Sewer & Drainage

Got a Problem? Report it here

When we flush our toilets, when we do a load of laundry or wash dishes, when we have a shower or a bath we are producing liquid waste. Liquid waste or wastewater are terms used for sewage. Everybody uses water. Everybody produces sewage. Some residents of Rossland live in unsewered areas, and rely on septic systems to treat and dispose of wastewater, but most residents and businesses are connected to the City's sewer system. This page contains information about the sewer utility and problems that may impact the service or your home.

Sewered Areas

Most of Rossland is served by the sanitary sewer collection system. Wastewater flows from each home and business through sewer pipes. These pipes join the sewer main under the street or other right-of-way. Sewer mains transport the wastewater, by gravity wherever possible, into larger mains and eventually to the Regional District's Columbia Pollution Control Centre near Waneta Plaza in Trail.

Where necessary, pumping stations called lift stations move the sewage. There is currently one City owned and operated lift station in our collection system, this is located at Red Mountain.

Unsewered Areas

Unsewered areas, like Happy Valley, rely on septic tanks for treatment and disposal. Septic tanks allow removal of solids and floatables, and sub-surface trenches or beds provide evaporation of the liquids in a "septic field".

This form of sewage treatment and disposal takes place on the homeowner's property, and is typically called an "on-site" system.

Residential Responsibilities

We might not all think about where the water goes after it disappears down the drain, but eventually it flows right into local streams and the Columbia River. And whatever that water is carrying with it ends up in the environment too. That means fats, oils and grease, detergents, chemicals, medications and food waste all end up in the river systems, where they have the potential to cause environmental damage.

The good news is it's not hard, time consuming or expensive to limit the amount of contaminants that go down our drains. There are some simple tips to protect our sewer system from problems and our environment from unnecessary sewer pollution.


Every year Rossland residents toss unused or expired medications into the garbage or down the drain. Ultimately, these drugs end up in the environment, where they can potentially have a negative impact on water quality and animal and human health. The good news is there are many pharmacies who collect our waste medications for proper disposal, inlcuding People's Drug Mart on Columbia Avenue, Rossland.

Laundry Detergent (Surfactants)

Laundry soap gets its cleaning power from detergent (also known as surfactant), the ingredient responsible for the suds made by many cleaning products. Unfortunately, detergents also have the potential to be toxic to marine life.

The good news is that the City of Rossland has soft water, and soft water requires less detergent to achieve the same degree of cleanliness, which means you can send fewer harmful substances down the drain with every load of laundry. Using a smaller scoop of laundry soap will reduce the presence of potentially toxic compounds in the wastewater collection system and receiving environment. It will save money too!

Because of the City's soft water, you only need to use half of the manufacturer's recommended amount of laundry detergent to get the same results when doing your laundry.

The benefits are clear:

  • A healthier environment — fish and other organisms are freed from high levels of detergent-related toxins
  • Financial savings at home — one package of detergent lasts twice as long
  • Energy savings during wastewater treatment — less detergent in the wastewater requires less energy to break down

Other cleaning products also benefit from our soft water. Try using smaller amounts of household cleaning and personal care products — you may find they work just as well this way.

Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG)

When fats, oils and grease (FOG) go down the drain, they can cause a whole host of problems for our wastewater system and local environment. From clogged pipes to depleted oxygen in the aquatic receiving environment, the effect of FOG in our wastewater is both costly and ecologically damaging. The good news is there are some simple alternatives to pouring your FOG down the drain.

Sanitary Products

There is no such thing as a soluble sanitary towel or tampon. Flushing sanitary items down the toilet, pollutes rivers and the environment and may result in blocked drains.

Additionally, baby wipes and similar products should not be flushed down the toilet as they may clog residential drains or City sewers.


The City of Rossland has a limited formal drainage system, based on the road network, and the predominant creek system, Trail Creek. All stormwater from the City and Redstone ends up in Trail Creek, while stormwater in the Red Mountain area enters the Topping Creek Catchment. Both of these streams are fish bearing and are tributaries of the Columbia River.

As these streams are considered fish habitat, the Fisheries Act and Environment Act apply, making it illegal to discharge any polluting material into the creeks.

Inflow and Infiltration

Inflow and infiltration are terms used when water that is not sewer is discharged into the sanitary system. This additional water can cause overloading of the sanitary sewers, which may lead to sanitary overflows or operational issues at the sewer treatment plant.

  1. Inflow. Many older homes and businesses discharge roof runoff and basement and perimeter drainage dirctly into the sanitary sewer. As buildings are renovated and stormwater networks are improved, the City will require upgrading of stormwater connections to eliminate this additional water.
  2. Infiltration. Many of the older sewer pipes in town are made from clay tile pipe. This type of pipe is susceptible to cracks and leaking, both permitting additional groundwater in, particularly in the spring, and sewer out.

Sewer Backups and Flooding

To prevent sewer backup, please consider installing a Backwater prevention valve

Flushing and Inspections

City Crews conduct regular inspections and maintenance on water, sewer and stormwater lines, if you suspect a problem, please contact City Hall.

Reporting a Problem

Please report problems here.

Liquid Waste Management Plan

The Regional District is conducting a Liquid Waste Management Plan to determine the future treatment options for stormwater ans sewer in the Greater Trail area. This page will include links to the outcomes of these studies as they occur.