How Our Wastewater Treatment Plants Operate

The design and operation of all of our treatment plants is strictly regulated by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE), and each Regional plant is required to meet environmental quality standards set by the MOE, at the point of discharge to our local streams and rivers.  Treated discharge from all of our plants is routinely monitored to confirm that our facilities meet their regulated quality standards and are not impacting the natural environment.

The Region of Waterloo has contracted the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) to operate and maintain all of its wastewater facilities. The Region's Water Services Division oversees OCWA and monitors their performance.  Well-trained and provincially certified OCWA staff ensure all our facilities comply with Ministry of the Environment requirements.

Typically, wastewater entering the plants takes about 24 hours to travel through a multi-stage process where the wastewater becomes progressively cleaner, including physical, chemical and biological treatment systems. Solid material suspended in the wastewater entering the plant as well as sludges that are generated as a byproduct of treatment are transferred to a separate treatment system (digesters) where the solids are further broken down biologically and potentially harmful microorganisms are killed over a period of weeks.  At many of our plants this solids treatment produces a beneficial end product called biosolids.