Review the following information regarding identifying and reporting spills.

Identify pollution incidents

oil spill on road and catch basin

Help identify pollution incidents where and when they happen. This will help us respond quickly and keep our communities safe. Please report it immediately if you witness any of the following:

  • pollution spilled on land, in the water or air
  • industrial or commercial noise pollution
  • waste being dumped into the natural environment
  • improper disposal of commercial waste

If you are a citizen and notice a spill

Please notify the City of Sarnia and the Ministry of Environment:
Call the City at 519-332-0330 ext. 5900, and
Report it to the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks by phone at 1-866-MOE-TIPS (663-8477) or online Report pollution and spills |
Phone numbers are available 24/7.

If you are the owner of a spill

If you or your company is responsible for a substance that has spilled on public or private property, provincial law under the Environmental Protection Act states that you are required to report the spill to the provincial regulatory body and the municipality the spill has occurred in. The City’s municipal Sewer Use By-Law states that you must report the spill immediately also. If a flammable, poisonous, corrosive or explosive material gets spilled, it can be unsafe for people and the environment.

Owners of pollutants reporting spills are required to contact the Spills Action Centre by telephone: 416-325-3000, Toll-free: 1-800-268-6060, TTY: 1-855-889-5775.

The telephone lines above are available 24/7. In addition to contacting Ontario’s Spills Action Centre, the spill must also be immediately reported to:

  1. the local municipality by contacting 519-332-0330 Ext 5900 (24/7)
  2. the owner of the substance (if known)
  3. the person in control of the substance (if known)

For more information visit: Report pollution and spills |

Sewer Use By-Law

A By-Law to control the discharge of pollutants to the wastewater and stormwater works; to protect the wastewater and stormwater works from corrosion, other damage and obstruction, to protect the wastewater treatment processes from upset, to protect the public, municipal workers and property from hazardous conditions, to prevent uncontaminated water from entering the system, to protect wastewater sludge quality, to protect the natural environment that works discharge too from contaminants that are not removed by the public treatment system, and to ensure compliance with the operating conditions established by the Ontario Ministry responsible for the Environment.

The full Sewer Use By-Law can be found on our website.

Preventing Pollution

Click the headings below to view information about preventing pollution.

Preventing Pollution at Businesses

  • If you’re a business owner, preventing pollution can help protect you from litigation, fines and expensive clean up costs.
  • Comply with the Sewer Use By-law at all time.
  • Understand how drainage flows out on your commercial/industrial property and maintain your private drainage system properly.
  • If your business produces liquid waste, you must follow applicable federal, provincial and municipal requirements.
  • Liquid wastes cannot be discharged into storm drains or the storm sewer system.
  • Create a pollution prevention plan if your business involves any type of material that could cause a spill. The plan should detail the material handling, storage and movement of materials to prevent spills.
  • Create a spill response plan in the event liquid materials or wastes spill on your property.
  • Keep all catchbasins and drains clear of litter and debris as part of your maintenance program.

Preventing Pollution at Home

  • Keep yard waste in appropriate containers away from roadside catchbasins.
  • Wash your vehicles at a car wash. This helps ensure water containing dirt and cleaning products flows into the sanitary sewer for treatment.
  • Avoid washing carpets, outdoor furniture and other items on the driveway. Soaps, detergents and cleaning products flowing into catchbasins harm water downstream.
  • Maintain your car regularly to make sure engine fluids are not leaking. Clean up any spills or leaks promptly.
  • Dispose of chlorinated and salt water pool wastewater safely.
  • Vacuum, sweep, and use rags or dry absorbents on your driveway to control spills instead of hosing it down. This runoff goes into the nearest roadside catchbasin and then into the environment.
  • For your garden select native plant species and plants that need less fertilizer to minimize polluted runoff.
  • Apply lawn and garden chemicals sparingly and according to directions. Avoid over-spraying pelletized fertilizers onto driveways, sidewalks and the roadway.
  • Keep litter, pet waste, leaves and debris out of street gutters, storm catchbasins and ditches.
  • If you’re completing renovations, make sure your contractor disposes of any liquid construction waste according to the Storm Sewer By-law and provincial waste regulation 347. Never discharge polluted water into catchbasins.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions when applying ice control chemicals. Shovel and scrape snow and ice first.
  • Dispose of cigarette butts safely in a designated spot.
  • Dispose of all food and beverage wastes either as solid waste for curbside pick-up or approved liquid waste into the sanitary sewer system.
  • Use Lambton County’s Household Hazardous Waste days to dispose of hazardous waste like used oil, antifreeze, paints or other household chemicals.

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