Depending on calculated wastewater flow rates and other site characteristics, wineries must obtain either a Provincial Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) from the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC), or a Building Permit from their local municipality, to install an on-site wastewater treatment system. The schematic below provides a general guideline for wineries to show when a municipal or Provincial approval is required.
It should be noted that what approval will be required will ultimately depend on specific site conditions. Wineries are strongly encouraged to arrange a pre-consultation meeting with their local municipal planning department to determine what approvals will be required.
Estimating peak daily wastewater generation, for the purpose of determining what approvals are required (municipal or Provincial), is based on guidance in the Ontario Building Code which includes factors such as:
- Production volume
- Square footage of buildings
- Number of restaurant seats
- Number of washrooms
- Number of employees
- Number of guest rooms and residence accommodations
Wineries should contact their local municipal planning department if they have questions about how the potential expansion of production or hospitality services may impact on-site wastewater system approval requirements.
Case Study: Determining Municipal or Provincial Approval at Greenlane Estate Winery
Greenlane Estate Winery was planning to install a wetland biofilter system. Since the system would discharge wastewater to an on-site septic system, the question of whether municipal or Provincial approval would be required depended on the estimated peak daily wastewater generation.
In accordance with the guidelines contained in the Ontario Building Code, the consultant calculated Greenlane’s estimated peak daily wastewater generation to be under 10,000 litres per day, thereby requiring municipal approval under the Ontario Building Code. In order to conduct this calculation, the municipality took into account all aspects of the winery’s operations, including:
- Wine production (1,500 cases per year, but the treatment system was sized for 26,000 cases)
- Small tasting room and retail store
- Offices and on-site employees
The design plan was submitted by the consultant and approved for wastewater flows of 9,999 L/day.
Case Study: Determining Municipal or Provincial Approval at Konzelmann Estate Winery
Konzelmann Estate Winery was planning to install a bioreactor to treat their wastewater. Since the system would discharge wastewater to an on-site septic system, the question of whether municipal or Provincial approval would be required depended on the estimated peak daily wastewater generation.
In accordance with the guidelines contained in the Ontario Building Code, the estimated peak daily wastewater generation at Konzelmann was calculated to be over 10,000 litres per day, thereby requiring Provincial approval. In order to conduct this calculation, the municipality took into account all aspects of the winery’s operations, including:
- Wine production (40,000 cases per year)
- Moderately-sized tasting room and retail store
- Moderately-sized event space
- Winery offices
- A residence on site
It should be noted that Konzelmann’s actual measured peak daily wastewater generation was under 10,000 litres per day. However, they were still required to obtain Provincial approval because the Ontario Building Code guideline does not have a provision to take into account actual measurements.
Case Study: Determining Municipal or Provincial Approval at Henry of Pelham
Henry of Pelham was considering the installation of a lagoon for the treatment of production wastewater. Since the system would dispose of the treated wastewater through evaporation and irrigation (as opposed to an on-site septic system) Provincial approval is required.
Henry of Pelham’s high production volume (100,000 cases per year) resulted in their peak daily wastewater generation being over 10,000 litres per day. Therefore, they would require Provincial approval even if wastewater was discharged to a subsurface tile bed.
In addition to either municipal or Provincial approval of on-site wastewater treatment systems, approvals from other organizations may also be required. Wineries should contact these organizations early in the planning process.
Municipal Building Permits
- Even if approval of the wastewater treatment system falls under provincial jurisdiction, wineries may still require municipal or regional permits for associated construction or other work.
- Depending on the type of work taking place as part of the wastewater treatment system installation, wineries may require permits or planning reviews from their local Conservation Authority.
Niagara Escarpment Commission
- Wineries located within the Niagara Escarpment Plan Area may require a Development Permit from the Niagara Escarpment Commission. If an NEC Development Permit is required, it must be obtained before any other approvals can take place.
- Wineries’ first point of contact is a municipal pre-consultation meeting as part of the planning process.
- Wineries should consult early and often with the municipal planning department or the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) district office.
- Wineries should consult with neighbours, the local community, and any other individuals or groups who may be impacted to identify and address any concerns they may have. Wineries should document and maintain records of all consultations.
- Where possible, wineries should have records and supporting data on their peak daily wastewater volume, average daily wastewater volume, and wastewater strength from at least one full year of operation.
- As part of the approval process, wineries may be required to develop a stormwater management plan.
For Municipal Building Permits
- Ensure your consultant has experience with the planning process.
- Municipalities may require performance data from a similar application or other information in order to approve pre-treatment systems. Ensure the consultant is aware of these requirements and can provide the necessary information.
For Provincial ECAs
- Ensure your consultant has experience submitting applications and review the Checklist of Requirements. Incomplete applications are a major source of delay when applying for an ECA.
- After preparing a proposal, arrange a pre-submission consultation meeting with the MOECC district office.
The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change protects Ontario’s air, land and water for today and for future generations.
This video shows you what to expect during a typical inspection of wastewater and sewage works at an Ontario winery.
For more information, visit: ontario.ca/page/what-expect-when-environmental-officer-inspects-your-facility