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Construction Dewatering

Discharge of any precipitation or groundwater accumulated during construction or excavation

Halifax Water requires all persons to have appropriate permission prior to using any Halifax Water infrastructure. For the average person this means having an account with Halifax Water and paying your regular bill. For construction sites and other non-permanent discharges this means obtaining a Discharge Approval from Halifax Water.

No excavation or trench water is permitted to be discharged into Halifax Water’s systems without prior approval. If you are working on a project that may require dewatering you are encouraged to apply ahead of time as the approval time may be a couple weeks dependant on your site history. Some sites may not be permitted to discharge due to their history, for example a contaminated site.

Things to Know Before Applying
  • Representative water quality testing will always be required before discharging.
  • All discharges must meet all the conditions set out in Section 63 of Halifax Water’s Regulations, including the concentration limits listed in Table 6.
  • No dewatering from contaminated sites into Halifax Water's systems will be approved.
  • Remediated sites with a certificate of closure may be approved to dewater at Halifax Water's discretion.
  • A qualified site professional will be required for pretreatment or extensive sampling.
  • Discharge of construction water to the stormwater systems is not permitted.
  • You will not be permitted to discharge during or immediately after rain events.
  • If site conditions change, the approval stipulations will be updated accordingly.
  • We strongly recommend planning to discharge into a container.
  • You will be subject to an initial inspection and future random site visits.


Download the Application

Example Approval Conditions

All permits are unique, but below are some common conditions that often appear on approvals. Failure to follow all the conditions on your approval will result in your approval to be terminated. Conditions will be customized to your site and there may be some added that are not included in your list.

  • Discharge is only permitted to the approved manhole.
  • No dewatering is to be done during any precipitation event.
  • No dewatering is allowed within 12 hours after a precipitation event.
  • Over 25mm of precipitation will require Halifax Water approval to resume discharge. 
  • Dewatering may be restricted between specific hours.
  • Dewatering shall not cause any flooding of nearby properties, ice accumulation or erosion.
  • Maximum specified pump rates must not be exceeded.
  • The pump must be elevated on a clear stone pad, floating, or placed in a location where it will not intake mud, debris, or other solids.
  • Pumps are to be always attended while operating, including overnight hours.
  • All discharges to the wastewater system are subject to the most current volumetric discharge fee in the Halifax Water Regulations.
  • Monthly invoicing.
  • The approved method of determining flow will be specified.
  • Flow meter: a flow meter must be placed on the pump discharge.
  • Batch Flow: the number of batches and the size of the tank will determine the fees.
  • Applicants will be required to pay for any Halifax Water audit samples taken.
  • Additional cost recovery may apply as permitted in Section 31 of the Halifax Water Regulations.
  • Instillation of a pretreatment.
  • Any required pretreatment system must be in place during dewatering and always maintained.
  • Changes to the pretreatment system may be required at any time during the dewatering process as conditions change.
  • In the event the pretreatment system fails, dewatering must stop immediately.
  • A Halifax Water package (see table 6 in the Halifax Water Regulations) will have to be completed.
  • Ongoing testing of site-specific parameters will be required. For example, daily TSS, BTEX, and pH sampling.
  • Results of the analyses may require a rush turnaround time.
  • Perform daily checks for visible sheen and odour, keep written records.

If you have any questions on the process or about the status of your application, please email