Current status

Environmental assessment: expiry of public comment period for ministry review, February 26, 2016

Project summary

The purpose of the undertaking is to develop a sustainable sewage servicing solution to accommodate the provincially-approved growth forecasted to occur in the Upper York Sewage Solutions service area, including the Towns of Aurora, East Gwillimbury and Newmarket.


Regional Municipality of York


Regional Municipality of York


Water and Wastewater

Reference number



Dorothy Moszynski, Environmental Assessment Branch


Environmental assessment: ministry review completed
Date submitted: July 25, 2014
Expiry of public comment period: September 12, 2014
Expiry of public comment period for ministry review: February 26, 2016

Terms of reference: approved
Date submitted: November 20, 2009
Expiry of public comment period: December 21, 2009
Decision Date: March 11, 2010

Environmental assessment

The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change has completed its Review of the Regional Municipality of York’s environmental assessment (EA) for the Upper York Sewage Solutions (UYSS) project.

The study area for the UYSS project extends to areas in the towns of Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, Newmarket and Whitchurch-Stouffville. From the north to south between Cook’s Bay and St. John’s Sideroad and from west to east between Bathurst Street and Woodbine Avenue. South of Green Lane the west to east study area narrows to just west of Yonge Street and just east of Leslie Street.

The proposed undertaking is comprised of three integrated components: a water reclamation centre (WRC), a project-specific phosphorous off-setting (POS) program, and modifications to the existing York Durham Sewage System (YDSS).

The Ministry Review is available for public, Aboriginal and government agency comments from January 14, 2016 to February 26, 2016 during normal hours of operation at the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, the Towns of Aurora, Georgina, East Gwillimbury and Newmarket’s clerk’s offices, and other locations identified in the Notice of Completion of the Ministry Review.

Terms of reference

The Regional Municipality of York (York Region) is undertaking the Upper York Sewage Solutions (UYSS) Individual Environmental Assessment (IEA) to develop a sustainable sewage servicing solution that can accommodate the forecasted growth in the UYSS service area in accordance with both provincial growth management policies outlined in the Growth Plan pursuant to the Places to Grow Act, 2005 and other applicable legislation, including but not limited to the Lake Simcoe Protection Act, 2008, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act, 2001, the Greenbelt Act, 2005, and the Ontario Water Resources Act. The proposed sewage infrastructure is needed to accommodate and manage the projected growth in a service area that consists of the Towns of Aurora, Newmarket, and portions of East Gwillimbury, including Holland Landing, Queensville and Sharon.

The preliminary study area for the project extends north to Lake Simcoe, east to Woodbine Avenue, south to 19th Avenue, and west to Bathurst Street to reflect the range of Alternatives To the Undertaking presently being considered. This area includes the anticipated potential area of environmental impact and influence, but will be refined as the Environmental Assessment (EA) process progresses.

The proposed ToR for the Upper York Sewage Solutions EA includes the following Alternatives To the Undertaking:

  • do nothing
  • discharge to Lake Ontario
  • discharge to Lake Simcoe

Notice of approval

On March 11, 2010, the Minister of the Environment approved the Terms of Reference for the above-noted undertaking. In granting his approval, the Minister required the following amendments to the Terms of Reference:

  • Section 6.1 of the ToR be amended to include consideration of innovative wastewater treatment technologies as an “Alternative To” the undertaking;
  • Section 6.1 of the ToR be amended to include a subsection, as follows:

Innovative wastewater treatment technologies

Consideration of innovative wastewater treatment technologies will be considered in the UYSS EA. At a minimum, this will include but not be limited to:

  • consideration of the development and use of a wastewater purification system and water recycling facilities to be located in the Regional Municipality of York
  • section 6.2 of the ToR be amended to add the following sentence to the end of the paragraph:
    York Region is committed to considering and evaluating the incorporation of innovative wastewater treatment technologies in the consideration of “alternative methods” of carrying out the undertaking.

The notice of approval contains an administrative error. This error has been clarified in a May 14, 2010 letter from the ministry to York Region.