The Regional Municipality Of York


Public Notice

Oak Ridges Air Management Facility Environmental Assessment Study Commencement

Town of Richmond Hill

Over the past year, York Region has conducted air quality studies, air flow modelling, monitoring and sampling programs to assess odour in relation to Regional sewers in the community of Oak Ridges, in the Town of Richmond Hill. As a result of these studies, York Region has identified the need for an Air Management Facility (AMF) with odour control technology for the Oak Ridges community.

York Region has initiated a Schedule ‘B’ Class Environmental Assessment (Class EA) study under the Municipal Engineers Association Municipal Class Environmental Assessment to select a preferred location for the proposed air management facility, including related treatment technology.

Study Area Map

Oak Ridges Study Area map

The Class EA study process includes public and agency consultation, evaluation of alternative solutions, an assessment of the effects of the project and development of mitigation measures to reduce potential impacts.  

Input from the public is an important part of the Class EA study. You are invited to attend the first of two open houses to learn more about the project and provide feedback.

Open House Information

Date: Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Time: 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Location: Oak Ridges Community Centre – Program Room 1A, 12895 Bayview Ave, Richmond Hill, ON L4E 3G2

Please let us know if you require accommodations to participate in this meeting. An accessible version of this notice is available upon request. For further information about this project, questions, to submit a comment, or to be added to the mailing list, please contact:

Mandy Paglia, C.E.T., PMP

Project Manager

The Regional Municipality of York
Capital Planning & Delivery Branch
Environmental Services Department

17250 Yonge Street
Newmarket, Ontario L3Y 6Z1

Toll free: 1-877-464-9657 ext. 75093
Fax: 905-830-6927


Frequently Asked Questions

Why are we experiencing odours in Oak Ridges?

As with any sewer pipe, odour will be present inside the pipe from sewage flows. Odour-causing compounds are also partly generated due to the pipe following the height/topography of the land and the mixing that occurs as sewage travels through the pipe. As a result of changes in topography, ‘drop structures’ are designed along the system at points along the sewer to accommodate for the elevation difference on the pipe profile, where odours may result. As a function of the system, sewer gas is a normal occurrence. Pressure and flow changes in this area promote the presence and mixing of gases, resulting in odours.

What may cause the sewage smell in the Oak Ridges neighborhood?

Increased sewage flow from current and future area growth. The increased sewage flow will reduce the space for the air flow in the sewer system, which may create a positive pressure in the system, causing the air to be pushed out of the system at maintenance holes and other openings.

What is the York Durham Sewage System (YDSS)?

The YDSS roughly services the central and south-eastern area of York Region from the Town of Aurora south through the City of Markham. A portion of the YDSS alignment travels south through Town of Richmond Hill and the Oak Ridges neighborhood.
The design of the YDSS south of the Oak Ridges Moraine is a gravity system with no pumps or other mechanical parts required to maintain the flow of sewage. The structure has a design life of approximately 100 years.

What is York Region doing to manage odours in Oak Ridges?

System flows are being optimized to minimize odour generation. Liquid treatment measures are being used to further minimize the generation of odours. Carbon filters are in place in a number of locations to treat and reduce odours. Staff monitors the site on a regular basis to inspect and maintain the filters.

Are there any risks to my health?

Typically people can smell the “sewage smell” (mainly H2S, Hydrogen sulfide) in concentrations at extremely low levels and far below what is considered to be a level that could affect a person’s health. We do not expect any health impacts associated with the odours that are being experienced. This “sewage smell” smells like rotten eggs. The smell being experienced occurs after the sewer air has been diluted by mixing with ambient air.

What do I do if sewer smell persists inside my home?

If the odours persist in your home, it may indicate that your plumbing requires maintenance. Run your water taps in each of your sinks and floor drains to ensure plumbing traps have water in them and are working properly. Verify that your roof downspouts are not connected to the sanitary sewer system.

What is York Region planning to do to further reduce the sewer odours in Oak Ridges?

Regularly scheduled maintenance and monitoring of the area is ongoing by Region staff. York Region is working towards a long term solution for the effective operation of the proposed Air Management Facility (AMF). Construction of this facility is targeted for 2018. As part of the Environmental Assessment study currently underway, system pressure is being monitored to inform the development of a long term solution, and explore additional short term mitigation measures. For more information about the proposed AMF, please visit 

When will the public be consulted on the Air Management Facility (AMF) implementation?

The first Open House is planned for October 19, 2016 to introduce the project and the approach for identifying a solution. A second Open House will be held in early 2017.

How does an Air Management Facility (AMF) work?

Air fans will draw air in from the sewer system and create a small negative pressure in the sewer pipe headspace, preventing odour escaping into the surrounding environment.
The air removed from the system will be passed through an odour treatment and removal system. The treated air will then be discharged into the atmosphere through a stack.

How well do other Air Management Facilities (AMF) work?

The technologies considered for this project have been used recently in similar applications with a high degree of effectiveness. The new AMF will be within a fully enclosed building that allows a high degree of control over airflow through the equipment that may be used. The entire treatment process will be under negative pressure, which means that air is drawn inside the building in order to limit untreated air from escaping outdoors. The proposed AMF will use proven bioscrubber technology and dry media filters that will remove more than 99.5 per cent of the most common odour generating compounds.

Is there a performance guarantee from the supplier of odour treatment equipment?

A performance guarantee is provided by system component suppliers. As well, the operation of the facility will be continuously monitored by instrumentation which will inform the maintenance crew of any issues. A York Region maintenance crew is available 24/7 with a one-to-three hour response time. A response protocol will be developed to provide a toll-free number for community feedback on odour related issues, questions and resolutions.

How do I know there will be no adverse effects from the Air Management Facility (AMF)?

To achieve a high standard of performance for the proposed AMF, the following key initiatives have been taken:

  • Early identification of impacts from the movement of wastewater
  • Planning and approval of an AMF is subject to a strict Provincial regulatory process, requiring environmental compliance approval from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change covering the design, construction and operation of the facility
  • Quality control systems that will be included in the project design will provide real-time information to York Region’s Operations staff to ensure the continued safe and efficient operation of the facility. The facility will also contain a complete back-up system

Personal information submitted (e.g., name, address and phone number) is collected, maintained and disclosed under the authority of the Environmental Assessment Act and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for transparency and consultation purposes. Personal information you submit will become part of a public record that is available to the general public, unless you request that your personal information remain confidential.

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