Share your ideas: Consultation on amendments to the Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations

From: Environment and Climate Change Canada

Current status: open

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is seeking your input on amendments to the Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations, in particular on transitional and temporary authorizations.

Open for comments from June 27, 2020 to December 31, 2022.


The Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations aim to protect the environment by lowering the level of harmful substances released in wastewater effluent into Canadian waters. This in turn reduces threats to fish, fish habitat and human health from fish consumption. The Regulations set quality standards that are achievable through what is called “secondary wastewater treatment”.

The Regulations allowed communities to apply for an extension if they could not meet the effluent quality standards. Communities had until June 2014 to apply, and extensions (transitional authorizations) were given based on risk to the environment. More than one hundred mostly smaller communities did not apply even though they would likely have been eligible.

The Regulations include a temporary bypass authorization that allows releases from wastewater treatment plants who do not meet the effluent standards for a short period. These short term releases occur when municipalities need to maintain, repair, and upgrade their wastewater treatment plants.

Focus of this consultation

ECCC is looking for your comments on proposed amendments to the Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations with a focus on two specific areas: 

Transitional Authorizations

ECCC is proposing to allow eligible communities another opportunity to receive an extension (transitional authorization) to comply with the Regulations. The rules for qualifying for this extension, and the deadline to upgrade or build a new wastewater treatment facility would remain the same. For more details on transitional authorizations, read the Notice of Intent in the Canada Gazette.

Expansion of existing temporary bypass authorization

ECCC is also proposing to expand the existing temporary bypass authorizations in the Regulations to include planned releases of wastewater from sewer systems. This approach is being considered to improve transparency and result in the least possible impact on the environment. The amended regulations would allow eligible communities to apply for a temporary bypass authorization for short-term releases.

Who should participate

We invite all Canadians to participate in this consultation. We especially want to hear from:

How to participate

ECCC published a discussion document outlining the regulatory proposal online for a 90-day public comment period which ended on March 5, 2022.

For more information on consultations and what we heard, please visit our Consultations on Wastewater webpage.

Contact us

Wastewater Program
Environment and Climate Change Canada
351 St. Joseph Boulevard
Gatineau QC, K1A 0H3

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