Wastewater, also called sewage, is what goes down the drains at home, work and school. It travels through sewers to a plant that treats the wastewater from your community.
It is important to keep storm water out of the sanitary sewers that flow to wastewater treatment plants. Learn how to do your part.
Not all residences and workplaces are connected to sewer systems. Some rural communities rely on individual septic systems.
Region of Waterloo Responsibilities
The Region of Waterloo Engineering and Wastewater Programs group oversees the operation and maintenance of 13 treatment plants and six pumping stations. We treat wastewater from all three cities and four townships.
Each day, the Region's wastewater plants treat 165 million litres of wastewater - enough to fill about 65 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
How Wastewater Treatment Plants Operate
The Region of Waterloo has contracted the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) to operate and maintain all of its wastewater facilities. Certified OCWA staff ensure all facilities comply with Ministry of Environment requirements. The goal is that treated water does not negatively affect the environment when it leaves the plant.
In about a day of cleaning, wastewater passes through a multi-stage process, including physical, chemical and biological treatment. Solid material removed from wastewater is put in digesters which break down the solids into biosolids over a two-week period.
Biosolids are Beneficial
Biosolids, a nutrient-rich organic material, are a by-product of wastewater treatment. They can be used as fertilizers, bio-fuels and more.
Historically, the majority of the Region's biosolids were spread on agricultural land as a fertilizer. However, the Region is now reviewing its biosolids strategies to ensure they are used in the most environmentally sustainable way.
Wastewater Master Plans
Wastewater treatment is governed by a variety of master plans, the main one being the Long-Term Wastewater Master Plan. To view our master plans and details on projects underway, click on the following links. Short summaries of the plans and projects are also available.
Long-Term Wastewater Master Plan
Review of the Region of Waterloo East Side Servicing
Master Plans Under Review
Baden and New Hamburg Water & Wastewater Master Plan
Pubic Information Centre Presentation 2010
Notice of Completion
Final Report 2011
Appendices for Final Report
Region of Waterloo Biosolids Master Plan
St. Jacobs and Elmira Wastewater Treatment Master Plan
St. Jacobs and Elmira Wastewater Treatment Master Plan Notice of Study Commencement
St. Jacobs and Elmira Wastewater Treatment Master Plan Public Information Centre
St Jacobs and Elmira Wastewater Treatment Master Plan Final Report Feb28/13
St Jacobs - Elmira Wastewater Treatment Master Plan Notice of Completion
Ayr Wastewater Servicing Master Plan
Ayr Wastewater Servicing Master Plan Notice of Study Commencement
Ayr Wastewater Servicing Master PlanPublic Information Centre
Ayr Wastewater Servicing Master Plan Notice of Completion
Ayr Wastewater Servicing Master Plan Project File Report
Ayr Wastewater Servicing Master Plan Project File Report Appendices
Wastewater Projects in Progress
Kitchener Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrades
Waterloo Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrades
Biosolids Heat Drying Facility Class Environmental Assessment
For use by consultants and Region staff to access the latest Wastewater Standards and Guidelines during pre-design and design.