Toronto seems to have a weird and expensive loophole in its
Virtually every municipal sewer bylaw prohibits the discharge of
non-municipal water, such as storm water or groundwater, into its
sanitary sewers. Stormwater are groundwater are permitted only
in storm or combined sewers, because putting them into
sanitary sewers drives up municipal sewage management costs,
reduces treatment efficiency, and causes polluting overflows.
Exceptions are typically made only for good reason, and only in
exchange for paying the municipality to take the stormwater /
groundwater, by way of a sanitary discharge agreement.
"The discharge of water originating from a
source other than the City water supply, including storm
water or groundwater, directly or indirectly to a
sanitary sewer or combined sewer is prohibited,
(a) The discharge is in accordance with a sanitary
discharge agreement, pursuant to § 681-6; provided,
however, that this requirement shall not apply to rainwater used
for washroom facilities;
(b) The discharge does not exceed the limits set
out under Table 1 – Limits for Sanitary and Combined Sewers
Discharge, with respect to biochemical oxygen demand, phenolics
(4AAP), total kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN), total phosphorus or total
suspended solids; OR
(c) In the event the discharge does exceed the limits set out
under Table 1 – Limits for Sanitary and Combined Sewers
Discharge, with respect to any of biochemical oxygen demand,
phenolics (4AAP), total kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN), total phosphorus
or total suspended solids, the discharge is in accordance with an
industrial waste surcharge agreement pursuant to
In other words:
Since the three clauses are disjunctive (separated by OR),
clause (b) says that anyone may discharge storm water (or
other non-City water) to a sanitary sewer, WITHOUT A SANITARY
DISCHARGE AGREEMENT, as long as the water meets the sanitary
discharge criteria. It therefore makes nonsense out of clause (a):
why would anyone pay for a sanitary discharge agreement under (a)
if they can discharge the same water to the sanitary sewer for
free, as of right under (b)?
This is an obvious drafting error. Clause (b) was likely meant
to apply only to combined sewers, but that's not what it
Note, clause (c) is fine as drafted; it deals with extra
strength waste discharges governed by industrial waste surcharge
One presumes that the City will fix this soon, but
meanwhile, large dischargers have to decide whether to take
advantage of the unintended loophole...
Thank you to Trevor for pointing this out to me.
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