New approval for municipal sewage works

The municipal Consolidated Linear Infrastructure Environmental Compliance Approval (CLI ECA) replaces the numerous pipe-by-pipe Environmental Compliance Approvals (ECAs) that were previously issued for components of municipal sewage collection systems and municipal stormwater management systems.

A CLI ECA does not apply to:

  • municipal sewage treatment plants
  • privately owned, industrial and commercial sewage collection
  • privately owned, industrial and commercial stormwater management systems

Overview

A municipal CLI ECA is a single approval for all the sewage works components of a municipal sewage collection system or a municipal stormwater management system.

CLI ECAs are issued to municipalities. They include conditions that authorize these municipalities and prescribed persons (such as developers) to make changes to the system when requirements in the CLI ECA are met.

CLI ECAs are issued under the:

Prescribed persons are defined under Ontario Regulation 208/19, Environmental Compliance Approval in Respect of Sewage Works. They are identified as having an agreement with a municipality under the Planning Act or the Development Charges Act.

Municipal sewage collection systems

A municipal sewage collection system includes all sewage works located in the geographical area of a municipality that collect and transmit sanitary sewage. These works are owned, or will be owned pursuant to an agreement with a municipality entered under the Planning Act or Development Charges Act, by:

  • a municipality, a municipal service board established under the Municipal Act, 2001 or a city board established under the City of Toronto Act, 2006
  • a corporation established under the Municipal Act, as amended, or under of the City of Toronto Act, as amended

CLI ECA does not include sewage works that are located on the same land where a municipal sewage treatment plant is located. These works are included under the sewage ECA for the treatment plant.

The types of sewage works included in a CLI ECA are:

  • sewage works used for the collection, storage, pumping, transmission, or discharge of sanitary sewage, excluding treatment
  • sewage works used for the management of residue from the system or the management of the discharge of a substance into the natural environment from the system
  • all the eligible sewage works for collection of sanitary sewage that are owned by a municipality, or that may be transferred to a municipality pursuant to an agreement entered with a municipality under the Planning Act or Development Charges Act as amended including pumping stations and pipes
  • combined sewers that collect and convey both wastewater from residential, commercial, institutional and industrial buildings as well as facilities and stormwater runoff through a single-pipe system
  • pumping stations including those that pre-condition sewage for further treatment downstream, such as the addition of coagulants, flocculants, disinfectants, or pH adjustment

Sewage works on the same property or site as a sewage treatment plant will not be included in a CLI ECA. Also, sewage works that treat sewage beyond sewage pre-conditioning, such as satellite systems, are not captured in the CLI ECA and require a municipal sewage ECA.

Municipal stormwater management systems

A municipal stormwater management system includes all sewage works for stormwater management located in the geographical area of a municipality. These works are owned, or will be owned pursuant to an agreement with a municipality entered under the Planning Act or Development Charges Act, by:

  • a municipality or by a municipal service board established under the Municipal Act, as amended, or a city board established under the City of Toronto Act, as amended
  • a corporation established under the Municipal Act or under the City of Toronto Act, as amended

A municipal stormwater management system does not include:

The types of sewage works included in a Municipal Stormwater Management System ECA are:

  • all the sewage works for stormwater management that are owned by a municipality, or that may be transferred to a municipality pursuant to an agreement entered with a municipality under the Planning Act or Development Charges Act that include pipes, swales, ditches, stormwater management facilities and low impact development
  • sewage works that are designed for stormwater management but may receive combined sewage overflows or sanitary sewage overflows in an emergency

Format and process

A CLI ECA generally includes schedules that contain a variety of information about the system and the terms and conditions of the approval. For example, the description of the system and key components are found in Schedule B.

Key schedules to note are:

  • Schedule C which contains the list of amendments to the CLI ECA that have been approved by the Director
  • Schedule D which contains information regarding pre-authorized alterations to the system

Approval process

A CLI ECA applies to all the sewage works components of a municipal sewage collection system or a municipal stormwater management system. This includes any new sewage works that may be added to the system and any alterations to structures or equipment within the system.

All CLI ECAs include a requirement to apply for a review and renewal by a date specified in Schedule A of the CLI ECA. This ensures that the CLI ECA is updated at regular intervals to reflect any changes to the description of the system (infrastructure) or operation of the system.

