Hospital Pollution Prevention Bylaw

​Hospital Pollution Prevention Bylaw

Hospitals have the potential to discharge pollutants in their daily operations, such as pharmaceuticals, formalin and biomedical waste, that can negatively impact the wastewater system or water quality. This bylaw aims to reduce the amount of pollutants that hospitals discharge into the wastewater system, and ultimately, the environment.

Main bylaw requirements

The bylaw came into effect in October 2018 and requires hospitals in the Metro Vancouver region to:

  • Develop a pollution prevention plan and submit it to Metro Vancouver for approval. Plans are due by January 31, 2020 and every five years after. 
  • Submit a yearly progress report that explains the actions taken to implement the hospital's pollution prevention plan. First reports are due by January 31, 2021.
  • Pay an annual administration fee of $5000. An invoice will be provided by Metro Vancouver. Starting in 2020, hospitals that meet certain conditions can apply to have the yearly fee reduced. See "Part 4 – Fees" in the bylaw.

Bylaw to Regulate the Discharge of Waste from Hospitals (Bylaw No. 319)


Hospital Pollution Prevention Plans

Hospital pollution prevention plans allow hospitals to examine their operations and eliminate or reduce pollutants at the source. Every hospital needs to submit a pollution prevention plan to Metro Vancouver and an annual progress report thereafter.

The plans will identify what measures the hospital is putting in place to manage pollutants. Core requirements to be addressed in the plan include: 

  • biomedical waste
  • unused drugs
  • formaldehyde
  • 'silver-rich' solutions
  • fats, oils and grease from cooking

Pollution prevention plans must include a section on continuous improvement, which looks at wastewater generated in all areas of the hospital and identifies opportunities to reduce the quantity and improve the quality of discharged wastewater. Priority areas for improvement include:  improving the disposal of wipes, reviewing the use of macerators and using less toxic chemicals.

Pollution prevention plans allow Metro Vancouver to work with hospitals and health authorities on our shared goals of protecting human and environmental health. Hospitals need to submit a new or updated plan every five years.

How to Develop a Hospital Pollution Prevention Plan

A template and guide are available to help hospital staff develop pollution prevention plans that meet bylaw requirements. Use of the template is optional, but plans must address the sections listed in the guide. Each section should be completed by a qualified professional for the specific area of operations. The plan must be signed off by an authorized person from the hospital who has overall responsibility for submitting and implementing the plan.

Hospital Pollution Prevention Plan Guide
Hospital Pollution Prevention Plan Template


Types of hospitals included in the bylaw 

The bylaw applies to hospitals that are:

The bylaw applies to the following institutions:

Vancouver Coastal Health Fraser Health
  • Lions Gate Hospital
  • Richmond Hospital
  • UBC Health Sciences Centre Hospital
  • Vancouver General Hospital
  • Burnaby Hospital
  • Delta Hospital
  • Eagle Ridge Hospital
  • Jim Pattison Outpatient Care & Surgery Centre
  • Langley Memorial Hospital
  • Peace Arch District Hospital
  • Ridge Meadows Hospital
  • Royal Columbian Hospital
  • Surrey Memorial Hospital
Providence Health Care Provincial Health Services Authority
  • Mount Saint Joseph Hospital
  • St. Paul's Hospital
  • B.C. Cancer Agency – Vancouver
  • B.C. Cancer Agency – Surrey
  • British Columbia's Children's Hospital & B.C. Women's Hospital


The bylaw does not apply to private hospitals and smaller acute care facilities. These include nursing or convalescing homes, rehabilitation centres and extended care facilities.


More information 

Metro Vancouver
Telephone: 604.432.6200



Metro Vancouver




Submit a plan or report

Pollution prevention plans must be submitted by January 31, 2020

The first annual progress report is due by January 31, 2021.

Submit to Metro Vancouver