Understanding Rainwater Regulations and Water Bylaws
Faced with rising utility bills, local stormwater fees, a growing movement to promote water sustainability, Low Impact Development (LID) initiatives or interest in obtaining LEED certification, there are a variety of reasons that have led to increased water reuse and rainwater harvesting practices in Canada.
In the past decade, a number of guidelines and standards were published to help interpret legislation and/or regulations around water reuse and rainwater harvesting implementation. Stormwater Management Guidelines for municipalities have evolved to address stormwater quantity management and suggests rainwater harvesting as a viable retention option. In addition, plumbing codes have been modified to allow for application of these systems.
While there is more work to do to provide more specific technical requirements and ease the permitting process, key requirements have been developed to facilitate the process. Currently regulations can vary widely across Canada and Net Zero Water will work with you to ensure there is a thorough understanding of how rainwater regulations and technical standards will impact your project and system design.
The Canadian Standard Codes for Water Reuse and Rainwater Applications
In Canada, the National Plumbing Code provides information on water reuse, water recycling and the collection of rainwater for non-potable uses such as toilet flushing and irrigation. The right to harvest and use rainwater is determined by the provincial government and municipal water bylaws. However, majority of the provinces lack any significant legislation and there has been a need for a comprehensive guideline that addresses rainwater harvesting system design and installation as an alternative source of water for both potable and non-potable applications.
In response to this need, the International Code Council (ICC) of USA and Canadian Standard association (CSA) have formed a joint committee to develop a comprehensive standard to ensure safe design and application of rain water harvesting systems for both single family and multi-residential applications, as well as commercial, institutional and other non- residential applications. After several years of intensive work involving a variety of stakeholders across North America, the committee has created a comprehensive standard under CSA B805-18/ICC 805-2018 which was published April 2018.
This Standard covers all aspects of design, installation, water quality considerations, maintenance, and risk management of rainwater harvesting systems for residential and non -residential applications. The standard CSA regulations also address treatment criteria for rainwater collected from rooftop without pedestrian access, roof tops with pedestrian access, roof tops with green roofs and ground level sources. It contains provisions for both potable and non-potable systems and sets water quality criteria for different applications.
Net Zero Water has played a leadership role in developing CSA B805-18 since 2013. This standard will create an opportunity to develop a harmonized approach to Rainwater Harvesting across Canada. For engineers, architects, developers, municipal planners and mechanical contractors, it will clearly outline the goals and requirements of a properly designed Rainwater Harvesting System.
For more information on CSA B805-18 and how it can impact your project, please contact us.