Learn about Surrey's soil deposition and removal processes and permit requirements.

We require soil permits for fill material to be placed on properties within Surrey.

This requirement ensures that placement of materials on sites does not affect neighbouring properties or local stormwater system operations, and is in conformance with the Agricultural Land Reserve requirements.

Soil Permits

Soil Permits are required for deposition or removal of soil in excess of 15 m3 (slightly less than 3 single [5 to 6 m3] truck loads) or soil placed to a depth of 0.5m (whichever is less) on a given property.

Under certain conditions, a Notice of Intent letter from the City of Surrey may be approved for volumes between 15 and 100 m3. A Notice of Intent does not require a fee or bonding, but a copy of the letter must be posted onsite while soil is being deposited.

Where sites are located on slopes >20% (1:5 slope), a professional engineer must be retained to advise on any volume of soil to be removed or deposited.

Removal or deposition of soil volumes greater than 100 m3 triggers a requirement for a soil permit, which requires:

  • plan and profile drawings
  • a report addressing items on checklist below

Soil permits are subject to fees and bonding. A laminated copy of the soil permit must be posted on site for the duration of the deposition or removal of soil.

When applying for a soil permit, start by filling out the Soil Permit Application checklist available with the application.

Soil Permit Application


Issued Permits

A list of permitted soil deposition sites is available on COSMOS under Drainage Soil Permits.

Exemptions & Considerations


  • Soil permit exemptions include soil volumes associated with building permits and subdivisions (except as described). City infrastructure projects and projects involving senior government agencies may also be exempt.


  • Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) related soil permits for residential land use, where more than 0.1 Ha (~1/4 acre) of land is proposed to be disturbed, requires independent approval from the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) as well as the City of Surrey.  
  • Local Governments are only allowed to issue soil permits for up to 1000 square metres for farm use and / or residential use (buildings).  For residential land use, this 0.1 Ha (1000 square metres) area includes the sum of soil placement for home fill plate, driveways, septic fields and any other residential use, (such as sports courts, swimming pools, ground source heat pump loops etc).
  • Soil placement associated with “farm use” buildings can be permitted by Local Governments up to 1000 square metres but the building has to warrant a fill plate of that size.  For example, the City of Surrey will not issue a soil permit for 1000 square metres to build a 100 square metre farm building.  Typically, given that there are geotechnical requirements that a filled perimeter is maintained outside of a farm building, and fill is required outside of the building to access bay doors, a 600 square metre building is approximately the maximum that can be placed on a 1000 square metre fill pad and a larger fill area / building requires approval from the ALC. 
  • Note that in 200 year Nikomekl / Serpentine River flood plain, the maximum farm building floor elevation is 0.5m above native grade.  Residential buildings are usually filled to Flood Construction Level (FCL) or a crawl space is implemented so that top of slab or bottom of joists is above FCL.
  • On ALR lands, Local Governments can only issue soil permits associated with buildings.  Farm roads, landings or general grading in ALR lands must be approved directly by the ALC under a “Notice of Intent” before a soil permit can be issued by a local government.

  • Soil means the entire mantle of natural material above bedrock, including, but not limited to, sand, gravel, rock, silt, clay, peat or topsoil.
  • Manure, hog-fuel and sawdust used for farming activities are not considered soil, so a permit is not required to deposit these materials.
  • Pavement grindings are considered to be soil when they are used for the capping for roads and other working surfaces. Pavement grindings are not permitted soil when used for pre-loading and flood proofing.
  • All soil permits will require an Erosion and Sediment Control (ESC) Plan if the parcel area is more than 2000 m2. The review of this plan will be through the City’s staff administering the soil permit.

Additional Resources