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Bylaws related to drainage

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The storm drainage system is a network of drains, pipes and ponds designed to channel storm water directly to our rivers. Everything residents wash down the storm drains ends up in our rivers.

Prohibited material

It is an offence to allow any prohibited material into the Storm Drainage System. Examples of prohibited materials include: soil, waste, animal waste, fecal matter, cooking oils, greases, gasoline, motor oil, transmission fluids, solvents, paint, cement, sawdust, yard waste, pesticides, biomedical waste, hazardous waste, soaps, odorous materials, detergents and water from hot tubs.

Vehicles must be washed at a car wash and not on a road, an alley or a driveway.

Drain hot tubs and swimming pools directly into the wastewater drain located in the basement of your residence. This ensures that pool/hot tub water does not enter the storm sewer system. Further information can be found in the Wastewater Bylaw.

Directing storm drainage

Downspouts and eaves troughs must not terminate within 2 metres of a surface drainage facility (unless located in a side yard) or a street, which includes alleys and lanes. Further information regarding directing of downspouts can be found in the Community Standards Bylaw.

Surface drainage facilities

It is a requirement to keep surface drainage facilities on private property (known as "Overland Drainage Right-of-Way" (ODRW) including swales and catch basins/drains) clear of any soil, silt, yard waste or any other matter that may obstruct, restrict or prevent the flow of water. Buildings or structures cannot be constructed or placed on or over the surface drainage facility. If a fence must be built over the facility, there must be at least 6 inches (15 cm) of clearance between the facility and the bottom of the fence.

Use of storm drainage

The use of any storm drainage for activities such as construction or irrigation purposes is prohibited without the written consent of the Director of Resources.

Fines for violations of these regulations range between $75 and $3,000 for the first offence.

Related bylaws

The Drainage Bylaw works in conjunction with the Lot Grading Bylaw and Community Standards Bylaw to ensure appropriate water use and drainage in and around your property.

Learn more about the Drainage Bylaw’s regulations, including frequently asked questions. You can also find more details about what the bylaw means to homeowners or what the bylaw means to businesses and industry.

Lot Grading Bylaw

Learn more about the Lot Grading Bylaw’s regulations, including frequently asked questions.You can also find a detailed chart, including information on grade slip and minimum grades on our Lot Grading Tolerance Guidelines page.

Additional information

Original copies of these bylaws are available at the City Clerk's office. More information can be found in the Drainage brochure, Activities on and around your property brochure.

For other water-related bylaw information, visit Bylaws Related to Water or Bylaws Related to Stormsewers.

Filing a complaint

How to file a complaint and what happens to it

If you know of a bylaw infraction and would like to report it to Animal & Bylaw Services, please call 311 (from within Calgary) or 403-268-CITY (2489) (from outside Calgary).