Oxford County owns and operates all wastewater collection systems and treatment facilities within Oxford County.

All collection systems are operated by Oxford County staff, with the exception of the systems in Woodstock and Tillsonburg, which are operated by the City of Woodstock and the Town of Tillsonburg, respectively.

The Oxford County Biosolids Management Master Plan (BMMP) requires adherence to the Oxford County 6270-2020 Modernized Sewer Use By-law.

The County Sewer Use By-law staff collect "grab" or "composite" samples of several industrial and commercial discharges into the sanitary sewers to ensure compliance with the By-law. Unusual conditions such as higher than usual flows, unusual colour, large volumes of high solids or oil and grease waste streams, etc. can damage the wastewater collection system and cause upsets to the wastewater treatment facilities.

Industrial, Commercial, Institutional Information

Discharger Information Report-Short Form
Discharger Information Report- Long Form

 Septage Haulers

Septage haulers that dump into Oxford County Wastewater Treatment Plants must meet the following conditions:

  • Must be MOE approved with a valid registration number
  • Have Oxford County permission
  • Need to set up an account with Oxford County

Unacceptable wastes include, but are not limited to:

  • Waste generated outside of Oxford County
  • Waste containing petroleum products
  • Hazardous waste chemicals
  • Ignitable wastes
  • Pathogenic wastes
  • PCB waste
  • Grease trap waste from restaurants and foodservice facilities
  • Waste containing solid materials capable of causing obstruction or damage to infrastructure
  • Reactive wastes
  • Pesticides
  • Severely toxic wastes
  • Radioactive wastes

More Information

 Residential Oil and Grease

Why is oil and grease a problem?

Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) can cause serious problems for the sanitary sewer collection system. FOG can clog the flow in drains and sewers. Sewer pipes blocked by grease are an increasingly common cause of sewage overflows.

Grease that is poured down the sink drain is often a warm liquid. It may not appear harmful but as the liquid cools, the grease solidifies and causes buildup inside the pipes, becoming a hardened mass. The buildup restricts the flow of sewage and clogs the pipes. The consequences of pouring grease down the drain can be:

  • Raw sewage backing up into your home
  • An unpleasant and costly clean up at the homeowners expense
  • Environmental harm if raw sewage is overflowing into parks, yards, streets and local waterways due to a build up of grease
  • Potential contact with disease causing organisms
  • Increased costs for local sewage departments, which causes higher sewer bills for customers

Each year, a considerable amount of time and money is spent cleaning clogged pipes throughout the County.

Where do fats, oils and grease come from?

Grease is a common by-product of cooking and is the term used for animal fats and vegetable oils. It can be found in the following:

  • Meats
  • Salad dressings
  • Soups, pastas and chili
  • Cooking oil
  • Sauces
  • Dairy products
  • Lards, butter and margarine
  • Baked goods
  • Food scraps

What can you do to help?

  • Scrape grease and food scraps from trays, plates, pots, pans, utensils and cooking surfaces into a can or the trash basket for disposal.
  • Wipe out greasy pans with a paper towel before putting them into the sink to soak.
  • Never pour grease down the sink drain or into the toilet.
  • Hot water is not the solution. Once the grease & water cool, the grease deposits onto the sides of the sewer pipes, creating a problem.
  • Use a strainer in the sink to catch food scraps and other solids.
  • Inform your friends and neighbours about the problem of grease in the sewer system and how to keep it out.
  • Place grease into a FOG cup and store it in the fridge or freezer. The grease will solidify and can be placed into the garbage.

What is a FOG cup?

FOG cups in a row

The FOG cup is for households to store cooled kitchen fats, oils and grease for disposal. 

Simply follow these three easy steps to help keep your fats, oils and grease out of sewer pipes:

  1. Pour cooled kitchen fats, oils and grease (FOG) into the container.
  2. Put the lid on and store in the fridge or freezer until full or ready for disposal.
  3. Place full cup into your garbage or take it to the Oxford County Waste Management Facility for disposal. 

