Spills to Sewer

There are two completely separate sewer systems in the City of Brantford.One system consists of a set of pipes that run under our roadways that drain stormwater from our properties into catchbasin grates along curbs. These catchbasin grates capture the stormwater directing it to the nearest natural body of water untreated. For this reason it is very important that only rain or meltwaters enter catchbasin drains.

Should a pollutant be accidentally  spilled to the natural environment, please notify the City of Brantford at 519-759-4150 and contact the Ministry of Environment’s Spills Actions Center at 1-800-268-6060. The owner of the spilled pollutant must also be notified, along with the owner of where  the pollutant was spilled. Learn more about the City’s stormwater system and the importance of protecting it from contaminants.          

The other sewer system consists of sanitary wastewater pipes located under our roadways that  collect wastewater from homes and businesses. These pipes direct the sewage to our wastewater plant for treatment prior to being discharged back to the Grand River in clean condition. Since the treatment process is biological, this process can be harmed by hazardous wastes discharged through the wastewater collection system.

When a hazardous material is spilled or dumped into either sewer system, it can cause several serious problems:

  • When flammable substances are spilled or discharged into either the sanitary or storm sewers, explosive conditions may result, along with the associated odours entering nearby structures.  This also poses a significant safety hazard for workers in the system.  If a flammable substance spill occurs, please IMMEDIATELY contact the City at  519-759-4150.

  • When either a strong acid or base is discharged, corrosion of the sewer pipes can occur. This can also pose a significant safety hazard to workers in the system. If you are unsure if a material is suitable for sewer discharge, please refer to the City’s Sewer Use Bylaw, or please call for the City at 519-759-4150 for additional information    
  • Any unwanted residential chemical wastes, pharmaceuticals or oils can be brought to the City of Brantford’s Landfill Site located at 20 Morrison Road during Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Day to ensure that it is properly disposed of. As long as the waste is residential, there is no charge for disposal.

  • Pharmaceuticals should never be disposed of in the garbage or down the drain as it can end up in streams, rivers, and lakes. Pharmaceuticals can be disposed of at your local pharmacy.

If You or Your Business Are Responsible for a Spill

If you are an industry or business that has accidentally discharged substances into the sewer or environment, you must notify the City immediately. If it is safe to do so, the spill should be contained using booms, absorbent pads or other materials to prevent it from causing further damage. Every effort must be made to contain, minimize damage and clean up the spill. In the event this does not occur, the City is authorized under provincial legislation to undertake remediation and recover any associated costs from those responsible.

All companies should have a spill action plan available to all employees so the employees know what to do and who to contact in the event of a spill. The City of Brantford Fire Department should be immediately notified (call 911) of all fires, significant chemical spills; large quantities spilled, petroleum products, or other products that pose a significant threat or hazard.

If you are unsure if a material is suitable for sewer discharge, please refer to the City’s Sewer Use Bylaw or call the City at 519-759-4150.

How the City Will Respond

The City of Brantford will investigate the spill and take the appropriate action. This may include:

  • Setting up booms and other measures to contain the spill in the watercourse.
  • Taking samples to help determine the substance.
  • Determining the potential cause of the spill (e.g. by tracing the spill to its source).
  • Request a spill report.
  • Mandating operational changes to prevent a future spill.
  • Notifying and updating the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) Spills Action Centre.