Understanding Toronto’s Sewers By-law

The City of Toronto’s Sewers By-law makes sure that local industries are responsible for the contaminated water they dump into our shared sewer system. 

The by-law allows Toronto Water to charge polluters a fee to clean up some of the easily treated contaminants that impact the health of Lake Ontario, such as phosphorus which is responsible for algal blooms.

However, there are a lot of chemicals that are not easy to treat at the plant, such as heavy metals. In 2011, Toronto’s four wastewater treatment plants released over 7 tonnes of Cadmium, Mercury, Lead and Nickel into Lake Ontario!

Toronto has an upstream solution to stop industrial water pollution before it enters the sewer pipes. The Sewers By-law requires any business or institution that releases any amount of priority contaminants down the sewers to develop a Pollution Prevention Plan. As an example, dental offices are required to installed a pollution control system that captures mercury from metal dental fillings.

Learn more about the City's Sewers by-law