The City takes all spills seriously. This includes:

  • spills direct to the environment, including rivers, streams and the Lake
  • pollutants that incorrectly enter the sewer system through manholes or catch basins (square grates on the road)

What To Do

If you see a spill

  • All spills should be reported to 311 immediately. Identities may be kept confidential at the request of the caller.

If you or your business are responsible for a spill

If you are an industry or business that has accidentally discharged substances into the sewer or environment, you must notify the City immediately and submit a detailed spill report within five days of the spill. The report must include:

  • location, volume and duration of the spill
  • name and telephone number of person reporting the spill
  • date and time of the spill
  • name and characteristics of the material spilled
  • work completed to mitigate the spill
  • preventative measures put in place to avoid another incident

Every effort must be made to contain, minimize damage and clean up the spill. In the event this does not occur, the City is authorized under provincial legislation to undertake remediation and recover any associated costs from those responsible.

For more details, see Section 9 of the Sewers By-law.

How the City Will Respond

Toronto Water will investigate the spill and take the appropriate action. This may include:

  • setting up booms and other measures to contain the spill in the watercourse
  • taking samples to help determine the substance
  • determining the potential cause of the spill (e.g. by tracing the spill to its source)
  • requesting a spill report
  • mandating operational changes to prevent a future spill
  • notifying and updating the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Spills Action Centre