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Water Quality

Tackling Non-Point Source Water Pollution in British Columbia

An Action Plan

March 1999


Implementing the Action Plan

Local Issues, Local Actions

The long-term goal of improving water quality affected by NPS pollution through education, preventative planning, community stewardship, new policies, economic incentives, and regulations is very ambitious. It cannot succeed without extensive support from a wide range of stakeholders, including the public, local government, community groups, First Nations, provincial agencies and federal agencies. Successful NPS management will require development of new relationships between all these parties; this will take time, and concerted and sustained effort.

To lead such an undertaking, the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks (now called Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection) has chosen a three-pronged strategy-providing leadership, supporting others and building partnerships, and delivery through pilot projects.


1. Providing Leadership means the Ministry will:

  • announce the NPS Action Plan, build awareness, and invite participation by agency partners
  • coordinate activities across agencies to capitalize on many NPS pollution prevention activities underway and planned
  • lead activities that are the responsibility of the ministry, such as provincial policy-setting and environmental regulations where necessary
  • focus first on actions that have provincial implications and broadest application


2. Supporting Others and Building Partnerships means the Ministry will:

  • support activities of other agencies, local governments, community organizations, and stewardship groups, who share a role in managing NPS pollution and in finding and implementing solutions
  • share information and provide supporting technical information
  • support the federal government in the Lower Fraser / Georgia Basin planning process and identify links between NPS pollution management and the Lower Fraser / Georgia Basin Action Plans
  • support the establishment of water conservation and water reuse programs
  • support pollution prevention initiatives and best management practices
  • participate in developing a public awareness strategy (communication, education, and training)


3. Delivery Through Pilot Projects means the Ministry will:

  • select priority watersheds subject to urbanization pressures or experiencing significant agricultural impacts, and implement pilot projects in cooperation with all local authorities
  • consult with other agencies, local and federal governments, and community organizations in determining candidate pilot projects (e.g., the Lower Fraser/ Georgia Basin planning process)
  • facilitate sharing of pilot project results, to improve NPS management practices


Non-point source pollution and potential solutions must be discussed and developed within a local context. For example, whereas agriculture may be a key NPS pollution issue in the Lower Fraser Valley, stormwater may be the main concern in an urban setting. Therefore, solutions to NPS pollution are best led by the local community or local government.

The Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks (now called Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection) proposes to participate with local governments in developing selected pilot projects to implement the actions described in this report. Candidate pilot projects need to have strong local community support, and local government interest in dealing cooperatively with land-use planning and NPS pollution. Potential pilot projects are being discussed with MELP (now WLAP) regional offices, local government, and Environment Canada. For example, MELP is participating in the five-year delivery of the Georgia Basin Ecosystem Initiative. There is considerable opportunity to explore potential projects with other partners in the high growth areas of the province.

The highlights of the Action Plan are listed in Table 3 and will be delivered in a phased approach. This Action Plan should be viewed as a living document that will be subject to review and improvement over time. Further public and stakeholder comment on the proposed actions is welcomed.


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Sources

The following key documents were reviewed in developing the Action Plan:

