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Water drainage bylaw for homeowners

Below you will find highlights from the Drainage Bylaw that are specific to homeowners. This bylaw ensures appropriate water use and drainage for our stormwater system.

You can also find more information in our Drainage Bylaw frequently asked questions and our Drainage Bylaw brochure.

What the new Drainage Bylaw means to homeowners?

Prohibited Materials

It is an offence under the drainage bylaw to allow any prohibited material to enter the storm drainage system. Some examples of prohibited materials are:

  • Soil
  • Sediment
  • Cooking oils
  • Grease
  • Water from hot tubs
  • Soaps
  • Detergents
  • Gasoline
  • Motor oil
  • Solvents
  • Paint
  • Pesticides
  • Sawdust
  • Grass or hedge clippings


In order to protect City infrastructure, the Drainage Bylaw requires downspouts to end at least two metres away from any roadway, including alleys, lanes and sidewalks. Downspouts must also not drain directly onto streets or alleys. The new Bylaw requires that downspouts end no closer than two metres away from any street, lane, alley or sidewalk.

Surface Drainage Facilities

The Bylaw requires that homeowners keep surface drainage facilities such as swales, free of obstructions. Many of the swales you may come across are made of concrete and run across the back of your property. If a fence must be built over a swale, six inches (15 cm.) of clearance is required between the swale and the bottom of the fence.

Please help protect our city and environment. If you need more information, or see someone violating the Drainage Bylaw, call 311.

Lot Drainage

A lot is a property intended for development. Lot drainage is any aspect of grading, constructed elements, or landscaping that direct stormwater runoff on a lot (from rain, hail or snow) to flow overland from the property. Good lot drainage directs stormwater runoff away from permanent structures (homes and garages) to landscaped areas where runoff can soak into the ground, and along a drainage path to the stormwater system. For more information on lot drainage and what you can do if you have lot drainage issues, please read the homeowner's guide to lot drainage.