Anything not in the City’s right-of-way is not part of the study and is the responsibility of the private property owner.


A diagram of a property with a house showing that everything not in the City's right-of-way is the responsibility of the private property owner
Homeowner vs. City responsibilities


A diagram of a building showing that anything not in the City's right-of-way is the responsibility of the private property owner
Building owner vs. City responsibilities

City Responsibilities

This study will look at improvements to the sewer and drainage system to be made within the City’s right-of-way or City property, such as parks and ravines.

Flooding issues may be the result of any upstream or downstream system overloaded capacity, bottlenecks and/or constraints. Upgrades are aimed at improving the overloaded system upstream or relieving the system downstream of the flooding location. These system upgrades will improve areas on adjacent streets and this is why works are not planned for every street.

Potential improvements may include building:

  • Upsize existing or add new storm and sanitary sewers.
  • Underground storage facilities.
  • Inlet control devices (to slow the drain of rain into the sewer system).
  • Additional catch basins (square grates on the side of the road) in low lying areas.
  • Seal sanitary manhole covers.

Unfortunately, the solution is not always as simple as making the pipers larger. The challenge includes selecting which pipes to use, how big to make them and how it will affect other residents. Other constraints can include space availability, conflicts with existing or proposed future infrastructure, basement elevations, pipe depth and environmental impacts. How quickly and how much rain falls varies greatly, and therefore, is impractical to design a pipe system that captures it all.

City Council approved funding priority and availability is also a factor in implementing these sewer system upgrades.

Resolving City Issues

Our streets are designed to carry stormwater flows that exceed the capacity of the storm sewer. Temporary ponding on streets is expected during major rainstorms. If the road has not drained two hours after the rain has stopped, residents are asked to contact 3-1-1 (details in the sidebar).

Property Owner Responsibilities

Each property owner is responsible for the operation and maintenance of drainage systems on private property. Flooding may be caused by private property issues, including:

  • Lot grading.
  • Driveway drainage and private property catchbasins.
  • Foundation drains in the basement or underground parking garage.
  • Sump pumps and backwater valves.
  • Clogged drains due to private tree roots or items poured down the drain, like fats and grease.
  • Cracks or leaks in your home foundation, basement walls, windows and/or doors

In these cases, sewer system upgrades would not lead to flooding on your property. Instead, fixing these property owner issues may resolve the issues you are experiencing.

Resolving Property Owner Issues

Protecting Properties from Flooding

Property owners are encouraged to hire their own licensed plumbers to investigate private property issues.

Property owners can help protect their properties from basement flooding by installing sump pumps and/or backflow valves. To cover this work, the City offers a homeowner subsidy of up to $3,400 per home for eligible applicants.

Reporting Flooding Incidents

While it is not mandatory for you to report instances of flooding or sewer grate blockages to the City, it is recommended that you contact 3-1-1.

City staff will review the problem and attempt to determine the source(s) of the flooding and include solutions if a system deficiency is found.

Flooding Caused by a New Housing Development (e.g. Condos, Infills, etc.)

All new housing developments must meet City standards to provide for sufficient stormwater drainage management before being approved.

For concerns on local developments, please contact 3-1-1 (details in the sidebar) at any time to find out the local City Planner’s contact for more information.

Flooding Caused by a Structure Built by my Neighbour

If you suspect illegal sewer connections or yards built to drain stormwater to your property, you can contact the City’s By-law Enforcement by contacting 3-1-1 (details in the sidebar).