A typical CLI ECA will:

  • Become effective the date that it is issued
  • Pre-authorize low-risk routine alterations to the system
  • Be amended by the ministry from time to time to reflect significant changes to sewage works described in Schedule B of the CLI ECA. For example, works added or altered in accordance with pre-authorized alterations or that have been authorized by the ministry through a Schedule C amendment to an approval
  • Be reviewed and renewed by the ministry at regular intervals

An application to amend the CLI ECA also known as a Schedule C amendment will be required for alterations that are not pre-authorized. 

Lifecycle overview

The lifecycle of the CLI ECA begins when it is issued. It may be amended to reflect changes or changes may be pre-authorized under the terms and conditions of the CLI ECA

The lifecycle of the CLI ECA begins when it is issued. It may be amended to reflect changes or changes may be pre-authorized under the terms and conditions of the CLI ECA.  When an amendment is made, the Schedule C amendment must be reviewed and approved by the ministry before the change is made. After the change is made, notification is submitted to the Director. A pre-authorized alteration can be made in accordance with the conditions of the CLI ECA, and approval is not required. However, Director notification must be made following the change if the change makes it necessary to update the description of works in Schedule B of the CLI ECA. The CLI ECA is reviewed by the ministry at regular intervals of approximately five years to ensure that changes made are reflected in the description of the works in the CLI ECA.

Operations and maintenance manual

Conditions in the CLI ECA require the municipality, as the holder, to prepare and implement an operations and maintenance (O&M) manual for the system. This manual may be maintained in hard copy or electronic format.

Where necessary for ease of reference or ease of operations, this manual may consist of separate documents that are applicable to different parts of the system. Requirements for what must be included in an O&M manual are listed in the CLI ECA, but will typically include:

  • operating and maintenance procedures for routine operation of the system
  • inspection programs, including frequency of inspection and the methods or tests used to detect when maintenance is necessary
  • maintenance and repair programs
  • operational and maintenance requirements to protect sources of drinking water, such as those included in the ministry’s D-5 Planning for Sewage and Water Services and any applicable local source protection plan policies
  • procedures for the inspection and calibration of monitoring equipment
  • emergency response, spill reporting, contingency plans and procedures for dealing with equipment breakdowns, potential spills and any other abnormal situations
  • procedures for receiving, responding and recording public complaints
  • as-built drawings or record drawings

Reporting

Reporting requirements for CLI ECAs are specific to the type of system. For a municipal sewage collection system, this includes reporting collection system overflows and spills to the natural environment. Conditions that must be followed in the CLI ECA require the municipality as the holder, to prepare an annual performance report for the system.

Specific requirements for the report will be listed in the CLI ECA, but typically include:

  • the timeframe that the report is required to cover
  • a due date for submitting the annual report to the ministry
  • a requirement for the report to contain:
    • information that describes monitoring data and environmental trends
    • a summary of operating problems encountered and corrective action
    • a summary of maintenance and repair activities undertaken
    • information about complaints received about the system and steps taken to address them
    • a summary of all spills and abnormal discharge events
    • information about changes made to the system and any actions to improve or correct performance of the system

As the ECA holder, you are required to make this report available to the public at no charge, for example, by posting the report on the municipal website.

How to apply

CLI ECAs are only issued to municipalities. Only municipal sewage collection systems or municipal stormwater management systems or privately owned systems that are transferred to a municipality are eligible for a CLI ECA.

To submit your application, email to ECA.submission@ontario.ca with the following attachments:

  1. A completed ECA application form
  2. Copies of all required supporting documents

You will receive a confirmation email with the reference number for your application.

Do not submit payment information in your email. If you submit your application by email and payment is required, you must mail your payment to:

Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Attention: Environmental Compliance Approval, Director
Client Services and Permissions Branch
135 St. Clair Avenue West, 1st Floor
Toronto Ontario
M4V 1P5

Include the following in your payment submission:

  • The payment page of the application form with your credit card information. If you are paying using a certified cheque or money order, staple the cheque to the payment page
  • The reference number of the application, which you can find in your confirmation email

If payment is not received, it may delay our review of your application.

If you are applying to establish a new (previously unapproved) municipal sewage collection system or municipal stormwater management system in a municipality that does not have a CLI ECA or for a Schedule C amendment, contact us to arrange a pre-submission meeting. 

A Schedule C amendment application must be co-signed by the municipality that the CLI ECA has been issued to. 

You may be asked to provide a copy of an infrastructure map that reflects sewers and other system components as of the date that the CLI ECA is issued, either:

  • as part of a Schedule C amendment application
  • when your CLI ECA is submitted for review and renewal   

Making changes to system operations

If you are a developer or prescribed person, contact the municipality where your project is located to get a copy of their CLI ECA. You must determine whether your project meets the requirements for pre-authorized alterations or if you are required to make a Schedule C amendment to the existing CLI ECA.