Oxford County residents can pick up FOG cups at:

  • Oxford County Administration Building - 21 Reeve St., Woodstock
  • Oxford County Library branches (all 14 branches)
  • Oxford County Waste Management Facility - 384060 Salford Rd., Salford
  • Township of Southwest Oxford office - 312915 Dereham Line, Mt. Elgin
  • Town of Tillsonburg office - 10 Lisgar Ave., Tillsonburg
  • Zorra Township office - 274620 27th Line (at Hwy. 19)
 Toilets are not trash cans

 Did you know?

  • Everything put in your toilet goes to a wastewater treatment facility.
  • Drains and sewers are designed for human wastes, toilet paper and wastewater only.
  • Flushing paper towels and other garbage down the toilet can create sewer backups and overflows.
  • Food waste should be put in your composter.
  • Special wastes depots will take many household chemicals and wastes.

How the sanitary sewer system works

Everything flushed down your toilet or household sink goes to our sanitary sewer system. The sanitary sewer system is a series of underground pipes that transport sewage to a wastewater treatment facility. There, the sewage is treated to a regulated standard and then released into local rivers or lakes.

Help minimize impacts on the environment

Sometimes waste items can pass through the sewage treatment plant and end up in streams, rivers and lakes. It’s extremely important to keep medicines and household wastes out of the toilet and dispose of them properly.

What should I do?

Flush the right stuff

Make sure you only flush toilet paper down your toilet. Our sewage system isn’t designed to handle anything else. Even items that claim to be flushable should be disposed of in another manner.

Help prevent back-ups and overflows

Flushing the wrong things down your toilet can block sewer pipes. This may create sewer backups and lead to basement flooding. It can also cause sewage to overflow into local rivers and lakes.

Know how to correctly dispose of items

PUT THESE ITEMS IN THE GARBAGE:

  • Baby wipes
  • Bandages, bandage wrappers
  • cigarettes
  • cleaning wipes
  • Colostomy bags
  • Combs or brushes
  • Condoms
  • Cotton balls, swabs or pads
  • Dental floss
  • Disposable diapers
  • Fats, oils and grease
  • Food waste
  • Flushable wipes
  • Hair
  • Kitty litter
  • Newspaper
  • Rags, cloths
  • Rubber or plastic items (e.g., latex gloves)
  • Sanitary pads and tampon applicators
  • Tights and pantyhose
  • Toothbrushes

PUT THESE ITEMS IN THE COMPOSTER

  • Food waste
  • Hardened fats, oils and grease
  • Paper towels

TAKE TO A SPECIAL WASTE DEPOT

  • Antifreeze
  • Paint, solvents
  • Motor oil

DISPOSING OF MEDICINE

  • Medicines flushed down toilets can end up in streams, rivers and lakes.
  • Low concentrations of medicines are being found in sewage and surface waters.
  • Remember to always dispose of medicines by taking them to your pharmacy.
  • Never flush medicine down the toilet.

DISPOSING OF HOUSEHOLD SPECIAL WASTE (HSW)

HSW is any material that is corrosive, flammable, ignitable or reactive – and includes household items such as bleach, cleansers, nail
polish and paint. Items considered HSW should never be put down the sink or flushed down the toilet. Instead, they should be taken to a Household Special Waste depot for proper disposal.

 Sink are not trash

Did you know?

  • Food waste grinder discharges to the local sanitary plant for treatment.
  • Water treatment and tax costs rise substantially with food waste in our sewers.
  • Food waste from food waste grinders can cause your sewer to back up.
  • Water required to flush organics through pipes increases your water bills.
  • The use of food waste grinders has been banned in some communities. 
  • Organic waste is better used for composting.

What is a food waste grinder?

A food waste grinder is an appliance that is installed beneath the kitchen sink to grind food wastes into small particles, which are then discharged into the sewer system with the aid of tap water.

Food waste grinders offer convenience, allowing for the immediate disposal of kitchen food waste down the drain. However, this convenience needs to be balanced against the initial capital cost, maintenance and eventual replacement of the food waste grinder, and potential clogging of our sewer system.

