Property owners are responsible for water and sewer piping from the property line all the way into their home. This means that any leaks or pipe issues on private property are also the property owner's responsibility.

Your water meter is City-owned property, however it's the property owner's responsibility to ensure that the water meter is kept in good condition, in a space where it won't get damaged or be exposed to freezing temperatures.

A house with sewer pipe ownership lines

Sewer use by-law

The Region of Waterloo Environmental Enforcement & Laboratory Services (EELS) is responsible for monitoring and enforcing the Sewer Use By-Law for the City of Cambridge. For more information about sewer use call (519) 575-4400.

Sewer blockage

If you detect a sewer blockage at your property, call the City of Cambridge's Public Works department at (519) 621-0740. Staff is available to answer your call 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.

If you have a sewer blockage, the property owner must call Ontario One Call (ON1Call) at 1(800) 400-2255 for a Sewer Safety Clearance. There is no charge for this service.

Once you receive clearance from ON1Call, contact Cambridge's Public Works department and a crew will come to investigate the location and cause of the blockage.

Fees

Blockages on public property (not caused by the carelessness of a homeowner) will be cleared without charge. Fees apply if the blockage is on private property or caused by the homeowner's carelessness.

Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., repair fees are as per the rate review (fees for specific work determined by the City). After hours (Monday to Friday before 7 a.m. and after 5 p.m., weekends and holidays), repair fees include time, equipment and materials.

The City of Cambridge decides who is responsible for covering the cost of clearing a sewer blockage. Please note that the Public Works department will not reimburse the homeowner, tenant or plumbing contractors for the cost of the sewer block removal without prior inspection to determine the cause.

Arranging for repairs    

If you need to complete repairs of the sewer line on the private side of your property, you should:

  • Get three price quotes for the repair
  • Review contractor credentials before hiring one
  • Review the location of the property line
  • Review the scope of repair with City staff, as repairs may also be required on City property or may encroach onto City property

Backflow prevention

There are many items you should not flush or pour down your drains because they can:

  • Damage or block your home plumbing, which can lead to basement flooding
  • Damage the City's sewer pipes
  • Damage wastewater treatment plants
  • Harm the environment and aquatic habitats in the lake, local streams and rivers

You shouldn't flush or pour the following items down your toilet or drain.

Hygiene products
  • Wipes or baby wipes (even flushable wipes can cause problems)
  • Tampons or sanitary pads
  • Condoms
  • Cotton swabs
  • Dental floss
  • Facial tissue
  • Paper towels
Fats, oils and grease

Fats, oils and grease are often from cooking and can be found in meats, fats, lards, cooking oil, shortening, butter, margarine, food scraps, baking goods, sauces, salad dressings and dairy products.

When warm fats, oils, and grease are washed down the sink or toilet into the plumbing system they cool, harden and stick to the inside of sewer pipes. Over time, the grease will build up and can block the entire pipe. Blocked pipes can lead to problems, such as:

  • Overflow of raw sewage into your home, business, or neighbouring property
  • Basement flooding
  • Contact with disease-causing organisms
  • Raw sewage overflow into parks, yards, streets, creeks, rivers and the lake
  • An increase in operation and maintenance costs to clean and repair damaged sewer pipes
Medications and household hazardous waste

Don't throw medications (prescription and non-prescription such as pain relievers, cough syrups, antibiotics, veterinary drugs, etc.) in the garbage, flush them down the toilet or pour them down the sink. Traces of these drugs are found in the environment because people don't dispose of them properly. Return any unused medication products to the pharmacy or dispose of them through household hazardous waste services.

Other household hazardous waste includes:

  • Paints
  • Pesticides
  • Cleaning products
 Wastewater Quality Management System

The City of Cambridge developed a Wastewater Quality Management System (WWQMS) Operational Plan in 2023, inspired by the Drinking Water Quality Management Standard (DWQMS) developed by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment Conservation, and Parks (MECP). The implementation of a Quality Management System (QMS)  helps support ongoing due diligence to ensure the Wastewater Collection System is operating in accordance with applicable legislation/regulations. Additionally, a QMS supports continual improvement within the Environmental Services Division. The City's WWQMS policy can be seen below.

City of Cambridge Wastewater Quality Management System Policy