The Town is responsible for providing municipal wastewater services to connected properties.
Are you looking to connect your dwelling to municipal services? Please visit our Planning & Development Services page for additional information.
The Town places high value in protecting the natural environment and local waterways. As such, the Town is committed to posting information about sewage by-pass and overflows to the Town website within one business day of such an occurrence.
A sewage overflow occurs when wastewater from the sanitary collection system overflows to the natural environment or when there is a discharge of partially treated sewage from a wastewater treatment plant, often as a result of excessive groundwater and stormwater entering the system during heavy rains, rapid snowmelt or a pipe break.
The Town’s sanitary collection systems are nominally separate, meaning that sanitary and stormwater flows are carried in different pipes with different destinations, however stormwater inflows and infiltrates into the sanitary system from numerous sources.
Wastewater by-passes and overflows within the Town’s sanitary system are extremely rare.
By law the Town is required to report sanitary by-passes and overflows to the Spills Action Centre, Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and the Medical Officer of Health, Grey Bruce Health Unit. The notification includes the following information:
This information is currently captured in the Town’s annual reports for the wastewater treatment facilities. The Town’s annual reports are available for download.
2019 Craigleith Wastewater Treatment Plant Annual Performance Report
2019 Thornbury Wastewater Treatment Plant Annual Performance Report
Craigleith Collection System and Facility Map
Thornbury Collection System and Facility Map
Recent Wastewater Treatment Plant Overflow Event
April 29, 2019
Overflow of Cell #3
1,620 cubic meters
Recent Wastewater Treatment Plant By-Pass Events, 2017 to Present
The Town designs and upgrades its wastewater collection systems and facilities to ensure adequate storage capacity and minimize the risk of by-passing and overflow events. All infrastructure work within the Town must adhere to the Town’s Engineering Standards and provincial requirements.
The Town is currently undertaking work to complete a sanitary collection model which will enable Staff to identify existing system deficiencies and create a capital improvement plan aiming at reducing and replacing undersized and substandard infrastructure.
Is receiving water tested during/after a sewer overflow or by-pass? The receiving water is not tested during or after a wastewater overflow or by-pass. It takes at least 24 hours for a laboratory to analyze water samples therefore results would not represent the current status of the water.
Do by-passes and overflows affect drinking water quality? Town of The Blue Mountains adheres to provincially regulated drinking water quality standards. More information about drinking water quality is available in the Annual Water Report.
The Town's Wastewater Operators are responsible for overseeing the treatment of wastewater generated by The Blue Mountains.
The treatment process consists of pre-treatment, aeration, clarifiers, digesters, tertiary, and effluent UV disinfection.
The Craigleith Wastewater Treatment Plant is an extended aeration modification of the conventional activated sludge sewage treatment process. This form of treatment was selected to allow for the fluctuating loads associated with the recreational/seasonal residential area that is being serviced by the plant, and to limit the quantity of sludge generated by the plant. The treatment process selected (extended aeration) produces a very low volume of sludge compared to a conventional activated sludge plant.
The Thornbury Wastewater Treatment Plant is an extended aeration version of the activated sludge process. The facility incorporates pre-treatment, aeration, clarifiers for settling and U.V. effluent disinfection. Waste sludge is stabilized in a lagoon followed by an effluent polishing pond.
Craigleith Wastewater Treatment Plant, with a service area bound by Hidden Lake Road to the west, Grey Road 21 on the east and the Blue Mountain Core Development. In this area are three pumping stations and one main lift station that delivers all the liquid waste to the treatment facility.
Thornbury Wastewater Treatment Plant service area is Lora Bay on the west and Hidden Lake Road on the east, including Thornbury, Camperdown, Peaks Bay and Delphi Point. In this area are six pumping stations with two main lift stations that deliver all the liquid waste to the treatment facility.
The effluent from The Blue Mountains' treatment facilities is required to meet strict parameters established by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change for discharge to receiving waters.
Due to the sensitivity of the receiving body of water (the Mary Ward shoals area of Georgian Bay), the treatment process is required to produce a high quality effluent with a low level of phosphorus. In order to reduce phosphorus to the required level, it is necessary to apply a chemical coagulant (alum) and to provide tertiary treatment of the plant effluent prior to discharge. The tertiary treatment in this plant is achieved with gravity flow filters.
If you are connected to the Town's wastewater collection system, all the sanitary drains in your home are linked to a single pipe (called a lateral) that runs underground from your home to the roadway. At the roadway, the lateral connects to a larger pipe (called a trunk) and is directed to a wastewater treatment plant.
What is Inflow and Infiltration?
Inflow; The flow of storm water into the sanitary sewer system from sources such as downspouts and illegal sump pump connections through direct or indirect connections.
Infiltration; The flow of water into the sanitary sewer system through aged or defective pipes and/or maintenance chambers (i.e. cracks, defective joints, etc.) through soil (both groundwater and rainwater).
Inflow and Infiltration sources are a significant problem for the Municipality because they;
What is a downspout?
Downspouts are pipes that connect with a home’s eavestrough system and carry rainwater and snowmelt from the roof to the ground providing protection for the exterior of your home and foundation. A functional downspout protects the home’s roof, siding and foundation from water damage and helps prevent flooding of the home’s basement.
Do I have an illegal downspout connection?
If your downspout is connected to the sanitary sewer (either directly or indirectly) it is illegal and is in contravention of the Town of The Blue Mountains Sewer Use By-law and the Ontario Building Code.
Illegal connections can overwhelm the Municipality’s sanitary sewer infrastructure and can result in basement flooding and increases the risk of wastewater spills into Georgian Bay. It also leads to substantial amounts of clean water entering the sanitary sewer, which requires unnecessary treatment at the wastewater treatment plant; costing tax payers a lot of extra money to treat already clean water.
