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

From: Environment and Climate Change Canada

Current status: closed

This consultation was open for comments from June 27, 2020 to July 26, 2023.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) published the Regulations Amending the Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations in Canada Gazette II on June 5, 2024.


The Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations set effluent quality standards that are achievable through 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 for a short period from wastewater treatment plants who do not meet the effluent standards at the final discharge point. These short-term releases occur when municipalities need to maintain, repair, and upgrade their wastewater treatment plants.

Focus of the consultation

ECCC gathered feedback related to two specific areas of the Regulations:

Transitional Authorizations

ECCC sought feedback on the proposal to allow eligible communities another opportunity to receive an extension (transitional authorization) to comply with the Regulations. For more details on transitional authorizations, read the Notice of Intent in the Canada Gazette.

Temporary Bypass Authorizations

ECCC also received feedback on the proposal to expand the existing temporary bypass authorizations to include planned releases from sewer systems. This approach was considered to improve transparency and result in the least possible impact on the environment.

Who was the focus of this consultation

We engaged with:

Comments received

Comments received on the proposed amendments are available on the Canada Gazette webpage. Comments were used in the development of the final amended Regulations.  

For more information on the amendments, please visit our Amendments to the Regulations webpage.

Contact us

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

Related information

Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations

Fisheries Act

Wastewater webpage


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