Markham's Sewer Use By-law regulates discharges into the sanitary and storm sewer system with defined limits for substances such as pH, oil and grease, suspended solids, etc.
Why does Markham need a Sewer Use By-law?
Markham's Sewer Use By-law is to protect sewer systems, streams, and lakes. The by-law also establishes limits on the discharge of substances that may impact the safe operation of Markham's sewers, adversely affect public health, property or the environment.
Who enforces the Sewer Use By-law?
Markham's Waterworks Department ensures compliance by monitoring and sampling discharges into Markham's sewers. The by-law applies to all discharges, including residential, industrial, commercial as well as institutional properties.
Markham's Sewer Use Compliance Program
In 2010, Markham's Sewer Use Compliance Program was established under the Sewer Use By-law, focusing on industrial and commercial discharges into the sewer system.
The Sewer Use Compliance Program covers:
- Sampling and monitoring industrial and commercial discharges;
- Notifying responsible parties of by-law violations;
- Investigating sewer use complaints;
- Investigating and repairing damages to City sewers caused by discharge violations;
- Laying charges after repeat violations;
- Recovering costs for system repairs through legal action from responsible parties.
Waterworks staff sample and test industrial and commercial discharges. If a test result exceeds the by-law limits, the liable party will receive a violation notice from the City. Markham's notice requires the liable party to take the corrective actions within a specified timeframe. Repeat violators may be charged. Any by-law violation that causes damage to the sewer system will be investigated and repaired with costs fully recovered from the responsible parties.
Controlling the pH Level in Your Sewage
Controlling the pH level in your sewage is crucial. If waste with a pH level outside the 6 - 10.5 range is released into sewer, it can quickly cause significant damage and/or blockages to Markham's sewer system.
Properly Disposing of Fats, Oil and Grease
Fats, oil and grease build up in sewers and cause significant blockage over time. Sewer blockages will create sewer backup in homes. Proper disposal of fats, oil and grease from your property is essential.
Compliance Program - for businesses not in compliance with By-law, but implementing corrective action
Businesses within Markham, having sewage discharges not in compliance with the by-law, may be required to make major changes to their facilities and production processes, to come into compliance. These businesses can apply for the Compliance Program. The Compliance Program provides businesses with a reasonable timeframe to implement all required corrective actions. Under the Compliance Program with certain conditions and timeframes, businesses will be temporarily allowed to discharge their sewage not complying with the by-law.
Surcharge Agreement - for some sewage substances exceeding by-law limits
Markham has a joint Sewer Use Compliance Program with York Region to cover some sewage substances exceeding the by-law limits; namely:
- Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD5)
- Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (TKN)
- Total Phosphorus (TP)
- Phenolic Compounds (4AAP)
- Total Suspended Solids (TSS)
The Surcharge Agreement could allow the businesses to discharge highly concentrated sewage into Markham's and York Region's sanitary sewer system. The Surcharge Agreement is currently managed by York Region.
Businesses within Markham may be allowed to enter into a surcharge agreement with York Region for these substances listed above. However, the surcharge agreement only applies to 5 substances and not for other substances.
Please check York Region - "Sewer Use Permits" website for their application and fees related to Surcharge Agreement.
Temporary Discharge Permit - for discharge groundwater or surface water into Markham's Sewer
If you need to temporarily discharge groundwater or surface water into Markham’s sanitary or storm sewer system, you must submit an application and get approval from the City. This temporary water discharge could come from activities such as: extracting groundwater at construction sites, empting tank, cleaning pond, etc.
In some cases, you may need to obtain additional approval from York Region because Markham's sewer system is integrated with York Region’s sewer system. Markham staff will advise you when the additional approval is required.
Hauled Wastewater - for resident or businesses not served by the City's sewer system
Markham's residents and businesses within Markham not served by the City’s sewer system, may take their hauled wastewater to a wastewater facility designated by York Region.
Please check York Region - "Sewer Use Permits" website for their requirements.
Inquiries or applications can be emailed to Compliance Engineer at email@example.com or call 905-477-7000 extension 2687.