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Everything You Need to Know About Surrey’s Sanitary Systems

The City of Surrey in British Columbia is a beautiful and bustling city with over 580,000 people. The City is home to a variety of businesses and industries, as well as a number of parks and recreation areas.

With so many people living and working in Surrey, it’s no wonder that the City’s sanitary system is one of the most crucial infrastructures. The system is consist of a network of sewers, pumps, and treatment plants that work together to keep Surrey’s water clean and safe.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Surrey’s sanitary system and how it works to keep the City clean. We will also talk about the inspections and maintenance requirements to keep the system running smoothly.

Surrey Sanitary Sewer System

sewer pipes

The Surrey sanitary sewer system is a network of underground pipes and pumps that collect and transport sewage from homes and businesses to treatment plants. The system can handle both wet weather and dry weather flows.

The sewer system consists of up to 1500 kilometres of pipe, ranging in size from 300mm to 1800mm in diameter. The system has two types of pipe: gravity sewers and force mains.

Gravity sewers are the most common type of sewer pipe so they compose the majority of the system. These pipes rely on gravity to move sewage from homes and businesses to treatment plants.

While most treatment plants use force mains for areas such as steep hills or low-lying areas where gravity sewers are not possible. These pipes use pumps to move sewage through the system.

Where Does Surrey Waste Water Go?

The Surrey sanitary sewer system transport sewage from homes and businesses to one of three treatment plants including: the Annacis Island Wastewater Treatment Plant, the South Surrey Wastewater Treatment Plant, or the Lulu Island Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Annacis Island Wastewater Treatment Plant

Annacis Island Wastewater Treatment Plant
Photo: Annacis Island Wastewater Treatment Plant

The Annacis Island Wastewater Treatment Plant is the largest of Surrey’s three treatment plants. The plant treats an average of 250 million litres of sewage per day.

The plant uses a variety of treatment processes to remove pollutants from sewage, including primary treatment, secondary treatment, and tertiary treatment.

Primary treatment removes solid materials from sewage using screens and grit tanks. Secondary treatment removes dissolved and suspended materials from sewage using bacteria and chemicals. The tertiary treatment removes any remaining pollutants from sewage using UV light or ozone gas. After the sewage treatment, the treatment plant will be discharging it into the Fraser River.

How is Surrey’s Sanitary Sewage System Maintained?

The Surrey sanitary sewer system is inspected and maintained regularly to ensure that it is functioning properly. Conducting inspection activities are typically on an annual basis, although more frequent inspections happen in areas with high use or where there are concerns about the system’s condition.

Conducting maintenance activities is a proactive way to address to avoid problems in the future. Inspection and maintenance activities include:

  • Smoke Testing: This is to identify leaks in the sewer system. A non-toxic smoke is injected into the sewer system and allowed to escape through any cracks or holes in the pipes.
  • Camera Surveys: The city is performing this regularly in order to know the condition of the sewer pipes. By inserting a small camera into the sewer pipe and using it to take pictures of the interior of the pipe.
  • Pipe Cleaning: The treatment facilities are conducting pipe cleaning regularly in order to remove any build-up of materials from the sewer pipes. They use high-pressure water jetting or rodding to clean the pipes. They are also removing tree roots from the pipes using this method.
  • Repair and Rehabilitation: The maintenance team is repairing damaged pipes using a variety of trenchless methods, including pipe relining and pipe bursting. In this process, the maintenance team will no longer require to dig up your entire lawn just to fix a small leak in the sewer pipe.

Surrey Resident’s Responsibilities To Maintain The Sanitary Sewer System

avoid throwing grease down the drain

As a Surrey resident, you play an essential role in maintaining the sanitary sewer system. You can help keep the system functioning properly by doing the following:

  • Only flush toilets and pour drains with human waste and toilet paper. Do not flush or pour any other materials, such as diapers, sanitary napkins, condoms, grease, coffee grounds, or cigarette butts down the toilet or drain.
  • Do not dispose of cooking oil or grease by pouring it down the drain. Cooking oil and grease can solidify in the sewer pipes and cause blockages. Instead, dispose of cooking oil and grease in a container and put it in the garbage.
  • Do not plant trees or shrubs near sewer pipes. The roots of trees and shrubs can grow into the sewer pipes and cause blockages. If you want to know how to eradicate tree roots in sewer pipes, here is a comprehensive guide for you >>3 Bullet Proof Solutions: How to Kill Tree Roots in Your Sewer Line
  • Do not store or keep any materials near sewer pipes that could potentially block the flow of sewage, such as bicycles, toy boxes, or lawn furniture.
  • Do not pour any hazardous materials down the drain, such as cleaning products, paint, or oil. Hazardous materials can harm the bacteria that are used to treat sewage.
  • If you notice any problems with the sewer system, such as sewage backing up into your home or water pooling in the street, contact the City of Surrey immediately.

How to Connect or Tie Into Surreys Sewerline System?

storm sewer installation

If you are planning to connect your home or business to the Surrey sewer system, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • The City’s sanitary sewer is present and available in the street in front of the property.
  • The property doesn’t have a connection to a septic system or any other on-site wastewater treatment system.
  • The building sewer from the property must be designed and installed according to City standards.
  • A licensed surrey plumber must make all connections to the City sewer system.
  • You must obtain a development permit and approval for building plans from the City of Surrey.
  • Your home is in the Urban Containment Boundary and Fraser Sewerage Area of Metro Vancouver.

Service Connection Fees

The service connection fee is a charge that is required when your property is connected to the City sewer system. It helps offset the cost of operating and maintaining the sewer system.

In addition, the service connection fee is typically around $5,000 – $15,000 depending on the property. The cost can vary depending on the size of your property and the location of the sewer connection.

You must pay the service connection fees before the City will allow you to connect your property to the sewer system. These fees are outlined in the City’s Fee Setting Bylaw No. 14577.

Sewerline System Connection Replacement

You must replace your sewer line if it is more than 30 years old or if it is consist of materials such as cast iron or clay. Another instance when you can replace your connection is when you are renovating a house or building. Just make sure that the total value of the property is over $100,000.

If you are required to replace your sewer line, you must hire a licensed plumber to do the work. The plumber will need to obtain a development permit, and building plans approval from the City of Surrey before they can begin work.


Sanitary sewer systems are an important part of our infrastructure. They are responsible for transporting sewage from homes and businesses to treatment plants, where they treat the water and discharge it into the environment.

Regular inspection and maintenance are essential to ensuring that these systems function properly and do not pose a risk to public health or the environment. As a Surrey resident, you can help keep the system functioning properly by doing your part to maintain it.

In connecting to or disconnecting from the system, you need to adhere to the City’s necessary requirements. This is to protect both you and the environment. If you need a help of a professional plumbing company in Surrey to ensure a hassle-free sewer system connection or replacement, you can contact Your Guy Plumbing at any time of the day.

Your Guy Plumbing is a family-owned plumbing company with over decades of experience in the industry. We dedicate ourselves to providing quality plumbing to our customers in Surrey and the Lower Mainland. Give us a call, and we will be happy to help!

John Relampago

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