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Our Wastewater Facility

Napanee Water Pollution Control Plant

The Napanee Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) is a conventional activated sludge process, with an average day design flow rate of 9087 m3 /d, and a peak flow rate of 21,370 m3 /d. All treated wastewater is disinfected and discharged to the Napanee River. Bacteriological testing is conducted each week to evaluate the effectiveness of the disinfection process. The WPCP must meet stringent effluent requirements set by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks as well as the Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan. To learn more about our processes, take a look at our Annual WPCP Report or our Annual Sewage Collection System Report

Napanee sewage treatment plant

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a sanitary sewer? 

The sanitary sewer system is a series of underground pipes that can carry sewage waste from kitchens, bathrooms, sinks or other plumbing components to the Town's wastewater treatment plant. If you live in town, your house is likely connected to the sanitary sewer system. 

What is Sanitary Sewer Flushing? 

The sanitary sewer system is a series of underground pipes that can carry sewage waste from kitchens, bathrooms, sinks or other plumbing components to the Town's wastewater treatment plant. If you live in town, your house is likely connected to the sanitary sewer system. 

Why do we conduct Sanitary Sewer Flushing?

The process is necessary to remove any settled, accumulated material from the sewer system. Routine flushing helps reduce the potential for sanitary sewer backups or blockages, which can potentially cause damage to property. 

What to Flush 

A way to remember what is appropriate to flush is to remember the 3 Ps:

  • Toilet Paper
  • Poo
  • Pee

Why should you only flush the 3 Ps?

  • Our municipal sanitary sewage system and the equipment at our Wastewater Treatment Plant were not designed to deal with any items other than the 3 Ps. Flushing any other materials can cause blockages, backups and equipment failures that can be very time consuming and expensive to fix.
  • You own the sewer pipe on your property. If a blockage and backup occurs, it can be expensive for you to fix and could damage your home.
  • Some items other than the 3 Ps can be a health and safety concern to treatment plant operators.
  • Some items other than the 3 Ps cannot be properly treated at the Wastewater Treatment Plant and can cause adverse effects to the environment. 

What to Never Flush

ever flush the following down the drain:

  • Disposable and flushable diapers and wipes. They may claim to be flushable, but they are not! Dispose of these products in your household garbage
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Dental floss
  • Rags
  • Tampons, applicators or sanitary napkins
  • Cosmetics
  • Cotton swabs
  • Food scraps
  • Fat, grease or cooking oils
  • Condoms
  • Cigarette butts
  • Paper towels
  • Hair
  • Needles. Needles should be disposed of in a proper sharp container
  • Pharmaceuticals. Ask your local pharmacy for proper disposal tips
  • Chemicals such as paints, pesticides, flammable or corrosive products.

First, call a plumber. We suggest calling several different plumbers to provide you with quotes for their services and that you choose one with whom you feel comfortable. The plumber should be able to clear the sewer. Then, call the Town to schedule a camera inspection through Amy McEwen at 343-302-7637. With our camera equipment, we can determine what the problem is and where in the pipe it is located.

One of the most frequent causes of sewer problems is tree roots. Sometimes materials that have been put down the drain cause the blockage. These materials include grease, inorganic products and cat litter.

Dos and Don'ts of Fats, Oils and Grease Disposal

Did You Know?

  • Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) can build up in your plumbing and cause back-ups. FOG can cause blockages and equipment failures in the sanitary sewer system and at the Wasterwater Treatment Plant.
  • The grease that is poured down the drain as a liquid will solidify as it cools, causing blockages that can be costly for homeowners and the municipality.
  • To avoid these problems, follow these easy Dos and Don'ts:


  • Scrape grease and food scraps from plates, pots, pans, utensils, grills and cooking surfaces and place them in your garbage
  • Wipe out greasy pots, pans and utensils with paper towel before putting them into the sink. Soiled paper towels can be disposed of in your garbage
  • Use a strainer in the sink to catch food scraps and other solids
  • Inform family members, friends and neighbours about the problem with FOG in the sewer system and how to keep it out


  • Pour grease down the sink or into the toilet
  • Rinse grease down the sink
  • Use cloths or rags to wipe off plates or clean greasy dishware. When the towels are washed, the grease ends up in the plumbing and sewer
  • Think that rinsing with hot water is the solution. Once the grease and water cool, the grease solidifies and will stick to plumbing and the sewer system, causing blockages over time

Not on the municipal sanitary sewer system? These Dos and Don'ts still applot to you! Sewage systems can also be blocked by FOG.

Our customers are financially responsible for the water and wastewater service pipes in the ground from the property line into the building. Repairs to this section of the pipe are the customer's responsibility. During the camera inspection, if we discover that the problem in the pipe is not on the customer's property, but rather on the Town of Greater Napanee property, the Town is responsible for the repair and will reimburse the cost of the plumber to the customer, as well as waive the camera inspection fee. If the blockage is on the Town of Greater Napanee property but discover that the cause originated from the home or business (eg. Flushing inappropriate materials), the cost of the repairs may still be charged to the customer. Take a look at this pipe ownership diagram to help you visualize. 

You can help us reclaim lost wastewater treatment capacity by ensuring that sump pumps and roof leaders at your home or business are not discharging into the sanitary sewer.

If your home or business has a sump pump connected to the sanitary sewer, please contact Amy McEwen at 343-302-7637 to discuss alternative options.

About the Town's collection systems

The Town of Greater Napanee has separate storm water and wastewater (sanitary) collection systems. Storm water is generally surface water runoff resulting from heavy falls of rain or snow. Wastewater is spent or used water, usually with dissolved or suspended solids, discharged from homes, commercial establishments and/or industries. Unfortunately, improper connections, broken pipes, or faulty joints in the sanitary sewers can result in ground and storm water entering into the sanitary system. This misdirected flow, collectively referred to as inflow and infiltration, is problematic because it occupies treatment capacity at the Water Pollution Control Plant that could otherwise be used to treat sanitary wastewater

Roof leaders and downspouts

Check out your roof leaders and downspouts. If they go below grade, it is possible that you are connected to the sanitary sewer. If so, you should take the necessary steps to disconnect it. Consider adding a rain barrel which will allow you to collect and store the water from your roof for your lawn and garden. Or, where feasible, add extensions to the downspout to discharge the water to a splash pad or grassy area where the water can infiltrate into the ground naturally. 

These reductions will protect homes and businesses from sanitary sewer backups, protect the environment from harmful sewer overflows and bypasses, and will save money. Thank you for your help in eliminating these unnecessary connections to our sanitary sewers.

Please view our sewer use by-law for more information.

For information in alternate formats, please contact Hollie Knapp-Fisher

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