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Water drainage bylaw for homeowners

Below you will find highlights from our drainage bylaws for homeowners. These bylaws ensure correct water use for our stormwater system.

You can also find more information in our Drainage Bylaw FAQ and our Drainage Bylaw Brochure.

Reporting a bylaw infraction

If your neighbour is violating the drainage bylaw, contact 311.

Have the following information ready before calling:

  • Your name and address
  • A primary and alternate phone number
  • The address and exact location of the property for which you wish you register a complaint.
  • A brief and concise description of the complaint.


The drainage bylaw requires downspouts end at least two metres (6.6 feet) away from any sidewalk, road, pathway, alley, lane or surface drainage facility. This prevents ice forming on sidewalks and lanes in the winter.

Downspouts should be pointed toward the front or back of the property so that runoff can drain to the lane or street.

Water from eavestroughs, downspouts or hoses cannot be directed onto neighbouring properties. Refer toCommunity Standards Bylaw 5M2004 (page 24).

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

Surface Drainage Facilities (Swales)

The drainage 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.

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 thehomeowner's guide to lot drainage.