And now a word from our city…

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The deadline for property owners in Toronto’s central area to disconnect their downspouts from the sewer system is this Sunday, November 20.  Downspout disconnection is an important step to reduce the risk of basement flooding and release of polluted rainwater into local waterways.

Downspout disconnection is mandatory across the City of Toronto but deadlines for compliance are being phased in between November 2011 and December 2016. This first deadline applies to houses in the central Phase 1 area of the city where storm water and sanitary sewage are combined into a single pipe.  Downspouts, before they are disconnected, carry rainwater directly into the sewer system, which can overflow causing flooded basements and polluted waterways.  Disconnected downspouts, directed onto a lawn or garden, allow rainwater to percolate into the ground naturally.

During the summer, Phase 1 property owners received an information package notifying them of the need to comply with the bylaw. More information, including a map of the three phases, disconnection tips, Frequently Asked Questions, a video, and the Exemption Application, is available on the Toronto Water website at

Disconnection in the Phase 2 area is required by December 3, 2013 and in the Phase 3 area by December 3, 2016.

Bylaw exemption

Property owners who have considered all their options and find that disconnection is not technically feasible or could create a hazardous condition can apply to the City for an exemption by completing a Mandatory Downspout Disconnection Exemption Application.

Financial assistance

Financial assistance is available to reimburse the costs of labour and/or materials for performing downspout disconnection work, up to a maximum of $500, for low-income seniors or low-income persons with a disability who meet the criteria.

Property owners can disconnect their downspouts on their own or hire a City-licensed and experienced eaves trough contractor to do the work. Overall, downspouts must be disconnected safely and properly.

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