Cleaning up the nation’s largest source of water pollution is a priority. Currently in Canada over 150 billion litres of untreated and undertreated wastewater (sewage) is dumped into our waterways every year. This is an environmental, human health and economic issue.

The Government of Canada worked with the provinces, territories and engaged municipalities, Aboriginal communities and organizations and other interested parties to establish the country’s first national standards for wastewater treatment - the Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations (the Regulations). 

The Regulations are established under the Fisheries Act and include mandatory minimum effluent quality standards that can be achieved through secondary wastewater treatment. Requirements for monitoring, record-keeping, reporting and toxicity testing are specified in the Regulations.

As of January 1, 2015, the following provisions of the Regulations are in effect:

  • The effluent quality standards set out in Section 6 are now in force (Exception – Total Residual Chlorine Standard for wastewater systems less than 5,000 m3/day does not apply until January 1st, 2021)
  • Limits established for those systems with Transitional Authorizations are now in force.
  • Acute lethality monitoring is required for wastewater systems that already meet the effluent quality standards and deposit an annual average daily effluent volume of greater than 2,500 m3

Regulatees are required as per subsection 18(4) of the Regulations to submit identification and other reports electronically in the form and format specified by the Minister of the Environment. For information on the reporting requirements for the Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations, please consult - Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations Reporting