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Sewer & Wastewater

Wastewater Services

Wastewater Treatment Centre - 40 Kitchener St. 

Wastewater Treatment Centre - aerial view


The sewer and wastewater system in the City of Orillia consists of approximately 140 kilometres of sanitary sewer, 20 sanitary sewage pumping stations, approximately 9 kilometres of sanitary forcemain, more than 2,000 manholes, a septage receiving facility and a Wastewater Treatment Centre.

Wastewater services provided by the Environmental Services and Operations Department includes:

  • Sewage treatment
  • Hauled sewage
  • Odour complaints
  • Site decommissioning
  • Environmental audits
  • Dumping waste material on private property
  • Pumping station operations
  • Fuel tanks
  • Discharges to sanitary and storm sewers
  • Environmental inspections
  • Industrial noise and emissions
  • Spills cleanup
  • Noise and odours from pumping stations
  • Swimming pool discharge
Discharge of Water from Swimming Pools and Hot Tubs

Discharge of water from swimming pools and hot tubs contains chloride, bromine, salts, copper-based algaecides and other chemicals harmful to fish and other aquatic organisms that live in our creeks, rivers and lakes.

Here is what you should do:

Chlorinated Water:

  • DO NOT add chemicals to your pool or hot tub two weeks before discharging.
  • RUNNING THE PUMP will assist in the dissipation of the chlorine. Sunlight also helps.
  • REDUCE chlorine levels to 0.5 mg/L before discharging water.  If you don't have an accurate  measuring tool, wait until the poll water becomes murky as this is an indication that the chlorine levels have reduced. 
  • DISCHARGE pool water onto your own property at a controlled rate to allow absorption into the ground. This will eliminate potential damage on your property and neighbouring properties.
  • REPORT any spill of chlorinated pool and hot tub water to the provincial and municipal authorities if you see it flow into a stream, river, lake or storm sewer system. 

Salt Water:

  • DISCHARGE saltwater pools and hot tubs to the sanitary sewer or;
  • HAVE salt water hauled by a MOECC approved licensed hauler.

ADJUST pH levels to 6.0-9.0 for discharge to storm sewer systems.

Off property impacts are the responsibility of the swimming pool or hot tub owner.

View Orillia's Sewage Discharge By-Law

Sewer Backups

A sanitary sewer system is a complex network of pipes and pumps buried beneath the street. The system is designed to transport wastewater from homes, businesses and industries to the treatment facility. When low areas of land must be sewered or where pipe depth under the ground surface becomes excessive, pump stations are normally installed.

Sanitary Sewer System

Sanitary sewer backups are typically caused by:

  • Solids/debris - Typical solids that build up in the pipe and cause backups include fat, oil, grease, dirt, hair, bones, paper towels, kitty litter, diapers, broken dishware, garbage, concrete, and debris.
  • Tree root infiltration - Tree roots can cause backups. Tree roots take advantage of leaks or breaks and faulty pipe joints in the service line piping and may infiltrate the pipe system plugging the wastewater flow.

Structural defects in pipes - Significant sags in the service line, cracks, holes, protruding laterals, misaligned pipes, offset and open joints, and collapsing pipe material are all possible causes of backups.

How to Help Prevent a Sewer Backup

Here are a few things that you can do to prevent a sewer backup:

  • Do not flush paper towels, diapers, and feminine hygiene products down your toilet. These products do not deteriorate quickly like bathroom tissue and should be disposed of in your green bin or refuse bin.
  • Avoid pouring cooking oil and grease down the sink. There is a common misconception that it is okay to wash grease down the drain with hot water. In fact, the hot water will help to carry the grease down the drain, but quickly cools off as it flows into the sewer drain. When it does, it can solidify and clog the drain, resulting in a sewer backup.

Review your residential insurance policy or contact your agent to determine whether your policy covers damages due to sewer backups and/or water damage. In many cases, this additional coverage can be purchased at a minimal cost to cover your home in the event of a sewer back up incident. If you experience a sewer backup, record the details of damage and contact us and your insurance agent. 

What City Staff Will Do

The first priority for City of Orillia staff arriving at the scene of a flood or sewer backup is to determine whether the sewer is functioning properly. City staff will determine whether the cause of the blockage originated on the private side of the sewer connection or on the City side.  City staff will first check the City's main sewer system adjacent to your property to make sure that it is working properly.

Within the City, property owners are responsible for the sewer lateral between the premise and the City's sewer main regardless of property boundary. Property owners are financially responsible for repairs to lateral services if they reside on private property. If a spot repair is required between the sanitary sewer main and property line, the cost associated with labor and materials is shared 50/50 between the City and property owner, provided the need for the spot repair was not caused by an action of the property owner or tenant (City Policy - Connections).  A deposit of 50% of estimated repair is required prior to the City commencing with this repair.