To make any additions, modifications, replacements or extensions to your municipal sewage collection or municipal stormwater system, changes must either be:

Director notification

You are required to notify the Director when changes have been made to the system that result in a change to the description of your system provided in Schedule B of the CLI ECA.

The Director Notification Form should be submitted in accordance with conditions in your CLI ECA.

Depending on what your CLI ECA requires, a Director Notification is generally required:

  • within 90 calendar days of discovering existing works that are not described in your CLI ECA or discovering that changes to the description of the existing works are necessary
  • within 30 calendar days of completing or placing into service a pre-authorized alteration that will change the description of a system component in your CLI ECA
  • within 30 calendar days of completing or placing into service alterations to your system approved through a Schedule C amendment
  • within the timelines specified in a Schedule C amendment, where requirements for notification are identified

Contact us to request a Director Notification Form.

Exemption from notification requirements

You do not need to notify the Director when:

Repair and maintenance

Many routine actions that may be taken to repair or maintain the function of sewage works in the system are not subject to the approval requirements or are pre-authorized alterations.  

These activities will be referred to in your CLI ECA as repair, maintenance and routine maintenance. Generally, repair and maintenance activities are exempt from most verification and notification requirements in the CLI ECA.

Repair

Fixing or replacing something that is broken or not working correctly.

Maintenance

Inspecting or servicing equipment to proactively to prevent the need for repair. Includes replacing equipment with new equipment that performs the same function.

Routine maintenance

Maintenance conducted in accordance with requirements listed in the CLI ECA, in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations or generally accepted as good engineering practice.

Pre-authorized alterations

Pre-authorized alterations are future changes to the works that the ministry approves when the CLI ECA is issued. Conditions in Schedule D of your CLI ECA may pre-authorize alterations to the existing works including changes, additions and extensions. These conditions identify the specific changes or alterations that are pre-authorized and requirements that must be followed.

If the CLI ECA authorizes future alterations to be carried out for works owned by the municipality or works constructed by prescribed persons as defined under Ontario Regulation 208/19, Environmental Compliance Approval in Respect of Sewage Works, then neither the municipality nor the prescribed person require a Schedule C amendment or a municipal sewage ECA from the ministry to construct the infrastructure if:

  • the sewage works including sanitary sewage collection and stormwater management works are associated with property development
  • ownership of the sewage works has been or will be transferred to the municipality under an agreement pursuant to the Planning Act or the Development Charges Act

Pre-authorized alterations must be completed in accordance with conditions in the CLI ECA and guidance materials titled ‘Design Criteria for Sanitary Sewers, Storm Sewers and Forcemains for Alterations Pre-authorized under a CLI ECA. Contact us to request a copy.

If ownership of the sewage works will not be transferred to the municipality, a separate ECA may be required. If the alteration does not meet requirements for a pre-authorized alteration, an application for a Schedule C amendment to the CLI ECA is required.

Examples of pre-authorized alterations

A CLI ECA may include conditions that authorize specified alterations to be made to the system in the future (such as enlargement, extension or replacement of sewage works) if they are completed in accordance with conditions in the CLI ECA. These pre-authorized alterations do not require a Schedule C amendment to the CLI ECA or a municipal sewage ECA from the ministry.

Future specified alterations to a municipal sewage collection system in your CLI ECA, may include:

  • adding, modifying, replacing or extending sewers such as separate or nominally separate sewers or forcemains within the collection system
  • modifying, replacing combined sewers such as partially separated sewers overflow regulators, outfalls and combined sewage storage tanks
  • decommissioning combined sewers
  • adding, modifying or replacing sewage pumping stations and real-time control systems
  • adding, modifying, replacing or removing components such as valves, instrumentation, chemical metering pumps, process piping and certain measuring and monitoring devices
  • adding, modifying or replacing system components that may discharge or alter the discharge of a compound of concern to the atmosphere such as:
    • maintenance welding stations
    • minor painting operations
    • parts washers
    • venting for odour control units
    • emergency generators

Future specified alterations to a municipal stormwater management system in your CLI ECA may include:

