The Regional Municipality Of York

    >>

Protecting Lake Ontario: We all have a role to play

What Duffin Creek Water Pollution Control Plant is doing to keep our water safe

Shores of Duffin Creek Plant on lake Ontario

When you flush your toilet, do you know what happens to your wastewater or where it goes?

If you live in York Region, most likely your wastewater travels down the drain, through a network of sanitary sewers, through the York Durham Sewage System, and ends up at Duffin Creek Water Pollution Control Plant for treatment before being discharged back to Lake Ontario.

The Duffin Creek Plant is a top-performing wastewater treatment facility located on the northern shore of Lake Ontario in the City of Pickering. Operated as a partnership between The Regional Municipality of York and The Regional Municipality of Durham, the plant is a highly engineered system of tanks, pipes and specialized equipment and buildings, covering the equivalent of 400 football fields.

The plant receives more than 317 million litres of wastewater (equivalent to 127 Olympic-sized swimming pools) each day from residents, businesses and industries located in communities in York Region, the Town of Ajax and the City of Pickering.

Engineered specifically to treat wastewater, (remove solid materials, nutrients and bacteria from wastewater), the Duffin Creek Plant ensures protection of both human health and the environment by meeting and surpassing standards set out by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.

Seven facts you may not know about Duffin Creek Plant:

  1. With over $850 million in upgrades in the past 10 years, Duffin Creek Plant is a top-performing wastewater treatment facility that meets the needs of urban expansion while protecting the environment.

  2. Duffin Creek Plant treats wastewater from 80 per cent of communities in York Region, as well as Ajax and Pickering in Durham Region.

  3. Over the past 15 years, York and Durham Regions have invested over $15 million in wastewater studies and water quality monitoring around the Duffin Creek Plant through environmental assessments and plant optimization studies to ensure the Duffin Creek Plant continues performing excellently. It is important the Regions protect Lake Ontario because they also rely on the lake for their communities’ drinking water.

  4. Toronto and Region Conservation Authority completed six years of nearshore water quality sampling in the vicinity of the Duffin Creek Plant’s outfall pipe that releases treated water back to Lake Ontario. Sampling results indicate water quality meets or exceeds Provincial Water Quality Objectives.
  5. New technology and process improvements added to the Duffin Creek Plant remove more than 94 per cent of phosphorous entering the plant. That’s equivalent to removing more than two tonnes of phosphorus each day.

  6. The Duffin Creek Plant is the most highly regulated treatment plant discharging to the open waters of Lake Ontario removing more solid material, nutrients and bacteria from the wastewater than is required by regulation.  Among its benefits, it has the strictest limits of all large treatment plants in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). This ensures water released to the lake will not harm fish or the natural environment.

  7. The Duffin Creek Plant does not bypass treatment processes: Apart from the Duffin Creek Plant, most large GTA treatment plants will bypass treatment processes in response to increased wastewater flows occurring during rainstorms and intense snow melts. This means that untreated or only partially treated wastewater is released from a treatment plant back out to the environment. It has been estimated a billion litres of non-treated or partially-treated sewage flows into Ontario’s rivers and lakes each year from bypass events. The Duffin Creek Plant uniquely doesn’t bypass treatment.

Our lake, our shared responsibility. Here’s how you can help protect our waterways and Lake Ontario:

  • Use phosphate-free household cleaners, laundry and dishwasher detergents and don’t use lawn fertilizers
  • Carefully pick up litter and debris and properly dispose of it
  • Pick up and properly dispose of your pet’s waste
  • Eliminate the use of plastics where possible; as plastics breakdown, they become microplastics and become smaller and smaller, but still take decades to decompose
  • Get involved in stewardship programs and community cleanups

Following these tips will help reduce the amount of phosphorus, litter and pollutants entering our lakes, rivers and streams.

To learn more about the Duffin Creek Plant visit york.ca/duffincreek or call York Region at 1-877-464-9675.



Protect,Lake,Ontario,water,wastewater,Duffin creek,pollution,control,plant The Duffin Creek Plant is a top-performing wastewater treatment facility located on the northern shore of Lake Ontario in Pickering. Operated as a partnership between York and Durham regions, the plant is a highly engineered system of tanks, pipes and specialized equipment and buildings, covering the equivalent of 400 football fields. The Regional Municipality of York en-US News

Contact Us

  • Environmental Services

  • 1-877-464-9675

  • Administrative Centre

  • Accessibility

    Accessible formats or communication supports are available upon request

Protect,Lake,Ontario,water,wastewater,Duffin creek,pollution,control,plant
url of logo image en-US The Regional Municipality of York Contact Us

Events Calendar


  • More events