Diagram of who is responsible for repairs

Sewage Discharge By-law

You cannot put everything down the sewer. The City of Orillia's wastewater treatment plant is designed primarily to service households with normal domestic wastewater. It cannot efficiently remove the toxic pollutants contained in some of the waste produced by business, industries, and institutions.

Discharges that do not meet the requirements outlined in Orillia's Sewage Discharge By-Law could have serious consequences for public health and safety, the environment, and municipal infrastructure. Even if the discharge is very small in quantity, the total combined effect can be significant. Unauthorized discharges could result in:

  • Threat to the health and safety of sewer workers
  • Damage to municipal infrastructure
  • Interference with the normal operation of the wastewater treatment plant
  • Release of pollutants to Lake Simcoe
  • Inability to re-use our treated sludge (biosolids) beneficially

View Orillia's Sewage Discharge By-Law

Water and Sewer Connections and Estimates

Customers who wish to connect to the municipal water or sanitary sewer system will be permitted to, provided there are services available at the property line. An Application and Estimate for Water and Sewer is required and must be paid for before a building permit will be issued.

 Diagram of house connected to watermain

For all water or sewer connection inquiries, please call 705-329-7249

Sinks are not trash cans!  Use of Garbage Grinders is Prohibited!

Did you know?

  • Garbage grinders increase loads on treatment plants and can cause blockages in sewer pipes and pumping stations, resulting in additional maintenance costs.
  • Food waste from garbage grinders can cause your individual sewer line to backup, resulting in costly repairs and even damage to your house.
  • Garbage grinders use a lot of extra water to flush the waste.

For the reasons above, Orillia's Sewage Discharge By-Law prohibits garbage grinders or food scrap grinders from being installed or connected to the City's sanitary sewer system. The by-law also prohibits residential, industrial, commercial and institutional establishments from replacing existing garbage grinders. Owners who continue to use their existing garbage grinders could end up paying for the cost of clearing sewer blockages on the street.

What can YOU do?

  • Remove garbage grinders currently installed in your home.

  • Put all food scraps into your backyard composter or green bin and empty all other solids into your recycling box or garbage for proper disposal.

  • Put strainers in kitchen sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids, and empty them in your backyard composter or green bin for disposal.

Please don't flush that!

Pharmaceuticals, personal hygiene products, household hazardous waste, and fats, oils and grease are flushed down the toilet regularly.  Flushing your unused medications causes trace pharmaceuticals to be detected in groundwater (including drinking water), soil, lakes and streams.

Personal hygiene products, fats, oil and greases cause damage to the sewer system, including pipelines and pumps. This can cause backups to the sewer system which has the potential of backing up into your own home; this can be costly, let alone very unpleasant!

The City of Orillia's Wastewater Treatment Centre is not equipped to treat and remove large amounts of fats, oils and grease from the sewer system. This can cause major longterm impacts to Lake Simcoe's ecosystem.

By taking the 'I don't flush pledge', you can help drastically reduce the amount of unwelcome items in The City of Orillia's sewer system and Lake Simcoe.

For more information, please click here:


View the I Don't Flush YouTube video.


The City is asking residents to please refrain from flushing "flushable" wipes.  Even though baby wipes may indicate that they are flushable, they should not be put into our wastewater system. This also includes adult wipes, cleaning wipes (Clorox, Lysol, etc,), and toddler wipes. In fact, the only paper products that should be flushed is toilet paper. It is the only paper that is designed to break down as it travels through the wastewater treatment process. All others are NOT designed to breakdown and thus create problems within the wastewater system. They can also cause blockages in the property owner's sewer line and can lead to costly plumbing repairs.

Below is a list of items that should NOT be disposed of in the toilet:

  • paper towels
  • dental floss
  • baby wipes
  • sanitary applicators
  • disposable diapers
  • cotton balls, swabs or pads
  • rags or cloths
  • rubber or plastic items (e.g. latex gloves)
  • sanitary products
  • cleaning wipes
  • hair
  • chewing gum
  • food waste
  • fats, oils and grease
  • kitchen scraps
Other helpful links for business owners

Businesses have unique needs when it comes to water and sewage issues. Contact us if you have specific questions. Below are some helpful links:

We attempt to make our website documents accessible, however, some of these documents may not completely meet the AODA accessibility requirements. If you require assistance or communication support, please contact 705-326-1502.

© City of Orillia, 50 Andrew Street South, Suite 300, Orillia, Ontario, L3V 7T5, Tel: (705) 325-1311, Fax: (705) 325-5178, Email:

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