For major employers in Toronto, the most important incentive to
comply with the sewer bylaw is not the risk of prosecution,
it's the risk of losing their preferential Block 2 Industrial
Rate for water and sewage service. Block 2 can save large companies
tens of thousands of dollars or more every year, a significant
incentive for keeping their facilities in the City of Toronto.
However, it can be challenging to understand when and under what
circumstances the Block 2 rate will be taken away. Municipal Code 849 (the one I think is the current copy)
(2) In the event of a customer's non-compliance with the
Sewers By-law as set out in this section, the customer will cease
to be eligible to receive the Block 2 Rate effective as of either
of the following effective dates, as may be applicable:
(a) The date of the issuance of the written notice of
violation under the Sewers By-law; or
(b) The required date for the submission and delivery to the
City of a document set under the Sewers By-law which the customer
failed to satisfy.
(3) Provided that the customer has rectified the
non-compliance as set out in this section, to the satisfaction of
the General Manager, Toronto Water, and the customer is then in
compliance with the Sewers By-law, in all respects, and is
otherwise eligible under this section, the customer may reapply to
receive the Block 2 Rate which, upon approval, shall be effective
from the date the General Manager, Toronto Water, is satisfied that
the customer has met all eligibility requirements.
Fortunately for many industries, Toronto Water has interpreted
clause (3) so that the Block 2 Rate can be restored as of the date
on which the 1st compliant sample was taken, no matter how long it
takes the City to analyze and process the paperwork. This wisely
prevents the City from penalizing industry for municipal backlogs.
But it also sometimes means that the next compliant sample has
already been taken before the Notice of Violation has even been
issued. However, the City may still issue a Notice of Violation for
an alleged exceedence in a single grab sample that is never
duplicated, despite the ample literature on the very limited
reliance that should be placed on single samples. Because of the
"3 strikes and you're out" rule in the bylaw, this
has the potential to work significant unfairness.
Senior city staff are discussing possible amendments to the
bylaw with industry representatives.
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