Anyone can now access real-time information on the Metro Vancouver website about sewer overflows that are active and that have occurred in the last 48 hours (water quality typically returns to previous conditions after that period), and sign up to receive a notification when new overflows start.
Sewer overflows occur when untreated or partially treated wastewater is discharged into the environment instead of being processed at a wastewater treatment plant. This can happen because of heavy rainfall, pipe breaks, power outages, or equipment malfunction.
Metro Vancouver has been reporting sewer overflows to the federal and provincial governments, regional health authorities, and municipalities for many years. Recent modeling capability has allowed Metro Vancouver to more accurately predict the movement of wastewater discharged into the environment and provide overflow information to the public in real time.
Every day, Metro Vancouver collects and treats more than one billion litres of wastewater at its five treatment plants. Over the next five years, Metro Vancouver is investing more than $6 billion in infrastructure projects, including treatment plant and sewer upgrades, back-up power supplies, and additional wastewater storage tanks. These upgrades will help reduce overflows.
Get more information about sewer overflows at overflowmap.ca and learn about why sewer overflows happen when it rains and the work being done to reduce them.