Water and Wastewater

Pouring Water Image
For Questions Contact:
Mauro Castrilli |
Job Title
Public Works Manager
mcastrilli [at] southwestmiddlesex.ca
Rob Cole |
Job Title
Public Works Supervisor
rcole [at] southwestmiddlesex.ca

Southwest Middlesex water provides clean and safe drinking water for residents and businesses within Southwest Middlesex including Glencoe, Wardsville, Appin and Melbourne.  Water samples are taken and tested regularly from our water system to ensure that water quality meets or exceeds provincial standards.  We also provide wastewater treatment services to the urban areas known as Glencoe and Wardsville.

The council, managers and employees involved with the municipal water system are all responsible for understanding, implementing, maintaining and contributing to the continual improvement of the Drinking Water Quality Management System.

Report a Water or Sewer Emergency

To report a water or wastewater issue, please call  Ontario Clean Water Agency at 519-435-6539.  This number operates 24-hours, 7-days a week.


Before you dig you are required to call Ontario One Call at 1-800-400-2255 which is a one step process for all service locates.

Water Services and Annual Reports

The Southwest Middlesex Distribution System services the communities of Melbourne, Appin, Glencoe, Wardsville and rural areas of Southwest Middlesex receiving water from the West Elgin Distribution System. In addition to the watermains, valves, and fire hydrants, the Southwest Middlesex Distribution System consists of a reservoir, a high lift pumping station, re-chlorination facilities and elevated storage facilities.   Our water source comes from Lake Erie.

The Ontario Clean Water Agency has been accredited as Operating Authorities of the Southwest Middlesex Drinking Water System, which is a requirement of the Municipal Drinking Water Licensing program. In order to meet accreditation requirements, OCWA has a Quality and Environmental Management System. The Quality and Environmental Management System is documented in the systems Operational Plan. A copy of the most current Operational Plan can be made available upon request.

Furthermore, all annual reports for the water systems are available upon request.

Water Meter Information

If you need a water meter:

  • water meters for new builds or replacement are obtained from the municipal office.  
  • New build water meters are a part of the building permit process.  
    • meter is installed by the owner's contractor and is inspected by the municipality during the building permit process.
    • the cost of a water meter is collected during the permit process - current fees are found in our fee and service by-law.
  • Replacement meters for an old meter/water meter that is not working can be requested through the municipal office at 519-287-2015.  
    • municipal staff arranges the replacement of the meter through a contractor.
    • where meter is malfunctioning and has not been damaged, the meter is replaced at no charge.
    • where meter has been damaged, the cost of replacement will be billed to the homeowner.
Private Water Wells

If you have a well on your property, you are responsible for it and you must follow specific rules for maintaining and, if necessary, abandoning a well to help protect the safety of your water and the groundwater resource.

Water wells are under rules established by the Province of Ontario including:

  • licensing individuals and companies who construct a well
  • choosing a location for a new well (i.e., siting)
  • constructing a well
  • maintaining a well
  • abandoning a well (plugging and sealing it)
  • reporting well activities (e.g., completing and submitting well records)

Full details on wells, including locating wells on your property can be found on the Province of Ontario website.

You can also contact the Middlesex-London Health Unit at 519-663-5317 or visit the MLHU website for information about well water quality, including how to test the quality of your private well water.

Wastewater Services and Annual Reports

Wastewater treatment is crucial for public health and the environment.  Southwest Middlesex owns and operates two wastewater treatment facilities.  The largest system is in Glencoe and the other system is in Wardsville.  

Wastewater is the liquid and solids that come from sinks, drains and toilets.  These materials flow through the underground pipes to the wastewater treatment plant where the materials are treated under specific regulations as set by the Province of Ontario and Canada.  Our systems are monitored to ensure that they meet or exceed the standards set by the upper levels of government.

SWM Waste Water Treatment Plant Annual Reports: Operational Plans and Annual Reports are available upon request.

Please also see the section "Drainage on your Property" under Drainage to learn about the affect of rain water on the storm water system.

Private Septic Systems

Most rural homes use a septic system - a sewage system that usually consists of a tank and a leaching bed, also sometimes called a tile bed. A septic system is privately owned, and by law you are responsible for its safe operation, maintenance and repair.

A septic system is like any other equipment in your house. If you operate and maintain the system responsibly, it will work well and should last a long time. A properly functioning septic system provides a safe, reliable way of treating your household wastewater. If you don't maintain your septic system, you could be endangering your family's health, the integrity of the natural environment as well as nearby water sources. If something goes wrong with your septic system, the replacement cost can be up to $25,000.

Here are some things you can do to maintain your septic system:

  • Regular septic system inspections are important for the proper maintenance of your sewage system and can identify on-going or potential problems which can help to ensure a long, useful lifespan for your sewage system
  • Know the location of your tank and bed and have the tank contents pumped out when necessary (generally every 3 to 5 years)
  • Avoid putting food, compost or grease down the drain
  • Conserve water and try to spread water use over the course of the week – including laundry.
  • Avoid excessive use of anti-bacterial soaps, bleaches and harsh cleaning products
  • Avoid driving over it and do not construct anything (e.g. pools, driveways and sheds) on or near any part of the tank or bed.
  • Avoid putting paints, solvents, pesticides and other toxic chemicals in your system; use recycling or hazardous waste collection programs for these substances.
  • Keep trees and shrubs away from the leaching bed.
  • A properly installed and maintained septic system should avoid contamination of nearby wells. A private well should be tested for bacteria at least 3 times per year.
Water Conservation Tips and Septic/Sewer Maintenance Information

The highest water uses in a home tend to be toilets, laundry, showers and water used for cooking and drinking.  Be aware of how much water you use so that you can monitor if there is a leak somewhere in your system.

  • Tips for reducing water use at home (fix.com):
Maintenance and Water Saving Tips
  • Check all pipes, hoses and fittings for leaks - even a small leak can add up quickly.
  • It is easy to check your toilet for leaks.  Add a few drops of food colouring into the toilet tank but do not flush.  If after a few minutes the food colouring seeps into the toilet bowl, you have a water leak in your toilet. 
  • Human waste and toilet paper are the only things that should be flushed. 
  • Do not flush personal use wipes, personal hygiene products, paper towels, fat or grease or other household waste items down the toilet as these activities can lead to sewer/septic backups and flood basements.  Grease blockages and non-flushable products are the most common causes and costly fixes for both municipal sewers and private septic systems.
Drinking Water Quality Management System (DWQMS) and Financial Plan

All municipally-owned water systems are required to implement a Drinking Water Quality Management System under the Safe Drinking Water Act.  The current version of the Operational Plan is available upon request.

Southwest Middlesex is required by the Ministry of the Environment to provide the financial plan for both the drinking water and wastewater systems.