Monday, 29 June 2009 11:34

Bylaw Information for our Members

It has recently come to the BIA's attention that there are several city bylaws affecting a portion of our businesses regarding Greasetraps, Sewers, and Backflow devices.  Please see below for more information.

What you need to know about your sewers

The City of Toronto has a bylaw in place that aims to reduce the amount of pollutants that enter the sewer system. The City ensures that all industrial, commercial and institutional facilities comply with the City’s Sewers Bylaw (Toronto Municipal Code, chapter 681). Through monitoring, sampling, testing, investigating and enforcing, water pollution is reduced and Toronto’s water quality is improved. Every business in the City of Toronto needs to comply with the requirements of the Sewers Bylaw. Some key points are:

  1. All establishments must comply with the discharge limits of various pollutants to the sanitary and storm sewers, such as heavy metals and organics, some of which are known as subject pollutants. Parameters and limits are listed in the municipal code at: toronto.ca/legdocs/municode/1184ˍ681.pdf
  2. If establishments discharge any listed subject pollutants of the bylaw, they are required to prepare and submit a pollution Prevention Plan (P2). The plans help to ensure that facilities take measures to prevent and minimize pollution that enters the sewers. To learn more, visit: toronto.ca/water/protectingˍquality/pollutionˍprevention/pp2.htm
  3. Provision of an Industrial Waste Surcharge agreement in case a business exceeds the limits for certain treatable parameters, such as Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD), Total Suspended Solids TSS
  4. All dental facilities are required to install and frequently maintain a Dental Waste Amalgam Separator to reduce mercury from entering the sewers.
  5. All establishments that prepare or process food are required to install and frequently maintain a grease interceptor (grease trap). Enzymes, bacteria and other additives are not allowed in a grease trap as this moves the grease down the sewer pipe, causing blockage.
  6. Automotive garages and car washes are required to install and maintain an oil water interceptor and /or a sediment interceptor, respectively.
  7. Automotive service stations, cars washes, gas stations, and photo finishing labs are required to comply with the Best Management Practices Plan.

For more information and to view Best Management Practices Plans, visit:
www.toronto.ca/water/protectingˍquality/pollutionˍprevention/index.htm or E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 311.

Greasetraps are mandatory for businesses selling prepared foods

Since June 2008, under the City’s Sewers Bylaw, it is mandatory that food preparation facilities install grease traps to help prevent contaminants from entering into the city’s sewer system.

While you might think a single food preparation facility would only contribute small quantities of fats, oils and grease to a sewer system, collectively these operations can significantly affect local sanitary systems and wastewater treatment plants. The accumulation can cause blockages, damage equipment and can lead to sewage overflowing, untreated, into Lake Ontario, jeopardizing public health and the environment. It can also cause sewage to backup into businesses and homes.

A grease trap is designed to capture and retain excess fats, oils and grease. Grease traps need to be serviced on a frequent schedule. Improper service of grease traps may cause costly drain blockages and if a backup causes a public health risk, Public Health may close down a business until the problem is corrected. It is also important to have the grease disposed of properly through licensed contractors.

It is a bylaw violation to use bacteria or enzymes to maintain floor drains or grease traps because this simply moves the grease further down the sewer line, where it could solidify and cause a blockage. The City uses sewer cameras to find the source of grease and can trace it back to the business responsible.

For more information on Toronto’s Sewers Bylaw, or to download a copy, visit http://www.toronto.ca/water/protectingˍquality/pollutionˍprevention/emp.htm or e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 311 .

For further information on installing and maintaining a grease trap, visit the Canadian Standards Association C.S.A. -- Standard B481 - www.ShopCSA.ca .

Many businesses need to have a backflow prevention device installed

On January 1, 2008, Toronto’s new Water Supply Bylaw came into effect. The bylaw includes improvements for the protection of Toronto’s water distribution system and harmonizes all previously existing bylaws into one.

One of the targets of the bylaw is eliminating the backflow of potential contaminants into the water supply system. To comply with the Province’s Safe Drinking Water Act, the City’s bylaw is enforcing mandatory installation of backflow prevention devices for industrial, commercial and institutional properties and multi-residential properties (five or more units) to prevent chemicals, pollutants, toxic substances, bacteria, pathogens, and non-drinkable water from entering the city’s water supply. Owner/operators of these types of buildings are legally required to install backflow prevention devices on all connections coming off the City’s water distribution line. This is in addition to any other backflow prevention devices installed on individual units within a building. 

There are two types of backflow prevention devices that can be installed based on a building’s hazard level. The hazards levels for each type of industry are outlined in Schedule 5 of the Water Supply Bylaw. Only a certified installer, with an Ontario Water Works Association Certification in Backflow Prevention, can install backflow prevention devices (for installer requirements, go to: www.toronto.ca/legdocs/municode/1184ˍ851.pdf). Property owners are responsible for hiring certified installers and following the device testing schedule. Prior to beginning installation of backflow prevention devices, a Toronto Building permit must be obtained.

These are the compliance date for industries, based on their risk level:

  • Manufacturing industries rated as a severe risk:  December 31, 2008
  • Commercial operations rated as a severe risk: March 31, 2009
  • Industries rated as a moderate risk: June 30, 2009 and December 31, 2009.

Can businesses get a reclassification to low hazard which does not require a backflow device to be installed?

Only small dry retail operations with one or two residential apartments above the retail space have been reclassified to a low hazard category. A low hazard category does not require a backflow preventer to be installed at this time. Currently, there are very few reclassifications being given out. If you are a small dry retail operation and do not fall into a category listed in schedule 5 of the bylaw, you could be considered for reclassification.

For more information on the Toronto Water Supply Bylaw or to download a copy, visit our website at: www.toronto.ca/water/backflow ,

Or, the Backflow Prevention program can be reached at 416-394-8888 (Backflow Voicemail) or by
e-mailing: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , to discuss your facility in greater detail.

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