Municipal Wastewater and Stormwater Management in Ontario Discussion Paper

ERO number
Notice type
Ontario Water Resources Act, R.S.O. 1990
Posted by
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Notice stage
Proposal Updated
Proposal posted
Comment period
January 27, 2022 - April 27, 2022 (90 days) Closed
Last updated

There is no requirement to post this notice on the Environmental Registry of Ontario, but we want to hear your thoughts. Submit a comment and tell us what you think. Learn about the consultation process and types of notices on the registry.

Update Announcement

This proposal notice has been updated on January 30, 2023 to advise the public that this file is still under active review. The ministry is reviewing the comments it has received to date. The original proposal date and comment period have not been altered. On March 28, 2022, we extended the comment period for this proposal notice for another 30 days based on feedback and requests received by the ministry.

This consultation was open from:

January 27, 2022
to April 27, 2022

Proposal summary

We are seeking public input on potential opportunities and approaches to improve municipal wastewater and stormwater management and water conservation in Ontario. 

Why consultation isn't required

The discussion paper does not include any specific policy, regulatory, or legislative proposals. Rather, we are seeking public feedback on potential policy approaches for a variety of topics related to wastewater and stormwater management and water conservation. The feedback will help inform any potential future policy proposals (e.g. policy updates, regulations).

Proposal details

Ontario is committed to protecting our lakes, rivers and groundwater supply, now and for future generations.

To further protect the health of our communities and water resources in Ontario, we are now seeking input on the rules and policies and new approaches that would make it easier for Ontario communities to improve how wastewater and stormwater is managed, including improved climate change adaptation practices. Cleaner wastewater and stormwater discharges from Ontario’s urban areas would help protect and improve Ontario’s water bodies to support a healthy, safe and prosperous Ontario into the future.

Municipal wastewater and stormwater management discussion paper

Wastewater and stormwater discharges from urban areas can add pollutants, such as phosphorus to lakes and rivers, resulting in negative impacts on water quality and causing harmful algal blooms.

Municipalities across Ontario invest billions of dollars building and operating their water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure to minimize any negative impacts on water bodies. Population growth, urban intensification, climate change and new contaminants are increasing pressure on water resources so new approaches and technologies are needed.

We want to hear Ontarians’ ideas and solutions for improving the management of municipal wastewater and stormwater management in the province. To help spark some ideas, the discussion paper sets out the challenges and opportunities for improving municipal wastewater and stormwater management in Ontario.

The discussion paper builds on Ontario’s commitments to improve municipal wastewater and stormwater management and reporting, ensure sustainable water use and continue work to restore and protect our waterways and groundwater.

The discussion paper begins with an overview of wastewater and stormwater management in Ontario. It is then organized into sections that set out the background, challenges, and opportunities for a variety of wastewater and stormwater topics, with each chapter ending with a set of discussion questions. The discussion topics covered in the paper include:

  • reducing sewage overflows and bypasses, and public reporting
  • changing the way stormwater is managed in urban areas
  • updating policies related to the management of wastewater and the quality of Ontario’s water resources
  • promoting water reuse in Ontario
  • recovering resources from wastewater
  • improving the management of hauled sewage from private septic systems
  • improving financial sustainability
  • improving public access to data on wastewater and stormwater discharges, and the quality of Ontario’s waters
  • making it easier to follow the rules

Supporting materials

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Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.

Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.


Commenting is now closed.

The comment period was from January 27, 2022
to April 27, 2022

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