  • 2010: Paul Saffo of the Institute for the Future Looks Ahead. August 1996. Bottom Line. Boulder Colorado. page 14.
  • A National Water Agenda for the 21st Century: Final Report. November 1992. Water Environment Federation, United States.
  • BC Salmon Habitat Conservation Plan-Strategy Paper. September 1995. Province of British Columbia, Victoria, BC
  • Backgrounder: Fraser Valley Groundwater Monitoring Program. 1996. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks; Ministry of Health; and Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Victoria, BC
  • Basin Plan Workbook. July 1996. Fraser Basin Management Program. Vancouver, BC
  • Board Report Card 1996. June 1996. Fraser Basin Management Program. Vancouver, BC
  • British Columbia Water Quality Status Report. April 1996. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, Water Quality Branch. Victoria, BC
  • Clean Vehicles and Fuels for British Columbia: A Policy Paper. April 1995. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks. Victoria, BC
  • Clean Water Framework Draft August 9, 1996. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, Environmental Protection Department. Victoria, BC
  • Community Greenways: Linking Communities to People and People to Nature. 1995. The Stewardship Series. Province of British Columbia and Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Vancouver, BC
  • Community Stewardship: A Guide to Establishing Your Own Group. (undated). The Stewardship Series. Fraser Basin Management Program, Canadian Wildlife Service, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Forest Renewal BC's Watershed Restoration Program. Vancouver, BC
  • Conserving Our Resource: Fisheries Program Strategic Plan 1991-1995. 1991. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, Fisheries Branch. Victoria, BC
  • Environment 2001: Strategic Directions for British Columbia. 1991. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks. Victoria, BC
  • Environmental Action Plan for British Columbia. 1992. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks. Victoria, BC
  • Environmental Protection System (Draft #4). May 17, 1996. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, Water Quality Branch. Victoria, BC Environmental Trends in British Columbia. 1988. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks. Victoria, BC
  • Final Report on Abatement Activities Related to Agriculture in the Thompson Basin and Cariboo Region During the Fraser River Action Plan. 1998. DOE FRAP 1997-44. Vancouver BC
  • Georgia Basin Initiative. December, 1993. BC Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. Victoria, BC
  • Goals and Objectives for Strategic Planning. 1995. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks. Victoria, BC
  • Guide to Establishing a Local Round Table. (undated). BC Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. Victoria, BC
  • Guidelines for Developing a Liquid Waste Management Plan. August, 1992. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, Municipal Waste Reduction Branch. Victoria, BC
  • " Infecting Ourselves: How Environmental and Social Disruptions Trigger Disease." April 1996. by Anne E. Platt. World Watch Paper 129. Washington, D.C.
  • Issue Paper: Non-Point Source Pollution. May 1986. Puget Sound Water Quality Authority. Seattle, Washington.
  • Issues and Options Paper for Non-Point Source Pollution Management in British Columbia. February 1996. Report prepared by KPMG. for Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, Water Quality Branch, Victoria, BC
  • Local Round Tables: Realizing Their Full Potential. June 1994. Commission on Resources and Environment. Victoria, BC
  • Managing Water Pollution from Non-point Sources in Washington State: A strategy (preliminary draft). November 12, 1996. State of Washington, Department of Ecology, Olympia Washington.
  • Multiple Account Analysis of Non-Point Source Pollution in BC. Draft 1997. Crane Management Consultants. Report prepared for Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, Victoria, BC
  • Non-Point Source Pollution in British Columbia: An Assessment of Environmental Impacts. August 6, 1996. Report prepared by ESSA Technologies Ltd. for Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, Environmental Protection Department, in cooperation with Environment Canada. Victoria, BC
  • Non-Point Source Pollution: Problem Definition. March 1996. Report prepared by Norecol, Dames and Moore for Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, Water Quality Branch, Victoria, BC
  • " Our Polluted Runoff" by John G. Mitchell, National Geographic Vol. 189, No. 2, February 1996. pp. 106-125.
  • Report on British Columbia's Progress Toward Sustainability - Interim Draft. March 1996. Commission on Resources and Environment. Victoria, BC
  • Report on Community-Based Multi-Stakeholder Sustainability Groups in British Columbia. (undated). Commission on Resources and Environment. Victoria, BC
  • Saanich Inlet Study. April 1996. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks. Victoria, BC
  • Salmon Aquaculture Review Discussion Paper on Waste Discharges. January 1997. Brenda Burd, Environmental Assessment Office. Victoria, BC
  • State of Environment Report for British Columbia. 1993. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks and Environment Canada, Victoria, BC
  • Stewardship of the Water of British Columbia: A Review of British Columbia's Water Management Policy and Legislation. 1993. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks. Victoria, BC
  • Strategic Plan (1997-2001). Draft May 17, 1996. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks. Victoria, BC
  • Stream Stewardship: A Guide for Planners and Developers. 1993/94. The Stewardship Series. Province of British Columbia and Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Vancouver, BC
  • Taking Action on Non-Point Source Pollution: Developing Legislative Tools. 1996. Proceedings of NPS Pollution Management Workshop, Richmond, BC, February 27, 1996. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks and Environment Canada, Victoria, BC
  • Urban Runoff Quality Guidelines for the Province of British Columbia. June, 1992. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, Municipal Waste Reduction Branch. Victoria, BC.
  • Water Management: A Strategic Plan for the 90's. February 1995. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks. Victoria, BC
  • Water Quality Objectives Fact Sheet. (undated). Fraser River Action Plan. Environment Canada. Vancouver, BC
  • Water: Taking a New Tack on Non-Point Water Pollution. 1995. National Forum on Non-Point Source Pollution. Terrene Institute, Washington, D.C.
  • Watershed Management: Planning and Managing a Successful Project to Control Non-point Source Pollution. April 1995. North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, North Carolina State University.
  • Watersheds '93. A National Conference on Watershed Management. Proceedings. March 21-24, 1993. Alexandria, Virginia.


