Wastewater

The safe and effective treatment of wastewater in the Township helps protect public health and the environment. The Township's wastewater treatment process operates under strict regulations and meets or exceeds the standards set by the provincial and federal governments.

Blocked Sewer

Sewers can back up due to tree roots, grease build up or foreign objects being flushed into the system.  The Township does not provide services for clearing blockages on private property.

If your house or building is experiencing a sewer backup, you will need to contact a plumber.  The plumber will determine where the blockage is:

  • Within the building:  The plumber should clear the blockage.
  • Between the building and the property line:  The plumber should clear the blockage.
  • Between the property line and the sewer main:  The plumber should clear the blockage and must complete a video inspection after the cleaning process which will provide proof of the exact location of the blockage and the condition of the sewer lateral.  The plumber should forward the lateral blockage information and video to the Township. If the video reveals the pipe was deficient on the Township side, the costs of the video and cleaning may be the responsibility of the Township.
  • Within the sewer main on the street: The plumber should not attempt to clear the blockage and should contact the Infrastructure Services Office at 519.846.9691 Ext 905 during regular business hours or the emergency call service on evenings and weekends 1.844.693.6221.

Blocked Sewer - Causes

Solids/debris - Typical solids that build up in the pipe and may cause backups include fat, oil, grease, wipes, feminine hygiene products, dirt, hair, bones, paper towels, kitty litter, diapers, broken dishware, garbage, concrete, and debris.

Tree root infiltration - Tree roots can cause backups. Tree roots take advantage of leaks or breaks and faulty pipe joints in the service line piping and may infiltrate the pipe system plugging the wastewater flow.

Structural defects in pipes - Significant sags in the service line, cracks, holes, protruding laterals, misaligned pipes, offset and open joints, and collapsing pipe material are all possible causes of backups.

Blocked Sewer - Prevention

Many items used on a daily basis cannot go down the drain or toilet:

  • Do not flush paper towels, wipes, diapers, and feminine hygiene products down your toilet. These products do not deteriorate quickly like bathroom tissue and should be disposed of in your garbage.
  • Avoid pouring cooking oil and grease down the sink. There is a common misconception that it is okay to wash grease down the drain with hot water. In fact, the hot water will help carry the grease down the drain, but quickly cools off as it flows into the sewer drain. When it cools, it can solidify and clog the drain, resulting in a sewer backup.

Blocked Sewer - Responsibility

Customers are financially responsible for the water and wastewater service pipes in the ground from the property line into the building. Repairs to this section of the pipe are the customer's responsibility.

After a blocked sewer inspection, if the Township discovers that the problem in the pipe is not on the customer's property, but rather on the Township's property, the Township may be responsible for the repair. As well, the Township may reimburse the cost of the plumber to the customer.

The pipe ownership diagram illustrates the typical water and sewer layout and Municipal and Private responsibilities. 

Collection and Treatment

Wastewater is collected and treated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Township collects the municipal sanitary sewage (wastewater) in Fergus and Elora as well as from the Low Pressure Sewage System located in Salem. Wastewater is the mixture of liquid and solid materials flushed down toilets, sinks and drains. It flows through the Township's sanitary sewer system to the wastewater treatment plants.

Wastewater is then treated at one of the two treatment plants located in Centre Wellington. Treatment of wastewater is an essential process that protects both the environment and natural water resources.

The effluent is then discharged into the Grand River.

Hauled Sewage and Holding Tank Disposal

Residents can dispose of their recreational vehicle (RV) wastewater at the Fergus Wastewater Treatment Plant located at 350 Queen Street West. You are advised to call ahead 519.846.9691 Ext 375 or make arrangements with staff once on-site. Facility hours are Mondays to Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Fridays from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The 2018 Fee for this service is $10.81

Low Pressure Sewer System

Within the Township, some homes are connected to a Low Pressure Sewer System (LPSS) for the collection of their sanitary waste. Each connected residence has a grinder pump system that directs residential sewage into a common force main that eventually flows into the Elora wastewater collection system. Wastewater treatment is provided at the Elora Wastewater Treatment Plant.

LPSS users are responsible for the system from the house to the chamber. The Township is responsible from the chamber to the collection system, including the grinder pump and the chamber. The grinder system can handle any normal material that is generally discharged to the sewer.

LPSS Alarms and Emergencies - If there is a problem with the pump, an alarm will sound and/or the red light will flash. Slow drains or a sewage backup also indicates a potential problem with the system. Do not attempt to make repairs yourself. For grinder pump alarms and emergencies please call the Infrastructure Services Office at 519.846.9691 Ext 905 during regular business hours or the emergency call service on evenings and weekends 1.844.693.6221.

Power Outage - During a power outage the LPSS pump will not work. Do not use any taps/water or flush any toilets in a power outage. Using water and flushing toilets may cause sewage to back-up into your house.

Preventative Maintenance

The wastewater collection system is maintained through routine sewer flushing using a Vactor truck. The sewer system is also inspected using closed circuit television (CCTV) to highlight areas that are in need of attention and/or future capital work.

Sewer Use By-Law

The purpose of the Sewer Use By-law is to regulate discharges to the sanitary and storm sewer systems. This helps protect aquatic environments, public health and safety, and Township sanitary and storm infrastructure.

The Township By-Laws regulating the sewer systems are:

  • By-Law No. 2849 Fergus Sewer Use
  • By-Law No. 3000-90 Elora Sewer Use

The Township is in the process of combining these to complete one standard Sewer Use By-Law which will apply to the entire Township. By-Laws are available upon request.

Wastewater Billing and Rates

Wastewater rates cover the cost of the day-to-day operations and maintenance to ensure proper wastewater treatment and reserve funds to maintain, replace and build wastewater infrastructure. Wastewater billing is completed by Centre Wellington Hydro, and is based on water meter readings that are taken remotely on a monthly basis.

Customers are billed for wastewater based on the wastewater rate and the amount of water used (in cubic metres) as measured by the installed water meter. This charge covers the cost to collect, transport and treat the sewage. The base monthly charge is based on the water meter size and covers the cost of the water meter, customer service and the billing process.

The sewer rate for 2018 is $2.44 per cubic metre.

Buildings connected to the Salem Low Pressure Sewer System are charged fees to operate and maintain the system as well as for the treatment of the sewage.

What not to Flush and Disposal Options

Sewer back-ups are commonly caused by flushing improper products down the toilet. Such items include wipes, diapers, paper towels, personal hygiene products, pharmaceuticals, hazardous waste, clothing/rags, children's toys and more.

Another major cause of sewer back-ups is fats, oils and grease found in the kitchen.  Dairy products, meat fats, cooking oils, butter and margarine are some common food items that enter the sewer system by way of the kitchen sink.

Care should be taken in every home and business as sewer backups can result in expensive damages and repairs.

Disposal Options Include:

  • Properly dispose of garbage. Please do not use sinks, toilets or drains as trash cans! 
  • Return used or expired medicine to the pharmacy for safe disposal.
  • Residents in the County have a number of options to properly dispose of hazardous waste.

The Township prohibits the use of garbage grinders.

Contact Us

Township of Centre Wellington
1 MacDonald Square, Elora, Ontario, Canada, N0B 1S0
Phone: 519.846.9691
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