Water & Sewer

Spills to the Sewer

A spill is a discharge of an abnormal quantity of a pollutant that occurs outside of the ordinary course of events.

Spills can happen at all industries, businesses and households. Disposing of chemicals, paints, motor oil and other pollutants into the storm sewer catch basin, sanitary sewer or onto the ground can contaminate our waterways, which are the sources of our drinking water.

Report a Spill

Call the City of Hamilton’s Spill Reporting Line at 905-540-5188 in the event of a spill. We will take your calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The law requires you to notify the City of a spill as soon as possible. City staff will respond and provide you with information on clean up, site restoration and how to prevent similar accidents.

Provincial regulations require that you also report spills to the Spill Action Centre operated by the Ministry of the Environment. Call 1-800-268-6060 to report a spill.

Spill clean up

The person having control or ownership of the spilled material, is legally responsible for the clean up of the material and the restoration of the affected areas. This includes cost incurred by other parties, including the City of Hamilton.

A variety of qualified contractors are available 24 hours a day for spill containment and clean up. Check the yellow pages for Environmental Consultants & Services, Hazardous Materials Handling or Liquid Waste Removal.

Containing spills

Here are some ways you can contain a spill:

  • Sweep outdoor spills and dispose of in the trash (landfill) if it isn’t hazardous. If it is hazardous, take it to a Community Recycling Centre.
  • For wet spills like oil, apply cat litter or another absorbent material, then sweep and bring to a Community Recycling Centre.
  • Try to stop the source of a spill if you can do it safely.
  • Prevent spills with secondary containment drip pans.
  • Call the City if you see someone pouring material into a storm sewer catch basin, sanitary sewer or land drainage works.

Make sure you avoid:

  • rinsing spills with water
  • hosing down your driveway
  • letting people walk or drive through the spill
  • cleaning up unknown or suspect material, contact appropriate authorities

Report illegal dumping

If you see someone pouring chemicals, oils, paints or any other suspicious material into a storm sewer catch basin, sanitary sewer or land drainage works, call the City of Hamilton’s Spills Reporting Line at 905-540-5188 to report illegal dumping.