Why are they bad?

Food waste grinders can cause blockages in sewer pipes and pumping stations because they increase food particles and grease.
They can also block the line that leads from your house, causing sewage to backup into your home.

Added organic waste to our sewer system means added loads to treat at waste facilities. This directly increases operating costs and in the end increases taxes for the municipality. Food waste grinders don’t really solve any waste problems, they just shift them to the wastewater treatment facilities.

What you should do:

  • Remove old food waste grinders that you currently have installed
  • Scrape all food scraps into the trash
  • Put strainers in sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids. Empty the strainers into your trash or composter for disposal
  • Put food scraps into a composter

Cost conscious

It has been estimated that one household in one year can use up to 4,000 litres of water to flush organics down a food waste grinder. This puts an unnecessary strain on the local water supply and increases your monthly water bill.

Other methods of organic waste disposal are not quite as hard on treatment facilities. More maintenance to sewage treatment
facilities will mean higher taxes.

Cost to treat food waste grinder = $$$ per tonne
Cost to landfill = $$$ per tonne
Cost to compost in backyard = $0 per tonne

By-laws

Towns, municipalities and cities have by-laws in place that limit the amount of solids you can put into the sewer system. In using a food waste grinder, you are likely putting yourself in contravention of the sewage by-law limits.

Food waste grinders may be prohibited in your area. Be sure to check your local by-law regulations.

 Draining your pool or hot tub

Did you know?

  • Draining your chlorinated water into the storm sewer kills fish.
  • Salt water pools must always be discharged to the sanitary sewer.
  • Never drain your pool, spa or hot tub on a rainy day.
  • Discharge your pool, spa or hot tub across your lawn, leading to the storm sewer.
  • Don't add chemicals to your pool, spa or hot tub for two weeks before draining.

Chlorinated water and saltwater pools

Saltwater and chlorinated pools contain chemicals needed to keep them clean and safe for swimming. These chemicals include chlorine/bromine, salts, copper-based algaecides, nonylphenols and nonylphenol ethoxylates. These chemicals are deadly to the fish and other organisms that live in our creeks, rivers and lakes. Never drain your pool or hot tub if there are chemicals present in the water.

Your responsibility

As the owner of a private swimming pool, hot tub or spa, you and any pool service provider must maintain and operate it in compliance with your local Sewer Use Bylaw. Your city or municipality sets out requirements for the proper operation, maintenance and seasonal closure of pools, hot tubs, and spas that will protect the area’s water quality, and ultimately your drinking water.

You and your hired pool service provider are legally obligated to report a spill to provincial and municipal authorities if your pool water has gone into a stream, river, lake or storm sewer systems without proper treatment.

What you should do

Chlorinated water:

  • Superchlorinate to get rid of the bacteria, algae and organic matter.
  • Dechlorinate the water before discharging by placing a dechlorination tablet in the water then letting it sit for one week or longer to allow the chlorine to dissipate.
  • Drain onto your lawn, if it can be properly absorbed into the ground without flowing onto your neighbours property.
  • Running the pump will assist in the dissipation of the chlorine. Sunlight also helps.
  • Filter backwash water and dechlorinate before discharging.
  • Test your pool, hot tub or spa to ensure chemical levels are as close to zero as possible before discharging it.
  • Report any spill of untreated pool water to the provincial and municipal authorities if it has gone into a stream, river, lake or storm sewer system.

Salt water:

  • Discharge salt water pools to the sanitary system connection on your property. The water from salt water pools has such high levels of chlorides that this water cannot be discharged to the storm sewer system.
  • Have the salt water hauled by a Ministry of the Environment approved and licensed hauler.

The difference in sewer systems

Sanitary sewer - This system collects sewage and wastewater from toilets and sinks in your home. This water goes to a wastewater treatment plant where it is treated.

Storm sewer - This system collects rainwater, melted snow, and surface water through storm grates that drain directly into the nearest creek, river or lake. This water is NOT treated.

