Understanding Sewer Systems
There are two sewer systems that connect to your home, and each system is critical to managing and removing a different type of water.
- The Sanitary Sewer
Soiled water from toilets and soapy water from showers or laundry, is called wastewater.
Wastewater is collected in pipes that run throughout your home. Then it leaves your house through one pipe running beneath your home to the street and leads to the Sanitary Sewer System.
The sanitary sewer collects wastewater and sends it to a wastewater treatment facility. The wastewater is treated before being returned to Lake Ontario.
The sanitary sewer system is maintained by the Region of Peel.
- The storm sewer
Rain water and melting snow is called storm water. There is a storm sewer pipe that runs beneath the road outside your home; it collects storm water and leads to the Storm Sewer System. Some homeowners have ditches or swales that collect their storm water.
Your home, your neighbourhood and the roads running through it are designed to channel storm water. Your neighbourhood is graded in such a way that water will run in the right direction toward the storm sewer. Roads are designed to withstand large amounts of water during large storm events but sometimes, water may rise over the curb and flow onto your property. That’s why it’s very important to check the grade of your property and to assess it from time to time to make sure water continues to drain away from your foundation.
The storm sewer is maintained by your local municipality – the cities of Brampton, Mississauga and the town of Caledon.
If you have a home with a Foundation Drain Collection System, it is also maintained by your local municipality.
Understanding the differences between storm and sanitary sewers
The sanitary sewer is a fairly small pipe designed to carry wastewater generated in your home. The storm sewer is a much larger pipe designed to carry rain water and spring snow melt.
- Wastewater is collected and treated before being returned to Lake Ontario.
- Storm water flows directly into the storm water management ponds, or into creeks and rivers and into Lake Ontario.
See the difference between the storm and sanitary sewer. (PDF 149KB, 1 page)
As a homeowner, you have certain responsibilities for maintaining sewer systems. Understanding these responsibilities is important in maintaining your home.