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Down The Drain

The City of Thunder Bay’s sanitary and stormwater sewer system provides an essential service. Waste water going down the drains in our homes and businesses travels through the sanitary sewers and, combined with water in our stormwater system, travels to the Water Pollution Control Plant to be cleaned and treated before it is sent back into the environment. What goes down the drain affects us all. The future health of our drinking water source depends on everyone acting responsibly.Spring water run

Municipal By-laws limit what can be put down sanitary sewers and storm sewers. The Sewer Use By-law defines what can be discharged into a sewer – whether sanitary, combined, or storm sewer. Some substances and materials are prohibited. 

Down the Drain "Don'ts"

Inside your home or business, do your part. Put garbage where it belongs – never use the toilet or drain to dispose of:

  • dental floss
  • rags
  • tampons, applicators or sanitary napkins
  • disposable diapers
  • cosmetics
  • cotton swabs
  • food scraps
  • fat, grease or cooking oils
  • condoms
  • cigarette butts

Chemicals, prescription drugs and hazardous waste products must be disposed of safely. These substances need special handling. Pharmacies will take back unused and expired prescription and non-prescription medicines and medical sharps for safe disposal. Contact your pharmacist for more information.

Always deliver hazardous waste to the Household Hazardous Waste Depot at the City of Thunder Bay Solid Waste and Recycling Facility (Mapleward Road landfill), free of charge. Use environmentally safe, biodegradable detergents and personal care products. Instead of purchasing cleaning products that contain chemicals, try some of the safer, alternative product recipes listed here. Improper disposal of hazardous waste can have serious consequences for public health and safety, municipal infrastructure and the environment. Even if each discharge is very small, the total combined effect can be significant.

These documents provide more information about Waste Water Treatment and Hazardous Waste:

  • Never dispose of hazardous waste like oil, household cleaners or paint down the catchbasin grate
  • Drop off hazardous waste at no charge at the Household Hazardous Waste Depot at the City of Thunder Bay Solid Waste and Recycling Facility
  • Clean up animal waste
  • Make sure your vehicles are not leaking oil, fuel, brake or transmission fluid where it will be washed into the sewer
  • Eliminate the use of fertilizers and pesticides

For more information, contact Infrastructure & Operations Dispatch at 625-2195.