Sewer Discharge Permits

Within Hamilton’s Sewer Use By-law No. 14-090 (PDF, 2.61 MB), there are six different permits available to industrial, commercial and institutional properties to bring sewer discharge into compliance. The permits provide the City with an opportunity to control specific pollutants.

Types of sewer discharge permits

The following is a list of permits available under the by-law:

This permit allows the property to discharge wastewater to a sanitary or combined sewer system that exceeds the by-law limit for one or more treatable parameters. Treatable parameters are those that can be treated at the City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant including:

  • Biochemical oxygen demand
  • Suspended solids
  • Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Oil and grease (animal and vegetable)

Overstrength Discharge Permits allow the City to recover the costs from the discharger for treating these overstrength wastes.

This permit allows the property to discharge wastewater to a sanitary or combined sewer system where the water was not purchased from the City’s potable water supply. The discharge must be within the parameters in the By-law and free from prohibited substances.  Surcharge Discharge Permits allow us to recover the costs for treating wastewater that is discharged to the sewer system but not captured on water bills.

This permit allows the property a period of time when they can discharge wastewater to a sewer works that exceeds the By-law limits. To be eligible for this permit, you must commit to making process changes and/or installing treatment equipment to comply with the By-law. We issue this permit with strict timeframes and conditions to ensure you complete the required changes. 

We only issue this type of permit when the discharge does not:

  • impair the operation of the Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • impair the collection system
  • impair the quality of the Wastewater Treatment Plant’s biosolids
  • pose a health and safety risk for City staff, the public or the environment

This permit allows the property to discharge wastewater to a sanitary or combined sewer system with chlorides concentrations greater than 1500 mg/L but less than 4000 mg/L. To receive this permit, you must implement a discharge monitoring program and provide periodic reports to the City as outlined in the conditions of the permit.

You may also be issued a permit that allows a discharge of wastewater to a sanitary or combined sewer system with chlorides concentrations greater than 4000 mg/L but less than 5000 mg/L.  You must submit an engineering study indicating the likely reduction of the life span of an exposed sewage works as a result of the discharge. You must also pay for any likely reduction identified in the study or any reduction that results from the actual discharge.

This permit allows the property to discharge non-routine and short-term wastewater to the sewer works for a period of up to six months.

This permit allows the property to discharge wastewater to the sewer works for which a higher level government authority is required, including but not limited to discharges that contain PCBs, waste radioactive prescribed substances, leachate form a waste disposal site, water from a groundwater remediation or water that is discharged to a storm sewer.

Permit fees

Permit fees are non-refundable.

Fee Type Amount
Sewer Discharge Permit Application fee - required for all new applications $567 + HST
Amendment fee - required only if you request an amendment to an existing permit $272 + HST
Wastewater characterization deposit  - payable to the City only when you choose Option 2 in Schedule A or Schedule C of the Sewer Discharge Permit Application $500
Overstrength, Surcharge or Chloride Discharge Permit - Quarterly Administrative Fee  $364
Compliance or Conditional Discharge Permit - Quarterly Administrative Fee  $859 

You must apply for a Sewer Discharge Permit within 60 days of written notice by an officer. A Sewer Discharge Permit expires three years from the date of issuance unless there is an earlier date set out in the permit or when the permit is revoked.To apply for a Sewer Discharge Permit, you need to submit:

  • A completed Sewer Discharge Permit Application form (Word, 295 KB).
  • All required supporting information (identified in Section 2 of the form) including:
    • City water and sewer charges for the premises (Horizon Utilities account number)
    • Certificate of Insurance
    • Release and Indemnification Form (if required)
  • Cheque or money order for applicable fees made payable to the City of Hamilton

Submit the completed Sewer Discharge Permit Application by mail or in person to:

City of Hamilton
Environmental Monitoring and Enforcement Unit
700 Woodward Avenue
Administration Building
Hamilton, Ontario L8H 6P4
Attention: Director of Hamilton Water

We verify all information provided on the application form and accompanying documents. We do not accept incomplete applications; these are returned to the applicant.

You may be required to submit additional information during our review of the application, including but not limited to:

  • Engineering reports
  • Water balance study
  • Calibration records

The City will contact the applicant in writing should additional information be requested.