The Storm and Sanitary Sewer Story


Why designs for storm and sanitary sewer manhole covers?

The designs we are looking for will draw attention to the City of Vancouver’s major ongoing project to separate storm and sanitary sewers. They will also help to make citizens more aware of the important role separated storm and sanitary sewers play in keeping local waters healthy.

(Remember: you can submit designs for either a storm or a sanitary cover or, if you prefer, you can submit one design for either.)

Two pipes are better than one

Each year the City replaces about 14 km of old sewer mains with two new pipes, one for stormwater run-off and one for sewage (sanitary sewer). Upgrading sewers results in better service for Vancouverites by preventing flooding and will eventually eliminate system overflows into the waters that surround Vancouver. Wherever you see two sewer manholes in the street you know that the neighbourhood’s sewer system is up to date and contributing to a greener Vancouver.

Keeping Vancouver clean

Most water that runs off buildings and city streets ends up in storm sewers. These sewers empty directly into the waters around Vancouver. Anything that enters the storm sewers (including the fertilizers and pesticides used in gardens and the soapy water from washing cars on streets or driveways or garages) can harm Vancouver’s water ecosystems. Artistically-designed manhole covers remind people of this direct connection between our actions and the environment. They encourage everyone to go easy on our water by growing natural and using a car wash.

Mother Nature thanks you

The separation of sewers, increased environmental awareness, and careful practices by citizens are all improving water quality. The recent return of herring, whales, and salmon to our local waters is Mother Nature’s endorsement of this work.