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How to Contact Us

Internet site:
  The URL of this internet site is: http//wlapwww.gov.bc.ca/wat/wq/bmps/npsaction.html
 
e-mail:
  For general information on non-point source pollution and best management practices:
water@gems1.gov.bc.ca
   
  YOUR COMMENTS ARE IMPORTANT. THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTRIBUTION.

 

 

 

 



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List of Tables

 


Table 1: Legislation Related to Non-Point Source Water Pollution Management in British Columbia

PROVINCIAL

 Legislation Purpose Lead Agencies
 Water Protection Act confirms crown ownership of surface and ground water and prohibits large-scale diversion or removal of water Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks (now Water, Land and Air Protection)
Water Act provides for approval of all water use, storage and diversion of water, and works in and about streams Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks (now Water, Land and Air Protection)
Waste Management Act requires permits, approvals or operational certificates under a liquid and solid waste management plan for discharges to land, air and water and handling of solid and toxic wastes; prohibits dumping/discarding litter and sewage Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks (now Water, Land and Air Protection)
Environment Management Act outlines authority of minister and provides for environmental assessments, protection orders, environmental emergency measures, water quality guidelines and enforcement Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks (now Water, Land and Air Protection)
Environmental Assessment Act requires environmental impact assessment for specified development projects and activities Environmental Assessment Office
Fish Protection Act protects fish by ensuring healthy fish-bearing streams and plentiful stocks Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks (now Water, Land and Air Protection)
Pesticide Control Act regulates the use and application of pesticides Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks (now Water, Land and Air Protection)
Health Act regulates approval of construction camps, public water supplies, sewage disposal (under 22.7 m3/d to land and for single or double unit dwellings to water), sanitation and food supply operations Ministry of Health
Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act establishes forest and range practices, standards and requirements Ministry of Forests / Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks
Fire Services Act provides approval of on-site fuel storage and dispensing Ministry of Attorney General
Soil Conservation Act establishes permitting requirements for soil removal from an agricultural land reserve, and regulates use of land in agricultural land reserves Ministry of Agriculture and Food
Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) Act ensures that farmers can farm in agriculture land reserves; adds specific powers to local governments; may regulate farm conduct and prohibit specific farm operations Ministry of Agriculture and Food
Municipal Act provides local government with authority to adopt zoning, subdivision and other bylaws; permit construction; develop solid and liquid waste management plans, provide water and sewer services and address environmental concerns (e.g., protecting water quality) Ministry of Municipal Affairs
Growth Strategies Act establishes basis for local governments to develop Regional Growth Strategies and Official Community Plans to achieve environmental, social and economic objectives Ministry of Municipal Affairs

Note: In addition to the above statutes, numerous regulations, bylaws, operating polices
and guidelines make up the existing management system for NPS pollution. Some
international treaties and agreements also address water pollution
(e.g., Boundary Waters Treaty).