  • adding, modifying, replacing or extending storm sewers, ditches or culverts
  • adding, modifying, replacing or extending the following components:
    • rooftop
    • parking lot or superpipe storage
    • roof leaders to ponding areas or soak-away pits
    • infiltration trenches or infiltration basins
    • engineered grassed swales or bioswales
    • pervious pipes or catchbasins
    • vegetated filter strips or natural buffer strips
    • green roofs or rooftop gardens
    • wet ponds or dry ponds
    • engineered wetlands
    • certain manufactured treatment devices (such as filters or oil grit separators)
    • low impact development (LID) that relies on evapotranspiration, infiltration into the ground or filtration
  • adding, modifying, replacing or extending a third pipe collection system
  • designed to collect and convey foundation drainage and/or groundwater to a receiving surface water or dry well

Conditions may vary from system to system. Refer to your CLI ECA for the specific requirements that must be met before undertaking any pre-authorized alteration.

When undertaking pre-authorized alterations, you must complete the form that is specified in your CLI ECA.

You are required to keep a record of pre-authorized changes on file and available for inspection, for a minimum of 10 years.

Schedule C amendment

A Schedule C amendment is an alteration or change to the works that is not pre-authorized under the terms and conditions in Schedule D of your CLI ECA.

An application to the ministry is required for alterations that are:

  • not pre-authorized on the CLI ECA
  • not undertaken by the municipality or a prescribed person
  • undertaken by transit agencies

An application to amend the CLI ECA, known as a Schedule C amendment, must be submitted to the ministry before any proposed alterations or changes are made to the works. Before applying to amend a CLI ECA, you should ensure that other legal obligations have been met where applicable. For example, obligations under the Environmental Assessment Act, Planning Act, or the Ontario Heritage Act may apply.

When you apply for an amendment, you may need to provide more information in addition to the requirements detailed in the Guide for applying for an Environmental Compliance Approval.

For example, if your application includes new sanitary sewage works with treatment, or changes to an existing sanitary works with treatment such as pumping stations that pre-condition sewage for further treatment downstream, using the addition of coagulants, flocculants, disinfectants of pH adjustment. You must include information that describes the equipment, pre-conditioning processes and relationship to downstream treatment processes.

For large or complex projects that will be completed in phases, you must include information that describes your project timelines and phases of implementation. This will ensure that specific notification requirements identified in your ECA, where required, align with construction and commissioning of the sewage works included in your project.

Note that sewage works that treat sewage beyond sewage pre-conditioning, such as satellite systems require a sewage ECA and are not captured under a CLI ECA.

Who can submit a Schedule C amendment

Any amendment to a CLI ECA must be submitted by the CLI ECA holder, either

If you are a developer or prescribed person, contact the municipality where your project is located to get a copy of their CLI ECA, to:

  • determine if your project meets the pre-authorization requirements
  • get any necessary municipal approvals for your project before submitting an application for a Schedule C amendment

How to apply for a Schedule C amendment

To apply for a Schedule C amendment, contact us to arrange a pre-submission meeting. 

A Schedule C amendment application must be co-signed by the municipality that holds the CLI ECA

You may be asked to provide a copy of an infrastructure map that reflects sewers and other system components as of the date that the CLI ECA is issued as part of a Schedule C amendment application.

If your amendment is approved

If approved, an amendment for new or altered sewage works will be issued and included in Schedule C of your CLI ECA.

The Schedule C document will authorize and include conditions specific to the construction and commissioning of the sewage works. The municipality, as holder of the CLI ECA, will be required to provide Director notification when the works have been commissioned, placed into service, or at specific stages in the project identified within the CLI ECA

The Director notification initiates administrative updates to the description of the sewage works in your CLI ECA. Contact us to request a copy of the Director Notification Form.

Ministry review and renewal

Your CLI ECA does not expire. However, you will need to submit for review of the CLI ECA at regular intervals, generally every 5 years.  This ensures that the description of the system in Schedule B is current and that any terms and conditions in the CLI ECA remain up to date. 

The due date for submitting for review and renewal is identified in Schedule A of your CLI ECA. As the holder of the CLI ECA, you should receive a reminder approximately 6 months in advance of this date, along with instructions on how to submit.

If your submission due date is approaching and you have not received instructions, contact us.

Guidance

Contact us to request a copy of Design Criteria for Sanitary Sewers, Storm Sewers and Forcemains for Alterations Pre-authorized under a CLI ECA.’

We will provide the following guidance materials at the end of 2022:

  • inspection and testing requirements
  • stormwater management system monitoring guidance
  • watershed guidance

Contact us

For more information contact the Client Services and Permissions Branch by: