Driveway Culvert & Bridge Permits

What is a Culvert?

A culvert is a pipe that is installed under a road or driveway to allow the natural flow of a creek or ditch, while allowing vehicles to travel overtop. Culverts are required where a road or driveway crosses a creek, ditch, or natural drainage route, to ensure water is conveyed without causing any backup or flooding.

Driveway and Field Access Culverts

Driveway culverts and field access culverts are the responsibility of the property owner. As such, the property owner is responsible to perform all acts necessary to prevent any blockages or back-up of drainage, including maintenance, repair, and replacement of the culvert. Property owners can be held liable for any damages to upstream private property caused by flooding due to a failed culvert.

How to Apply for a Culvert Permit

If a new culvert is required at your property, you will need to acquire the necessary permits to do so before making the replacement. There are 3 permits that are required before installing a culvert, one at each level of government as there is legislation governing water at each level.

1. Ministry of Forests (MoF) – Water Sustainability Act Application for Changes In and About a Stream

  • The Province of BC has a vested interest in watercourses and requires a permit under the Water Sustainability Act of BC for any changes or work being conducted in and about a stream. Neglecting to apply for this permit is a breach of a Provincial Legislation and is punishable by law.
  • Visit the Provincial website to learn more and apply for the permit.
  • The Province has developed a user-friendly guide on changes in and about a stream.

2. Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Request for Review Application

  • The Federal DFO requires any projects that take place near water comply with the Fisheries Act. As such, culvert replacements must be submitted for a review by DFO, neglecting to apply for this permit is a breach of Federal Legislation and is punishable by law.
  • Visit the DFO website to learn more and apply for a Request for Review.

3. City of Chilliwack Culvert Permit

  • A permit must be granted for the installation of a culvert once all documentation has been received and a deposit paid.
  • Firstly, review and apply for the above WSA and Fisheries Act Permits.
  • Fill out the City Culvert Permit Application Form attached.
  • If a lane closure of the road is required to complete the culvert installation, fill out the Highway Works Permit Application in “Schedule C” of the form.
  • The applicant must pay a $2000 refundable deposit to the City, and $50 non-refundable application fee.
  • The City will grant the permit only when proof the applicant has received the above Provincial and Federal permits from the Ministry of Forests and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
  • The City will provide the applicant with the appropriate culvert size to be installed and may permit the installation as per City Standard Culvert Detail by a professional contractor.
  • In some cases, a civil engineer may be required to design the culvert crossing. The City will inform applicants of this requirement.

When you have the Provincial and Federal permits as well as the City Culvert Permit Application Form filled out, please email the documents to [email protected].

It is recommended that applicants hire a Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP) to assist with the environmental applications from the MoF and the DFO, and to avoid a non-compliance with the associated Acts. A list of QEPs working in the Fraser Valley is attached.

Description Date File Size 
City of Chilliwack Culvert Application 2024-01-31 542KB 
Drawing DD-6 Culvert 2024-01-31 126KB 
Qualified Environmental Professionals in Chilliwack Area 2024-01-31 52KB