Bookmark this page

Sewer Use By-Law Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Sewer Use By-law?

The Sewer Use By-law (#55-2013) regulates what can and cannot be discharged into the sanitary and storm sewage collection systems that are owned and operated by the Region of Durham.

The by-law establishes limits for materials and pollutants that are being discharged into Regional sewers, while specifying provisions to control the discharge of otherwise prohibited wastes, such as hazardous wastes, heavy metals and other toxins.

2. Who is affected by the Sewer Use By-law?

The Sewer Use By-law applies to all discharges to any sanitary sewer in Durham Region, and all storm sewers on Regional roads. While the main focus of the Sewer Use Program is on industrial, commercial (including restaurants) and institutional facilities (ICI), these limits and restrictions also apply to residential discharges.

3. Why do we need a Sewer Use By-law?

To ensure the protection of our lakes and streams, the Sewer Use By-law establishes legal and enforceable limits on materials, which may adversely affect public health, property and the environment. It also includes material that may interfere with the normal operations of regional water pollution control plants.

4. Who enforces the Sewer Use By-law?

The Sewer Use By-law Section, within the Technical Support Division of the Region of Durham’s Works Department, is responsible for the enforcement of by-law.

Sewer Use By-law staff inspects, monitors and samples ICI facilities in Durham Region. Staff is also responsible for investigating complaints regarding sewer discharges from both ICI facilities and the public.

5. I live on a Regional road; will the Sewer Use By-law effect how I dispose of my pool water?

If your home has a pool and is on a Regional road, the criteria specified within the Sewer Use By-law must be followed. If your home is on a local municipal road, you should consult your local municipality’s storm sewer by-law.

6. Why can’t my chlorinated pool water go down my driveway into the storm catch basin?

Storm catch basins drain directly to the nearest watercourse, where chlorinated pool water can harm fish, plant life and other microorganisms that keep our streams healthy and alive. The preferred path is to discharge de-chlorinated pool water across your lawn, where it can then be absorbed.

7. I own a restaurant with an older style grease interceptor. Will I need to replace it?

No. The by-law requires that discharge limits are met, which can be accomplished with proper maintenance of an older interceptor. New installations and upgrades must be Canadian Standards Association (CSA)-approved models.