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Since 1886, the communities of Metro Vancouver have cooperated in the development and delivery of services essential to our growing region. From safe drinking water and effective management of solid and liquid wastes, to world-leading collaborative governance, Metro Vancouver has a proud and storied history.

 A Century of Liquid Waste Services

Vancouver & Districts Joint Sewerage and Drainage Board logo

In 1911, after outbreaks of typhoid and beach closures blamed on sewage pollution, the leaders of four communities sought the advice of R.S. Lea, an internationally-respected sanitary engineer in Montreal. Lea proposed a regional system of sewers to protect bathing beaches and the salmon-rich waterways around the Burrard Peninsula, which then had a population of about 182,000.

“It is essential that the English Bay foreshore should be preserved from pollution,” Lea wrote in his 1913 report. In March 1914, members of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia authorized the incorporation of the Vancouver and Districts Joint Sewerage and Drainage Board. The Board oversaw the financing, construction and operations of new sewers for the City of Vancouver and municipalities of Burnaby, Point Grey and South Vancouver.

 Historical Documents

PDF icon Chronology of Sewerage Events
This brief chronology outlines landmark events in the GVS&DD's history, from 1888-2013.

PDF icon Greater Vancouver Sewerage And Drainage District. Brochure
This two-page brochure gives a brief outline of the history of the GVS&DD from 1890 to the early 1970s.

PDF icon Lea Report: Vancouver And Districts Joint Sewerage And Drainage Board (1913)
This report was commissioned by the first sewerage board to deal with the growing problem of sewage in and around Burrard Inlet.

PDF icon The sewerage system of Vancouver, B.C. Canadian Society of Civil Engineers: Session 1888. Transactions. Thursday, 11th October. Samuel Keefer, President, in the Chair. Paper no. 20
This early article gives a basic description of the materials and the costs associated with the initial sewerage construction in the 1880s.

For more reports, visit the Library page.

Click on the timeline below to learn more about our history.