What is the Sewer Use Bylaw?

    The Sewer Use By-law ensures that the sanitary and stormwater sewers work properly by limiting and preventing residents and businesses from pouring or flushing harmful and dangerous materials (chemicals, oils, fats, grease, salt, baby wipes etc.) down drains, toilets and stormwater sewers.  

    The by-law acts as a regulatory tool to help us prevent damage, reduce maintenance costs, keep our staff and community safe and protects the Speed River and the environment. 

    The by-law also regulates the disposal of waste which is not directly connected to the sewer system and is hauled by truck to the wastewater treatment plant (i.e. septic tanks, portable toilets).

    Who enforces the Sewer Use Bylaw?

    The City’s Environmental Protection Officers are responsible for inspections, responding to complaints, and investigating by-law violations.  Changes to the Bylaw will enable them to issue tickets for a variety of offences in addition to laying charges for repeat violations. Their primary goal is to work towards by-law compliance through educating users about the reasons for the regulations – to protect health, safety, and the environment.

    What does the by-law update mean for the residents of the City of Guelph?

    Everyone who lives or works in Guelph uses and benefits from the sewer systems. Changes to the by-law are intended to clarify issues such as: 

    • What you flush or pour down drains and stormwater sewers. 
    • How you manage and drain your pool, spa or hot tub. 
    • What infrastructure you’re responsible for (private plumbing that connects to the City’s sewer system) versus what the City is responsible for. 
    • What regulations and restrictions institutional, commercial, or industrial properties must meet with regards to their company’s sewer discharges. 
    • How spills are managed and reported to help protect our waterway and the environment.

    What changes for business will be made to the Sewer Use By-law?

    Some of the proposed changes to the By-law include the following:

    • A more comprehensive list of restricted substances
    • Reduced limits on some substances that are permitted to be discharged to the sewer system
    • Clarification of existing requirements under the Building Code regarding grease interceptors for restaurants and other food-preparation establishments and sediment interceptors for vehicle/equipment service stations
    • Updates to administrative and operating fees in keeping with the true cost of providing services

    How do limits on the discharges of various substances help the sewer system?

    Limiting the discharge of various substances helps the system operate properly by reducing blockages and backups, preventing corrosion, and protecting the health and safety of wastewater operations staff.  Some substances will disrupt the wastewater treatment facility, resulting in increased costs and risk to the Speed River where treated water is discharged.