Drinking water

The City of Thunder Bay sits on the shore of Lake Superior, the world's largest freshwater lake. We strive to protect our drinking water, and to provide you with high-quality water.

We promote wise water use through discounts and rebates. Visit our Discounts and Rebates webpage.

Learn more about:

Lead in drinking water

Visit our Lead in Drinking Water webpage for safety information and to learn about the City's Lead Water Service Replacement Loan Program, launched in 2020.

Water meter readings and billing

Learn how to check your water meter, and what your payment options are, on our Water Meter Readings and Billing webpage.

Sewer and wastewater

Thunder Bay's sewer and wastewater system provides an essential service and protects the integrity of Lake Superior. Visit our Sewers and Wastewater webpage for more information.

Curious about your sewer connection? See Your Sewer Connection, an informative PDF that will answer your questions.

Your household sewer collects wastewater from your toilet, sink, shower, drains and other sources in your home. Water entering the sanitary sewers is routed to the City of Thunder Bay’s Water Pollution Control Plant, where it is treated and then returned to Lake Superior.

How Does the Sewer System Work?

Sanitary Sewer

This system collects wastewater from your toilet, sink, shower, drains and other sources in your home. The water is then treated at the City of Thunder Bay’s Water Pollution Control Plant and then returned to Lake Superior.


Storm Sewer

This system collects rain water and snow melt through storm grates on the roads. This water drains directly to the nearest lakes and rivers; there is NO treatment process. Anything poured into a storm sewer ends up directly in our lakes and rivers. Disposing pollutants into a storm sewer is illegal.

DOs and DON'ts


  • Place food scraps into the garbage or compost
  • Collect and dispose of cooking grease/oil before washing dishes
  • Place screens over drains
  • Ensure vehicles are in good condition and are not leaking fluids
  • Inform family and friends of household sewer management practices
  • Inform the City if you see someone pouring chemicals, oil, paint or any environmentally hazardous material into a storm sewer catch basin, sanitary sewer or ditch by calling 807-625-2195


  • Put grease and food scraps down the drain
  • Place solid household waste into toilets and sinks
  • Pour anything down manholes or catch basins Install food grinders in your home
  • Flush any other paper products other than toilet paper down the drain


Do NOT Pour Grease Down the Drain

Grease is a by-product of cooking commonly found in food scraps, butter/margarine, cooking oil, meat scraps and baked goods. It is important to not pour grease down the drains as it ends up in the sewers and can cause blockages which may result in:

  • Raw sewage overflowing into homes and streets
  • Sewage problems upstream of the blockage
  • Costly clean up
  • Exposure to raw sewage and potential disease causing organisms
  • A fine under the city of Thunder Bay’s Sewer Use By-Law ($250 or more) Running hot water down the drain with fats and oils will not stop them from hardening inside the pipes. The grease will eventually cool and harden and can eventually cause a blockage.


Do NOT Use Food Grinders and/or Garburators

Food grinders are no longer allowed to be installed under the City of Thunder Bay’s Sewer Use By-Law. Solid food waste can block sewers and cause back ups. Food grinders do not break down oil and grease.


Do NOT Flush Wipes Down the Drain

Common wipes in your home are not to be flushed down the drain, even if they are advertised as "flushable". Wipes block sewer lines and the treatment processes at the Water Pollution Control Plant. Examples of wipes include, but are not limited to:

  • Bathroom wipes (often advertised as flushable);
  • Baby wipes; • Paper towels or paper napkins;
  • Household cleaning wipes;
  • Body cleaning wipes;
  • Feminine hygiene products (sanitary napkins, tampons, and pantyliners);
  • Makeup remover wipes.


Own a Pool or Hot Tub?

Having a pool in the summer is a great way to cool off and a hot tub in the winter can be very refreshing. But did you know that you must properly dispose of the water each year? Pools and hot tubs are filled with chemicals that keep them clean and safe for swimming; these include chlorine, bromine, salt and other sanitizing materials.

The creeks and rivers around Thunder Bay are host to many different fish and aquatic organisms which can be severely affected by these additives. Pools and hot tubs must be properly disinfected, neutralized and drained directly into a storm sewer and not onto an adjoining property.


The City also conducts smoke testing, which is a safe, quick way to find areas of the sewer system that need updating.

Reporting Sewer Problems

You may report a problem using the tool on our Sewers and Wastewater webpage.


Stormwater is the rain and melted snow that flows over land into our lakes and rivers. Learn more about it on our Stormwater Management Plan webpage.

Also, check our Flood Prevention Measures webpage to learn how we track stormwater runoff.

 Rain barrels

Benefits of a rain barrel

A rain barrel will catch some of the rain runoff from your roof via a downspout, conserving the fresh, soft water for use in your garden, and reducing your need to water with for tap water. This benefits your plants and saves you money. It also helps the environment by reducing rain runoff travelling to the City's storm sewer system. 

Reducing rain runoff

As rain runoff moves across the ground/pavement, it picks up soil from the ground and contaminants from pavements. This puts a strain on the storm sewer system and eventually reaches Lake Superior. Reducing runoff reduces soil leaching and surface damage, and contamination of Lake Superior and its contributing creeks and rivers. Let's keep our water clean!

How do I purchase a rain barrel?

Rain barrels can be purchased from EcoSuperior at 562 Red River Road. 

Call ahead

Please check online or call EcoSuperior at 807-624-2140 before visiting, to confirm available stock.

Clean Water Wastewater Fund (CWWF)

The Clean Water Wastewater Fund (CWWF) is a federal program designed to accelerate short-term community investments  while supporting the rehabilitation and modernization of drinking water, wastewater & stormwater infrastructure, and the planning and design of future facilities and upgrades to existing systems.  

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