If you suspect you have an illegal downspout connection contact your local plumber to have it disconnected and properly re-directed on to your lawn, allowing rainwater to naturally soak into the ground.
What is a sump pump?
Sump pumps are installed in the basement or crawlspace of homes to collect water from the foundation drain surrounding the home and pump it out onto the lawn to prevent basement flooding.
Do I have an illegal sump pump connection?
If your sump pump or foundation drain is connected to the sanitary sewer via a floor drain, laundry tub, sanitary cleanout or other direct or indirect connection, it is illegal and is in contravention of the Towns Sewer Use By-law and the Ontario Building Code.
Illegal connections can overwhelm the Towns sanitary sewer infrastructure and can result in basement flooding and increases the risk of wastewater spills into Georgian Bay. It also leads to substantial amounts of clean water entering the sanitary sewer, which requires unnecessary treatment at the wastewater treatment plant; costing tax payers a lot of extra money to treat already clean water.
If you suspect you have an illegal sump pump connection, contact your local plumber to have it disconnected and properly re-directed on to your lawn, thereby allowing rainwater to naturally soak into the ground.
Some older homes have foundation drains directly connected to the sanitary sewer and do not have an internal sump or sump pump. There is also a possibility that your home may not have a foundation drain at all. To verify if you are in compliance with the Sewer Use By-law and do not have an illegal connection, contact a local plumber to complete an investigation. If an illegal connection exists, your local plumber will be able to advise you on the best approach to make your home compliant with the Sewer Use By-law.
What are the benefits to disconnecting illegal downspouts and sump pump/ foundation drain connections?
Do I need to install a sump pump if I do not have one?
Who can I contact to fix my connection?
Town of The Blue Mountains does not fix downspout, foundation drain and sump pump connections. Customers may complete the repair themselves, or they can contact a licensed plumber or other home contractor to complete the work.
How will the Town inspect these connections?
The Town will periodically use sewer cameras to view sewer lines in areas that have higher flows than normal. The Town can also use smoke and dye testing to identify some of these problem systems that affect the Municipal sewer system.
What happens if I do not correct my sump pump discharging to the sanitary sewer?
If the Town of The Blue Mountains determines that your downspout, sump pump and/or foundation drain is discharging to the sanitary sewer, you will receive written notice in the mail stating that you will have 30 days to make the correction. Our staff will then conduct an inspection to determine if you have made the necessary correction.
Any person who contravenes the Sewer Use By-law is guilty of an offence and upon conviction is liable for a fine of not more than $10,000.00 for a first offence and not more than $25,000.00 for any subsequent offences under the Sewer Use By-law.
A corporation upon conviction of a contravention of the Sewer Use By-law is liable for a fine of not more than $50,000.00 for a first offence and not more than $100,000.00 for any subsequent offences.
Can I have a bypass valve on my sump pump discharge hose?
No, it is illegal to have a bypass valve on your sump pump discharge pipe or hose. Existing valves must be removed.
Where can I run the sump pump hose?
You should run your sump pump hose at least 6’ - 10’ away from your house to avoid it “recycling” water back into the house. Avoid running the water directly onto your neighbour’s property.
For more information please contact:
Manager of Water & Wastewater Services
Town of The Blue Mountains, Operations Department
Phone: 519-599-3131 x 226
If you have questions about consumption charges or your utility bill please contact the Town’s Utility Account Coordinator.
For information on wastewater rates please visit our Financial & Information Services page.
Household items such as disposable (flushable) wipes, baby wipes, dental floss, rags, plastic bags, condoms, band aids, cotton balls, cigarettes, pharmaceuticals and feminine products should not be flushed down the toilet. These items can block wastewater collection lines and clog pumps, causing damage that can be expensive to repair. Keep it simple only flush the 3 P's pee, poop, (toilet) paper.
Grease, fat and cooking oils should not be poured down drains. Continuously pouring these materials down drains can cause build-ups to form on the sides of pipes, which can cause blockages in the wastewater collection system. These blockages can lead to messy and expensive wastewater back-ups into basements, yards and roadways.
To avoid these problems, scrape all grease, fats and cooking oils into a rigid container, allow the materials to solidify and dispose of them in your regular garbage collection or in your curbside organics bin. Sink baskets and strainers should also be used to prevent food residues from entering your drains.
Do not pour any household hazardous chemicals or toxic materials down drains, as these materials can be difficult to treat and end up entering the natural environment.
The Sewer Use By-Law 2019-62 protects the Town's infrastructure, which includes the sewer mains, sewer laterals, sewage pump-stations and wastewater treatment plants.
Discharges in excess of the by-law may damage the sewer infrastructure and create treatment problems at the wastewater plants.
Discharges that impact the treatment plant processes may result in abnormal discharges to the receiving water bodies that could have an impact on the environment.
Abbreviated Discharge Information Report - form 1
Detailed Discharge Information Report - form 2
Industrial Waste Discharge - form 3
For more information please contact the Town's Compliance and Efficiency Coordinator.
Did you know that in Ontario, residents who use a private drinking water system (not a municipal system) can test it for bacterial contamination free of charge? Protecting your drinking water source is important not only in providing you and your family with safe water, but also for everyone else who is drawing water from the same source.
To learn about how to protect and maintain your well and septic systems, please visit the Grey Bruce Health Unit website: https://www.publichealthgreybruce.on.ca/Your-Environment/Safe-Water/Private-Drinking-Water
If you are looking for information on privately owned septic systems, the Grey Bruce Health Unit is responsible for managing this type of system.
Manager of Water & Wastewater
Water & Wastewater Billing & Accounts
Water & Wastewater Inquiries