Toronto Water has a comprehensive plan to safeguard against and manage potential chemical spills or releases that meets Environment Canada’s Environmental Emergencies Regulation (E2). Tested regularly, the plan includes protocols for the storage of chemicals used to treat drinking water and wastewater, such as chlorine. It also ensures all facilities are equipped with robust response systems to manage environmental impacts and protect public health. This includes gas detection, emergency alarms, leak containment and scrubber systems that collect and neutralize harmful gases before they are released.

Chemical Spill or Release Response

In the event of a chemical spill or release, Toronto Water will work closely with the Office of Emergency Management (OEM), the City of Toronto’s coordinating agency for emergency and disaster activities. Response and recovery activities are governed by the City’s Emergency Plan. The plan:

  • details how the City mobilizes in a crisis and ensures all City organizations, emergency response services and key agencies are aware of their roles and responsibilities.
  • includes leads such as Toronto Police Services, Toronto Fire and Toronto Public Health who may request impacted populations evacuate or take shelter-in-place, depending on the potential health impacts (i.e. inhalation, skin contact hazards).

During an emergency, instructions to ensure residents know how to protect their health, safety and welfare, will be distributed through the following channels:

  • front line staff (i.e. 311)
  • media (i.e. radio, television, print)
  • City website and social media