Under this program, City of Toronto staff monitor outfalls, which are the point where storm sewers exit into the city’s waterways. This is done during dry (regular) weather flows, and includes:

  • Inspection and sampling of every storm sewer outfall discharging into Lake Ontario and Toronto’s watercourses (e.g. river/creek).
  • Frequent monitoring of Priority Outfalls (areas of known, intermittent concern).
  • Active investigation of Priority Outfalls to locate and eliminate the source of contaminated flows.

Any contamination is traced to locate the source for immediate corrective action by the contaminator.

Contaminated flows can be caused by:

  • Cross-connection, where the sanitary and storm hook-ups are improperly connected causing the discharge of wastewater into the storm sewer.
  • Spills to a catch basin (square grates on the road).
    • Only rain and melted snow are allowed to enter a catch basin.
      • Catch basins are connected to storm sewers that drain directly into rivers, streams and the Lake.
    • Anything other than stormwater is considered a spill.
    • If you encounter a spill, please call 311 immediately.