Sewer and/or Water Issues

Sewer water comes up in a vessel only after you have discharged water (e.g. flushing the toilet, draining the sink, running a washing machine, etc.). If this happens, it can indicate a blockage in the sewer line to the home and you should contact a plumber.

It’s possible for sewer water to come into the basement even if you are not using taps or appliances in your house.  This would indicate a possible blockage in the City line. Please contact the Operations & Public Works Department at 250-362-2328  and for after hours emergencies, please call 1-866-417-4104.

Please ensure the blockage is on City side or you may be charged for the call out.

While the City of Rossland strives to clean and inspect sewer lines regularly, it is still possible for a sewer to plug and allow water and sewage to flow into the dwellings it serves. To avoid this unfortunate situation, we recommend that all households install a backflow preventer device on their sewer line to prevent any damage to your residence.  Please call your local plumber for the cost and installation of this device.

Call Operations and Public Works Department at 250.362.2328 for more information.

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 – yes that’s you!

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 and it help protect our environment in the future!

There are some simple tips to protect our sewer system from problems and our environment from unnecessary sewer pollution. – See highlighted                    below.


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, including Alpine Drug Mart on Columbia Avenue (IDA), Rossland.

User tip – Please take the time to dispose your unused/unwanted medications at IDA and help look after our environment.

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!

User tip – 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, this makes your product last longer, and saves you money!

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.

The Best Ways to Dispose of Cooking Oil and Grease
Before we talk about how to properly dispose of cooking oil and grease, it’s important to differentiate between the two:

Grease occurs as a byproduct of cooking certain foods. Bacon, for example, creates grease in the pan as it cooks.

User tip – If the grease is still hot, pour it into a can or other dedicated grease jar (mason jars work well, too). When the jar fills up, scoop the grease          into the trash or throw out the entire can. You can also wait until the grease solidifies in the pan and wipe it out with paper towels.

Cooking Oil
Cooking oils are substances you add to food to help it cook, such as deep frying french fries in vegetable or canola oil, or using olive oil for baking.

User tip – To get rid of cooking oil, let it cool off before you dispose of it. If there’s less than a cup, simply pour it into the garbage on top of some                   paper towel. If there are large amounts of oil, you can simply pour it into a clean container and reuse it the next time you’re frying – or throw it out           like cooking grease.

There are also ways you can recycle cooking oil to cut down on waste and save money!

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.

User tip – Dispose of sanitary items in the garbage instead of flushing them.

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


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