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April 18, 2000
City's New Sewer Use By-Law Goes to Committee for Approval
A special joint meeting of the Works Committee and the Economic Development and
Parks Committee has been set for Wednesday, April 19, 2000 to consider the
final draft of the City's new Sewer Use By-law. The meeting will take place in
the Council Chamber, 2nd Floor, City Hall at 2:00 p.m.

The by-law, once approved, sets the toughest standards in Canada for sewer
discharges and doubles penalties for violations. It includes lowering the
permitted discharge levels of certain metals as well as banning 27 toxic
organic compounds from the sewers. In addition, companies will be required to
provide pollution prevention plans to reduce discharges to the sanitary and
storm sewer system.

The City is increasing efforts to proactively prevent water pollution rather
than relying on clean ups of harmful chemicals after a spill or accidental

Work on the new Sewer Use By-law began in January 1999 and included
consultation with the public, business and industrial groups.


City of Toronto New Sewer Use By-Law

Why is there a new Sewer Use By-law?

In January 1997 City Council directed staff to draft a new By-law that imposes
much stricter controls on what can be dumped into the City's sanitary and
stormwater sewers. Council also voted, in the summer of 1998, against
continued burning of sludge in the City, that the incinerator at Ashbridges Bay
be closed by December 2000, and a reuse bio solids program be established. The
new Sewer Use By-law will support a broader range of opportunities under the
bio solids program due to improved sludge quality. The Stormwater quality
parameter contained in the By-law supports the City's commitment to improve the
quality of surface water in the lake and rivers.

What will it achieve?

The new Sewer Use By-law lowers the limits for discharges of 11 harmful heavy
metals and 27 toxic organic compounds. The current provincial guidelines were
set more than 25 years ago and fail to address the types of toxic organics
being dumped in our sewers today.

By eliminating contaminants such as arsenic, mercury, cadmium and toxic
organics, fewer chemicals will be needed to treat our water and its quality
will improve. Modern technology has also made it much easier for business to
meet the new higher standards being set by the City.

How can businesses meet these more stringent guidelines?

Businesses must examine the raw materials they use in plants and substitute
less harmful materials when necessary. They will also be required to develop
pollution prevention programs that will help industry eliminate harmful waste.

Won't it be costly for business to comply with these new standards?

Costs for the majority of businesses to comply with the new By-law are
estimated at $1,000 to $5,000. Businesses in other jurisdictions have actually
found savings in energy and water-treatment chemical costs when pollution
prevention plans have been implemented.

When does the new By-law take effect?

The City is phasing in the new By-law over a two-year period and will be
working with industries to help them achieve compliance and develop pollution
prevention programs. The City will also provide Internet support to meet
industry needs.

Media Contact
Victor Lim
Manager of Industrial Waste and Stormwater Quality

Rigmea Lee
Public Consultation



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