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Norton Engineering Inc. is Canada's national sewer expert.


Barbara A. Robinson, M.A.Sc., P.Eng., a professional engineer specializing in all aspects of sewer systems, established Norton Engineering Inc. in 2015.  Norton conceived of and brought to fruition the first two national sewer documents in Canada, “Reducing the Risk of I/I in New Construction” (2019) and “Developing an Efficient and Cost-Effective I/I Program” (2021), by Standards Council of Canada. Norton has studied the BUILDING CODES extensively, since 60% of I/I occurs on the private side - engineers need to understand the Codes. See "Building Code Regulations and Engineering Standards as they Relate to I/I in Sanitary Sewer Systems", Norton, 2018, which contains dozens of efficient and cost-effective best practices, included gaps in the Codes that are not protective of I/I.

Norton has produced dozens of guidelines, papers, presentations, etc. on all aspects of the design, construction, inspection, testing and acceptance of sewer systems. Barbara has become fluent with building codes in Canada as they relate to private side sewers (50% of the total length of sewers in our systems) and is constantly advocating for improvements to reduce I/I risk. Barbara is solicited to author, contribute to, or review most provincial and national I/I and urban flood protection documents. She is constantly contacted by media, residents, contractors, developers, insurers, and municipal, regional, provincial and federal government representatives for sewer advice and input. She is followed by sewer experts from across North America and around the world.

Norton speaks frequently and widely to a variety of lay audiences, teaching them about their sewer, how to maintain it, and how to reduce the risk of flooding at home, while benefitting the whole City sewer system.



Environmental Science & Engineering
October 2023

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This spring, Norton made the incredible discovery that women’s public washroom stalls are not required to contain trash cans, per the National Plumbing Code (NPC) and the Ontario Building Code (OBC). Women’s user requirements were not taken into consideration when the Codes were written. That means that literally tons of menstrual products are being flushed because we have no choice while menstruating. This wreaks havoc with our sewers, sewage pumping stations, WWTPs, and the environment. Read all about it here, along with Norton's efficient and cost-effective solution.

Norton on TVO's the Agenda

Norton talks with Steve Paikin of the Agenda, about private side sewers and how residents can reduce their risk of flood substantially, while at the same time protecting City sewers, pumping stations and wastewater treatment plants. 

Norton introduces the new "Sewers are Not Trash Cans" program to Steve. See below. This concept is a game changer for sewers.

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The white box contains clean paper bags - it is NOT a trash can!

On this CTV spot, Norton explains to residents that women's washroom stalls do not contain trash cans, so that menstrual products (and flushable wipes and incontinence products) are being flushed out of necessity. This is substantially increasing the risk of flooding for all, and the costs of operating our sewer systems. This material must be sent to the landfill, and when we flush 

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Environmental Science & Engineering
June 2023

In this article, Norton presents some of her best practices for reducing private side I/I (these are all new). The new national sewer standard seed document, "Developing an Efficient and Effective I/I Program" (Norton & ICLR, 2021), emphasizes how essential a private side I/I program - 60% of our I/I occurs on the private side. 

This article contains practical, efficient and cost-effective solutions to private side I/I, developed since the standard was written.

HOT OFF THE PRESS: Sewers are NOT Trash Cans

Norton's research has uncovered an astounding reality (Spring, 2023).

Women's public washroom stalls do not contain trash cans (they are not required per the Plumbing Code in Canada). This means that women, when away from home, are flushing all sanitary products by necessity. That is a lot of ragging. Men and women may also be flushing "flushable" wipes when away from home, for the same reason. NB, flushable just means that the product can pass through your toilet. They are a disaster for sewers and the primary cause of fatbergs.

Norton's best practice recommendation is that municipalities immediately start to installing trash cans in all women's and men's toilet stalls, and educate the public with a sign on the back of every stall, explaining why this is so egregious. For the cost of a sign ($20) and a trash can, the return on investment is made the first time a call to a plumber is averted. Removing this material from sewers will immediately reduce flood risk from blockages, formation of fatbergs, pump station failures, screenings trucked to landfill, and the discharge of deleterious material to the receiver for combined systems (e.g. Toronto, Hamilton). 

Meanwhile, Norton is working towards getting the National Plumbing Code changed, and fast. Women also need sinks in ~30% of the stalls, so we can deal with menstrual products privately. Contact me if you'd like to participate in the Code Change Request.

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Norton has developed these 5" by 7" by 1/8" stall signs made of vinyl applied to 3mil of aluminum. We simply add your City logo, and start attaching them inside all stalls using epoxy or glue. $20. each. Not suitable for outdoor use. Order them today by contacting Norton directly; 50 sign minimum.

The name "Norton" is synonymous with sewer workers. Listen to our theme song from "The Honeymooners".

Norton's extensive expertise in sewers stems largely from the fact that I go into sewers, constantly. And, I have become fluent with the Building and Plumbing Codes in Canada, since 60% of the leakage occurs on the private side, governed by the Building and Plumbing Codes.

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