Remember: storm water is not treated before it reaches your local water source. The chemicals you put down the storm drain go directly into our rivers and creeks.

 Dental Safety

Proper disposal and discharging to sanitary sewer in dental offices.

Did you know?

  • Dental offices generate mercury, biomedical waste, fixer solutions, and lead wastes that cannot be disposed of with regular garbage.
  • Federal regulations require dental offices to have a pollution prevention plan for dental amalgam.
  • Ontario regulations require dental practices where dental amalgam is placed, repaired or removed to install and maintain an ISO standard dental amalgam separator.
  • Silver containing wastes as well as spent x-ray developer and fixer solutions should be recycled by the supplier.
  • The appropriate disposal of hazardous waste is required by both Ontario's waste management regulations and municipal sewer use bylaws.
  • Oxford County has concentration limits on mercury and other heavy metals that can enter the wastewater systems.

 What should my office be doing?

  • Do train staff in proper handling, management, and disposal.
  • Do install and maintain an ISO-certified amalgam separator or equivalent and connect all dental units to it.
  • Do use disposable chair-side traps and filters in your dental units
  • Do remove the chair-side trap and place the entire trap into a break-resistant, airtight container labelled "Hazardous Waste: Contact Amalgam."
  • Do remove your vacuum pump filter from your dental unit. Fasten the lid securely onto the filter. Label the filter "Hazardous Waste: Contact Amalgam." Collect filters in a secondary container as provided by your supplier.
  • Do empty waste from reusable traps and filters into a marked waste container.
  • Do follow manufacturer's instructions regarding equipment maintenance
  • Do store all wastes in sealed containers and ship within 90 days of being filled.
  • Do collect human tissue in red liners marked with the universal biohazard symbol.
  • Do maintain written or computerized logs of amalgam waste generated and of amalgam waste removed from the vacuum system or plumbing
  • Do obtain receipts or other certified documentation from your recycler or hauler of all amalgam waste recycling or disposal shipments.

 What shouldn't my office be doing?

  • Don't dispose of amalgam, human tissue, blood-soaked materials or sharps into the regular garbage.
  • Don't wash amalgam particles down the drain.
  • Don't place amalgam wastes into the biomedical waste/sharps container.
  • Don't self-transport amalgam.
  • Don't give amalgam to an uncertified scrap metal dealer.
  • Don't use chlorine-containing products to cleanse vacuum lines.
  • Don't pour chemicals or silver-bearing x-ray film processing solutions into the drain, sink or open environment.
  • Don't wipe traps/filters with paper towels or any other material.

 Amalgam waste includes:

  • Contact amalgam such as extracted teeth containing amalgam restorations
  • Noncontact or scrap amalgam
  • Used, leaking, or unusable amalgam capsules
  • Amalgam captured by chair-side traps, vacuum pumps, screens, and other devices, including the traps, filters, and screens themselves

Categories of wastes from dental offices

MERCURY CONTAINING WASTES
Mercury has been declared a toxic substance under the CEPA, 1999. In addition, mercury-containing wastes, including dental amalgam wastes, may be classified as hazardous wastes.

BIOMEDICAL/PATHOLOGICAL WASTES
Biomedical wastes are classified as hazardous wastes. Biomedical waste containers must be released to a certified biomedical waste carrier for transport to an approved facility.

SILVER-CONTAINING WASTES
Silver-containing wastes and untreated spent X-Ray developer, and fixer solutions should not be released to common waste streams.

LEAD-CONTAINING WASTES
Lead foil packets and lead aprons must not be disposed to the general waste stream. Approved waste carriers must be utilized to transport and dispose of this waste.

Oxford County reminds residents that wet wipes, even those labelled “flushable,” are not flushable and cost millions of dollars in damage each year to municipal wastewater systems. Please throw wet wipes and flushable wipes in the garbage, not in the toilet.

Read County Council Report No. PW 2020-02
Oxford County supports the City of Kitchener and Ryerson University recommendations regarding single-use disposable wipes