators are responsible for cleaning out catch basins. Typically, catch basins are cleaned by pumping out the contents. See the Trucked Liquid Waste Service Provider Directory for a list of companies that provide this service.

If catch basins are not cleaned, they can overflow, causing flooding and contaminants to escape into the stormwater system. If ignored, contaminants can concentrate to hazardous waste levels which are expensive to dispose of.

Disposing of Catch Basin Waste


To properly determine whether a catch basin contains hazardous waste, expensive laboratory analysis is required. However, there are clues that give an indication of whether catch basin waste may be hazardous:

  • Oil and grease sheen
  • Discolouration
  • Surface staining around
  • Unusual odours (like gasoline or oil)

If indicators are present, a hauler should treat the waste as hazardous to save the costs of laboratory analysis. Be aware of and prevent collection of liquid waste from any nearby pollutant sources (fuel stations, vehicle servicing facilities, industrial areas, recyclers, scrap yards, electrical transformers, etc.). If waste is hazardous, it must be hauled by a licensed transporter.

Record Keeping

Catch basin owners are responsible for ensuring that records are kept for a reasonable amount of time. Records include:

  • Inspection records
  • Maintenance records
  • Records of waste removal including manifests

Some municipalities have enacted bylaws that require inspection, routine maintenance and record keeping of catch basins.


When transporting and disposing of catch basin waste, a manifest form needs to be completed by the hauler or waste generator.

If the waste is hazardous, the hauler is required to hold or obtain a license from the BC Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy to transport it. A Hazardous Waste Manifest Form must be completed and distributed to the ministry, the waste generator, the waste hauler and the waste receiver.

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Maintenance Recommendations

  • Clean out catch basins at least once per year, or per municipal regulations.
  • Inspect waste and classify as standard or hazardous.
  • Maintain records and keep them on site

Why use a qualified hauler?

Qualified haulers know where to properly dispose of waste and if it is classified as hazardous. Haulers need a license from the provincial government to haul hazardous waste.

Disposal Options