The source of Markham's drinking water is Lake Ontario. Markham purchases treated drinking water from the City of Toronto and Peel Region. In addition to providing drinking water, Markham maintains the wastewater collection system (sewer system). Our wastewater is piped to a water treatment facility in Pickering where it is processed and released back into Lake Ontario.
Interested in learning more about drinking water, water quality testing and treatment? More information can be found under Markham's Water.
Markham Waterworks Department
Markham Waterworks is responsible for the delivery of drinking water and the physical operation, maintenance and repair of the water distribution and wastewater collection systems. Administrative offices are located at 8100 Warden Avenue with 60 full time staff in the following five sections. Below is a breakdown of how our Department is structured, who we are and what we do.
- Oversees all aspects of water main and sanitary sewer capital construction including:
- Rehabilitating, upgrading and replacing the system
- Developing and implementing a long term infrastructure replacement plan
- Managing water meter installation and testing
Information Management System (IMS):
- Collects data on customer service, resources, asset performance, maintenance & repair activities and water consumption
- Analyzes and reports business data to support compliance, benchmarking, programming & project planning, and decision making
- Implements technology to improve data quality and efficiency
Operations and Maintenance:
- Operates the water distribution and waste water collection system, ensuring the system meets provincial regulations for water quality and environmental protection through a wide range of inspections, tests, sampling and maintenance including:
- Conducting emergency repairs
- Flushing watermains and sanitary sewers
- Inspecting and maintaining fire hydrants and pumping stations
- Inspecting and maintaining valves and pressure within the system
- Collects, models, analyzes, monitors and reports data about the water and wastewater system. This information is used for improving operations, emergency response, community outreach, and determining priorities for investment and upgrades to the system. This section also:
- Ensures Markham’s Quality Management System is managed according to provincial standards (Drinking Water Quality Management Standard)
- Ensures compliance with regulatory training requirements through continuing education and practical training
- Ensures Markham Waterworks is fiscally responsible
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Utility Locates – Call before you dig!
Planting a tree, building a deck or a fence, or for any construction or excavation on City property? Contact ON1Call first to get a locate so you can dig safely. Remember, you are liable for any damage or injury caused by interfering with any buried infrastructure. The locating of the water and sewer lines are now also included in this service and must be identified to ensure they are not damaged.
Request your free locate online or call 1-800-400-2255. They are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Or visit ON1Call for more information. Check before you dig – It’s the Law.
For construction or excavation on private property, property owners are responsible for obtaining locates for the water and sewer lines from a private utility locating contractor.
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A flooded street may be an indication of a watermain break. Please contact Markham’s Contact Centre immediately at 905-477-5530.
Basement flooding may be the result of rainwater or a sanitary sewer or drain blockage. It should be reported to the Waterworks Division. Staff will investigate and advise property owners how to proceed. Only City staff is authorized to inspect and fix blockages on City property. If the blockage is located on private property then the cost of inspection and repairs is the responsibility of the property owner. To help prevent drain blockages never pour grease down the drain, or use a food waste disposal unit (garburator). Learn more ways to protect your home and your pipes.
Tree roots can cause pipe damage and drainage problems. Signs include: toilets, showers or sinks that take a long time to drain; a musty smell coming from floor drains; puddles around floor drains; storm water/sewage in your basement. Markham Waterworks provides inspection services to determine if the problem is located on City property. To schedule an inspection, call Markham’s Contact Centre at 905-477-5530.
For further information on flooding, view Markham’s Property Damage and your Home (PDF) brochure. You may also review the Sewer Blockage and Back-up Policies adopted by Markham City Council.
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Private Wells & Septic Systems
Wells and septic systems are the responsibility of the property owner. This includes maintaining the quality of the well water. To change your water supply from well to municipal water, or decommission a septic system and connect to the City’s sanitary sewer, please call Markham’s Contact Centre at 905-477-5530.
It is the property owner’s responsibility to decommission a well. Please contact the York Region Health Unit for information. To drill a new well, please contact a certified well driller.
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||What To Do
|High Water Bill – reflects above normal water use
Check your water meter
- Turn off all water fixtures, including humidifiers, air conditioners and icemakers and do not use any water.
- Record your water meter reading (Learn more about how to read your water meter).
- Do not use any water over a period of several hours.
- Check your water meter reading. If the reading has not changed when you return, your plumbing is watertight. If your meter reading does change, you may have a leaky faucet, toilet or pipe contributing to high water usage.
The City will test a water meter to ensure the reading is correct. The cost of testing is charged to the property owner if the meter is accurate. If the test shows that the meter was inaccurate, the City will repair or replace the water meter, waive the testing cost, and adjust your bill accordingly. For more information on water billing, please visit our Rates and Billing page.
||Cloudiness is caused when air becomes trapped in water. Fill a glass with tap water and set it aside for a minute or two. If the water clears, then the cloudiness is a result of trapped air bubbles.
Sewer pipes are designed to trap and prevent odours from entering a building. Sewer odours may be an indication of a failing or blocked plumbing fixture. For example, the “P-trap” or u-shaped plumbing under the sink may contain debris which produces an odour.
Markham provides inspection services to determine if a sewer blockage is on City property. To request an inspection, please contact Markham Waterworks at the number listed below. For blockages on private property, contact a plumber.
|Low Water Pressure
If low water pressure is affecting all water fixtures and you have a water softener, set it to bypass and then check your water pressure again. If your water pressure resumes while your water softener is set to bypass, please contact your water softener provider. If this does not resolve the problem, contact Markham Waterworks at the number listed below.
If your water pressure is low at a single fixture, Remove the faucet aerator (located at the tip of the faucet) and rinse the screen. If pressure does not resume, contact a plumber.
|Water Shut Off
||Most buildings are equipped with a water shut off valve located close to the water meter (water meters are typically located in the basement or along an outside wall of a building). Should this internal component of the private plumbing system become inoperable or for any other emergency plumbing repairs, an appointment can be booked with Markham Waterworks staff to have your water turned off or on, at the property line curb stop valve. A fee is charged to the property owner to recover the cost of this service.
||Contact a plumber.
|No Hot Water
||Contact a plumber or your hot water tank provider.
|A curb box (also called a curb stop valve) is a round iron fitting approximately 10 cm in diameter that is located in the front lawn, driveway or sidewalk of a property and is in most cases the responsibility of the City of Markham to maintain and operate. (These may also be located on private condominium or townhouse complexes.) If you are resurfacing, excavating, or landscaping your driveway or front lawn, please contact Waterworks staff to inspect or adjust the curb box prior to doing any work. This will ensure it remains accessible and operational. If the curb box at any time raises up or settles below grade, please do not attempt to adjust the grade yourself because of possible damage to the component, please contact the City for such adjustments.
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Waterworks Services & Fees
Learn more about the services and associated fees provided by the Waterworks Department (Waterworks Service Fees).