Wastewater Bypass and Overflow Reports

The Town of Penetanguishene posts regular reports of sewer bypasses or overflows of wastewater from any Town wastewater facility or collection system location on the Town website.  Annual Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) wastewater treatment plant reports are also listed on the Town website. In addition, all bypasses are reported to the MECP Spills Action Center and the local Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

It is important to note that the Town of Penetanguishene diligently strives in preventing and minimizing any form of wastewater bypass overflow to the environment as much as possible.  Over the years, The Town has heavily invested in its wastewater infrastructure including two tertiary treatment plants, five wastewater lift-stations, and the collection system resulting in significant improvements to wastewater operations.

Sign up to Get Wastewater Bypass/Overflow Alerts

2019 Reports

2018 Reports

Learn about our terms and definitions before reading the reports:

Sewer Bypass Report Terms and Definitions

Plant Bypass:
Describes a situation where wastewater has been diverted around one or more unit processes within the plant and results in a discharge of wastewater to Penetang Harbour from the plant outfall.  There are different types of bypasses listed below that will receive different levels of treatment before discharging into Penetanguishene Bay.

Raw Primary Bypass/ Overflow:
Describes an event where raw sewage bypasses all treatment processes with the exception of chlorine disinfection and de-chlorination before discharging to the environment through the plant outfall pipe.

Secondary Bypass:
Describes a secondary treatment process bypass only, whereas all other levels of treatment still occur such as primary and tertiary treatment and disinfection.

Tertiary Bypass:
Describes a situation where secondary effluent has been fully treated with all stages of treatment including primary and secondary treatment but has been partially or at times, fully diverted around the tertiary (3rd stage) sand filtration final polishing treatment stage. As normal, the final effluent discharge is disinfected and discharged as normal through the outfall pipe to Penetanguishene Bay. 

Note: Prior to the last expansions of both plants in 1994, there was no tertiary treatment stage at either of the Town’s two wastewater treatment plants.  Both of the Town’s plants now have tertiary treatment stages.  In most cases, a tertiary bypass will still discharge an excellent secondary level of treatment with no violation to the plant’s effluent discharge quality or environmental compliance requirements. 

Collection System Overflow:
Describes a discharge from a point in the collection system (like a sewage lift station or manhole) that does not undergo any treatment, or only receives partial treatment such as disinfection before being discharged to the environment.  

Means an action or occurrence, at a given location that causes bypass or overflow.  An event ends when there is no recurrence in the past 12 hours following the end of the last bypass or overflow.  Two ‘events’ are separated by at least 12 hours during which there has been no recurrence.

In the context of waste water treatment plants, effluent that has been treated is sometimes called secondary or tertiary effluent, or treated final effluent and is discharged through an outfall pipe to the receiving waters (Penetanguishene Bay/ Georgian Bay).

Both plants normally produce an excellent water quality effluent discharge and typically meet all monthly and annual Provincial compliance limits within notable margins.  The Town is committed to sustaining the progress made in improving water quality in Penetang Harbour, and to continuing to meet or exceed the delisting requirements of the Severn Sound Remedial Action Plan.  The Town continues to work with the Severn Sound Environmental Association to ensure this high level of environmental protection.