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Federal Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations


The federal Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations announced on July 18, 2012 establish new national standards for Canada's more than 3,500 wastewater treatment systems. This regulation will benefit all Canadians and the environment and requires continued inter-governmental partnership, and investments by all orders of government, to make its successful implementation a reality.

Over the next three decades, the regulations will require communities to substantially upgrade about one out of every four wastewater treatment systems across the country. Based on conservative estimates, future capital expenditures alone will be in excess of $18 billion dollars. Municipalities will also face significant additional costs in terms of up-front assessment and planning, as well as operating expenses.

These costs will force municipalities to defer other local infrastructure priorities that are critical to sustained economic growth and job creation, and could significantly increase property taxes for hundreds of thousands of families and small businesses. 

Map of Canada

Meeting the New Wastewater Regulations

Current levels of federal investment in all local infrastructure, delivered through the permanent, indexed federal Gas Tax Fund and the application-based New Building Canada Fund are important complements to the $15 billion invested by municipalities themselves each year. As these programs are for all local infrastructure needs, they simply cannot address the new costs associated with the implementation of the wastewater regulations. 

Partnering on a Solution

Municipalities are looking to partner with the federal government on a new, long term, dedicated fund for wastewater-treatment projects to assist communities in complying with these new regulations.  

More Information   

For more information on the federal Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations, including reporting and compliance timelines and other important information for owners and operators of wastewater systems, please visit Environment Canada's wastewater website:  

Page Updated: 05/10/2017