In an effort to reduce the amount of polluted rainwater that gets into our waterways and, ultimately, Lake Ontario, Toronto City Council instituted a mandatory downspout disconnection program in the early 2000s.
Downspouts are the pipes that lead from your eavestroughs either into the ground to storm water sewers, or into your yard. They carry away the rainwater and snowmelt that runs off the roof of your home.
The reason for the mandatory disconnection is that many areas of the city built before the 1960s are serviced by ‘combined’ sewers, which carry both raw sewage and storm water runoff. In cases of heavy runoff, combined sewers can become overloaded and allow untreated sewage to enter our waterways.
The mandatory removal program has been rolled out in three phases, each phase relating to a different part of the city. In the first phase, which covered most of the oldest parts of the city, downspouts were required to be disconnected by November 20, 2011. The next oldest parts of the city were covered by phase two of the program and their downspouts had to be disconnected by December 3, 2013. The final phase three of the program, which covers the remaining parts of the city, requires that downspouts be removed by December 3, 2016.
You can check the City of Toronto’s map of the areas affected by each phase of the downspout disconnection program to see when your downspout should be disconnected.
The homes affected by phase three, which must be done this year, are generally in the furthest eastern, western and northern parts of the city, including Scarborough, North York and Etobicoke.
Disconnected downspouts are either redirected, or removed entirely and replaced with a new downspout, to carry the water runoff onto your lawn or elsewhere on your property instead of into the sewer system.
In addition to keeping our waterways cleaner, downspout disconnection can reduce the chances of your basement being flooded due to backed up sewers.
While handy homeowners who feel capable can do their own simple downspout disconnections, anyone who wants to make sure it’s done right should call a professional roofing company, like Chouinard Bros.!