FEDERAL

 Legislation Purpose Lead Agencies
Fisheries Act the general pollution control provisions (Section 36) prohibit harmful alteration of fish habitat and the deposit of deleterious substances Fisheries and Oceans Canada / Environment Canada
Canadian Environmental
Protection Act
cradle-to-grave control of toxic substances Environment Canada / Health Canada
Canadian Environmental Assessment Act requires environmental impact assessment of all projects funded or authorized by the federal government, or which take place on federal lands Environment Canada
Canada Wildlife Act and the Migratory Bird Conventions Act protects wildlife, migratory birds and associated habitats Environment Canada
Canada Shipping Act regulates shipping, including ship-sourced pollution, and the designation of waterbodies under the Pleasure Craft Sewage Pollution Regulations and Non-Pleasure Craft Sewage Pollution Regulations Transport Canada / Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Navigable Waters Protection Act regulates activities on navigable waters Fisheries and Oceans Canada / Transport Canada
Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act defines safety requirements for transport of dangerous goods Transport Canada
Indian Act provides basis for federal authority over lands managed by First Nations Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Note: In addition to the above statutes, numerous regulations, bylaws, operating polices
and guidelines make up the existing management system for NPS pollution. Some
international treaties and agreements also address water pollution
(e.g., Boundary Waters Treaty).


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Table 2: Actions Under the Non-Point Source Pollution Action Plan

EDUCATION AND TRAINING

To increase awareness of NPS pollution prevention and promote
non-polluting behaviour.
1. Implement a public awareness strategy for NPS pollution.
2. Promote prevention of NPS pollution through industry associations.


PREVENTION AT THE SITE

To provide specific voluntary tools and Best Management Practices to direct or guide environmentally responsible behaviour and stewardship actions at the source.
3. Support development and implementation of Best Management Practices.
4. Promote water conservation.


LAND USE PLANNING, COORDINATION AND LOCAL ACTION

To provide proactive planning tools to address the need for coordination of action across all agencies responsible for managing NPS pollution, and for local understanding and commitment to action.
5. Incorporate water resource management objectives into land-use plans.
6. Promote NPS pollution prevention in waste management planning initiatives.
7. Lead development of water management plans or liquid waste management plans in critical areas.
8. Support government coordination.
9. Support community-based waterbody protection initiatives.


ASSESSMENT AND REPORTING

To evaluate the effectiveness of the Action Plan in preventing NPS pollution and improving the quality of surface and ground water, and to guide ongoing Non-Point Source Action Plan development.
10. Evaluate performance of NPS pollution actions.
11. Assess key NPS pollution cases.
12. Continue reporting to the public.


ECONOMIC INCENTIVES

To provide an opportunity for influencing behaviour and generating revenue to address NPS prevention.
13. Assess the potential for using economic incentives to encourage NPS pollution prevention.


LEGISLATION AND REGULATION

To provide the broad government framework for development of programs, assignments of government resources and enforcement of actions.
14. Implement the water quality provisions of the new Fish Protection Act and Local Government Statutes Amendment Act.
15. Enhance agricultural waste management.
16. Enhance on-site sewage management.
17. Enable more effective stormwater management.
18. Manage boat sewage.
19. Address forestry and range NPS impacts through the Forest Practices Code.
20. Propose new legislation to fill gaps.

