Water & Sewer

Wastewater Collection & Treatment

The City of Hamilton collects and treats both sanitary and combined sewage from the large underground wastewater collection sewer system. The City owns and operates two wastewater treatment plants including:

  • Woodward Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant at 700 Woodward Avenue, Hamilton
  • Dundas Wastewater Treatment Plant at 135 King Street East, Dundas

Wastewater collection

Hamilton’s wastewater collection system includes:

  • sanitary sewers and combined sewers
  • combined sewer overflow tanks
  • wastewater pumping stations

This collection system services the city of Hamilton including:

  • Dundas
  • Ancaster
  • Waterdown
  • Glanbrook
  • Stoney Creek

Combined sewer overflow tanks were added to the system to reduce the number of combined sewer overflows to the local receiving waters. These tanks capture and store excess combined sewage during rainstorms and later send it to the Woodward Avenue Treatment Plant for treatment after the storm.

Wastewater treatment

The Woodward Avenue Treatment Plant has an average daily capacity of 409 million litres. The facility is a secondary conventional activated sludge plant with sludge dewatering and digestion. There are five wastewater treatment processes used at this plant, including:

  • Preliminary treatment
  • Primary treatment
  • Secondary treatment
  • Effluent disinfection
  • Sludge digestion

The Woodward Avenue Treatment Plan digester complex treats:

  • primary treatment sludge
  • thickened secondary activated sludge

This complex has five primary and three secondary anaerobic digesters. The digestion process uses a heated biological process to reduce the volume of organic matter and destroy pathogens. This process produces methane gas and biosolids. The methane gas is used as a fuel or converted into electricity. The treated biosolids, after being conditioned, are approved for use on agricultural land.

The Dundas Wastewater Treatment Plant has an average daily capacity of 18.2 million litres. The facility is a conventional activated sludge plant with tertiary filtration. There are five wastewater treatment processes used at this Plant, including:

  • Preliminary treatment
  • Primary treatment
  • Secondary treatment
  • Tertiary filtration
  • Effluent disinfection

Biosolids are stored on site in covered holding tanks until they are transported to the Woodward Avenue Treatment Plant for further processing.

View a diagram of the treatment process (PDF, 880 KB)

Wastewater Quality Management System

The City of Hamilton created a voluntary Wastewater Quality Management System (WWQMS) to improve our existing wastewater systems and processes and reduce environmental impacts.

The WWQMS is a set of policies and procedures implemented to effectively and efficiently collect and treat wastewater in a manner that protects the environment, meets legal and regulatory requirements & meets City of Hamilton’s commitment to a high-quality wastewater system. 

The WWQMS Policy CLEAN ensures the City’s commitment to:  

  • Compliance with all legal and other requirements  
  • Leaders in pollution prevention 
  • Effective communication with the community 
  • Always improving the Wastewater Quality Management System; and  
  • Noteworthy innovation 

The WWQMS was built upon Hamilton Water’s strong quality management system foundation, existing operational framework and staff expertise. The City of Hamilton's Wastewater Quality Management System (WWQMS) received endorsement from Council on December 16, 2020. The WWQMS was fully implemented and operational in 2021.

Hamilton Water is the Operating Authority for the City's wastewater collection and treatment systems. Hamilton Water has established and maintains the WWQMS such that it meets legal and other requirements including financial planning and annual reporting.

The WWQMS Operational Plan Summary Report informs Mayor and Council of the WWQMS’ performance and milestones. In addition, printed copies of the WWQMS Operational Plan Summary Report can be found at the following locations:

  • Clerk's Office
  • City Hall
  • Hamilton Water Storefront at 330 Wentworth St N, Hamilton

Download the Hamilton Water Financial Plan (PDF, 642 KB) or pick up a printed copy at the City of Hamilton Water Customer Service Area, 330 Wentworth Street North, Hamilton.

Download the 2021 Bypass and CSO Overflow Log

If you require these any of these in an alternative format such as Braille or large print, call 905-546-2489.

Wastewater Treatment Facilities Annual Report

2021 Wastewater Treatment Facilities Annual Report (PDF, 5.27 MB)

The 2021 Wastewater Treatment Facilities Annual Report for the City of Hamilton is a consolidated report for the Woodward Wastewater Treatment Plant, Dundas Wastewater Treatment Plant and the following facilities as a result of conditions within the individual facilities’ approvals:

  • HCS01/HCS06: Greenhill CSO Tanks
  • HCS02: Strachan CSO Tank
  • HCS03: James CSO Tank
  • HCS04: Main/King CSO Tank
  • HCS05: Eastwood CSO Tank
  • HCS07: Red Hill Superpipe
  • HCS08: Royal CSO Tank
  • HCS09: McMaster CSO Tank
  • HC018: Twenty Road Wastewater Pumping Station
  • HC019: English Church Wastewater Pumping Station
  • HC027: Homestead Wastewater Pumping Station
  • HC058: Binbrook Wastewater Pumping Station

Biosolids Management

The Biosolids Master Plan provides direction for managing biosolids generated from the City’s wastewater treatment plants. Currently all of the biosolids are processed through the Woodward Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant. The new Biosolids Management process uses thermal drying system which takes the nutrient-rich organic materials that result from the wastewater treatment process and turn them into pellets to be sold for fertilizer or fuel.

Electricity production from wastewater

Hamilton is the first municipality in Ontario to be accepted to build a generator for sustainable green energy by the Ontario Electricity Financial Corporation. It is also the only wastewater biogas co-generation plant in Ontario with a 20 year contract to sell electricity to the Ontario Power Authority. The project is one of the most innovative, large-scale examples of biogas co-generation in Canada.

This facility aims to:

  • Produce clean renewable electricity from a waste product
  • Reduce greenhouse gas, or GHG, emission to the atmosphere
  • Increase energy efficiency of the facility
  • Generate revenue and reduce operating costs for the existing wastewater treatment plant by producing electricity and utilizing waste heat to offset natural gas usage