Managing Toronto’s Water Treatment System – Microbeads

Our city works hard to maintain high water safety and treatment standards. Toronto Water conducts more tests – for more substances – than is required by the Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards.

We as residents can do our part by showing caution with what we discharge into our city’s wastewater system and, by extension, our major freshwater ecosystem, Lake Ontario.

You may have read in the news about mircrobeads, small plastic particles commonly found in many body washes, face scrubs and toothpastes, among other products. The very small size of microbeads means that they typically bypass municipal wastewater treatment systems.

In 2013, 1.1 million plastic particles per square kilometer were found in Canada’s five Great Lakes, with the highest concentration found in our own backyard – Lake Ontario.

In December 2015, the United States Senate unanimously passed a bill banning companies from using microbeads in their products. The Canadian federal government is currently developing similar legislation.

It’s also important to remember that pharmaceuticals should not be flushed or disposed of in garbage or green bins.

In December 2015, I had the pleasure of hearing presentations by Greenwood College's Grade 8 Class on how microbeads affect our water. As Chair of Public Works, I was very impressed by their research and hard work.

In December 2015, I had the pleasure of hearing presentations by Greenwood College’s Grade 8 Class on how microbeads affect our water. As Chair of Public Works, I was very impressed by their research and hard work.

Pharmacies in Toronto have a “take back” program and will safely dispose of any hazardous waste.