 

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Table 3. Summary of Actions and Sub-actions with Projected Phase-in Periods

 Action Sub-Action
Phase 1
0 - 1.5
years
Phase 2
1.5 - 3
years
Phase 3
3 - 5
years
1. Implement a Public Awareness Strategy for NPS Pollution Lead development of provincial water education program that includes NPS
 
 
 
  Coordinate education efforts
 
 
 
  Inform local elected officials about water quality
 
 
 
2. Promote NPS Pollution Prevention through Industry Associations Work with industry associations to promote NPS pollution prevention
 
 
 
3. Support Development and Implementation of Best Management Practices Support development and implementation of BMPs for major NPS pollution sources
 
 
 
  Advise and support local government in the use of BMPs
 
 
 
4. Promote Water
Conservation
Develop and implement a
provincial strategy for water conservation
 
 
 
5. Incorporate Water Resource Management Objectives into
Land-Use Plans
Incorporate NPS pollution prevention strategies in higher level forestry planning process
 
 
 
  Support local governments involved with regional growth strategies
 
 
 
  Promote the incorporation of NPS pollution prevention strategies into regional growth strategies and official community plans
 
 
 
  Ensure streamside protection measures in local planning address NPS
 
 
 
  Support local government in protecting greenways
 
 
 
6. Promote NPS Pollution Prevention in Waste Management
Planning Initiatives
Address NPS pollution in liquid waste management plans
 
 
 
  Address NPS issues in pollution prevention plans
 
 
 
7. Lead Development of Water Management Plans or Liquid Waste Management Plans in Critical Areas Develop policy and regulations for water management areas and plans
 
 
 
  Identify critical areas and require water management plans to address NPS pollution
 
 
 
  Develop liquid waste management plans for critical areas
 
 
 
8. Support Government Coordination  
 
 
 
9. Support Community-Based Waterbody Protection Initiatives  
 
 
 
10. Evaluate Performance of NPS Pollution Actions Measure success of program in terms of water quality and key initiatives
 
 
 
  Modernize field measurement methods
 
 
 
  Seek partnerships
 
 
 
  Support community volunteer monitoring initiatives
 
 
 
  Communicate successes and challenges to stakeholders
 
 
 
11. Assess Key NPS Pollution Cases Focus effort on selected pilot areas
 
 
 
  Investigate relative contribution of pollution from various sources
 
 
 
  Apply and evaluate remedial measures
 
 
 
  Use results to guide pollution prevention efforts elsewhere
 
 
 
12. Continue Reporting to the Public Report to the public on water quality issues and trends
 
 
 
  Issue a BC water quality trend report in 1999
 
 
 
13. Assess the Potential for Using Economic Incentives in NPS Pollution Prevention  
 
 
 
14. Implement the Water Quality Provisions of the new Fish Protection Act and Local Government Statutes Amendment Act Design new provisions of the Fish Protection Act to minimize NPS pollution
 
 
 
  Implement the Local Government Statutes Amendment Act to minimize NPS pollution
 
 
 
15. Enhance
Agricultural Waste Management
Continue to improve administration of the Agricultural Waste Control Regulation
 
 
 
  Consult stakeholders to address concerns
 
 
 
  Develop new government-wide policy for agricultural NPS pollution management
 
 
 
  Implement new agricultural NPS pollution management policy
 
 
 
16. Enhance On-Site Sewage Management Harmonize Waste Management Act and Health Act requirements
 
 
 
  Strengthen liquid waste management planning to prevent NPS pollution
 
 
 
  Empower and assist local government to develop bylaws
 
 
 
  Investigate alternative domestic sewage disposal systems
 
 
 

17. Enable More Effective Stormwater Management

Encourage use of stormwater bylaws to prevent NPS pollution
 
 
 
  Address stormwater quality in liquid waste management plans
 
 
 
  Investigate use of stormwater utilities
 
 
 
  Promote partnerships with
all parties
 
 
 
18. Manage Boat Sewage Develop educational programs for boaters
 
 
 
 
  Accelerate designation of nominated waterbodies
 
 
 
 
  Review new nominations annually
 
 
 
  Determine necessary level of enforcement for nominated waterbodies
 
 
 
 
 
19. Address Forestry and Range NPS through the Forest Practices Code Establish water quality objectives in community watersheds
 
 
 
  Support application of the Forest Practices Code to private lands
 
 
 
20. Propose New Legislation to Fill Gaps Propose new legislation to improve NPS pollution prevention
 
 
 


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Last content update: August 3, 2001

 

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