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For Questions Contact:
Andrew Neely |
Job Title
Drainage Superintendent
aneely [at] southwestmiddlesex.ca
Mauro Castrilli |
Job Title
Public Works Manager
mcastrilli [at] southwestmiddlesex.ca

If you are a landowner and have concerns with excess water on your property or need to improve the drainage on your agricultural land, you should contact the Drainage SuperintendentThe most common drainage matters fall under drain maintenance and drain construction.  The Drainage Superintendent can help determine which applies to you situation after discussing the matter with you and visiting your property.

Drain Maintenance

Drainage works may be completed as maintenance if an existing drainage report can be used,  The following works may be covered under maintenance. 

  • Brushing of banks
  • Bottom cleanout
  • Culvert repairs/replacement
  • Bank erosion control
  • Catch basin cleanout and repairs
  • Tile repairs and flushing

For more information including required application forms for Drain Maintenance please see the OMAFRA Drainage Information page for the general public and contact our Drainage Superintendent for further assistance.

Drain Construction

Drainage works that require a new engineer's report may include the following:

  • Installation of a new drain
  • Installation of a new culvert
  • Drain realignment
  • Change of use or subsequent connection
  • New assessment schedule

For more information including required application forms for Drain Maintenance please see the OMAFRA Drainage Information page for the general public and contact our Drainage Superintendent for further assistance.

Drainage work costs

Both repairs to drains and the construction of drains are paid by the property owners who are assessed on the applicable drainage report(s).  Costs are billed to the property owner(s) after the repair or construction has been completed. 

  • Amounts over $500.00 are invoiced to property owners with the option to finance over a period of time
  • Amounts under $500.00 are collected on the tax roll

The Agricultural Drainage Infrastructure Program (ADIP) is run by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMFRA) which offers a one third grant agricultural grant to eligible farmland properties to help with the cost of drainage maintenance and capital projects.  

Tile Drainage

Installing tile drainage is a very common land improvement practice among farmers in Ontario. Corrugated plastic tubing, clay and concrete drain tile are installed beneath the surface of agricultural land to drain excess water from the crop root zone. The benefits of tile drainage for crop productivity, farm efficiency and even for reducing environmental impacts have been studied and are generally well known to farmers.

Full details about the tile drainage program in Ontario are available on the OMAFRA Fact Sheet.  Please contact us to initiate an application for tile drainage.

Drainage on your Property

Maintaining proper drainage can help ensure that water flows safely from the walls of your home or other buildings on your property and into the municipal storm water system.  When downspouts are connected underground to the sanitary sewer system, the high flow of relatively clean storm water coming off the roof can cause the sanitary sewer system to overflow.  Sanitary sewer overflow can potentially cause sewer back up and basement flooding.  If you have ever had that happen, it is not pretty.  The excess flow of water can also overload the wastewater treatment plant causing increased costs to deal with the excess flow.  Those costs are then passed along to the customers as rate increases and nobody likes rate increases.  

It is important to know that property drainage is the responsibility of the landowner so take a look at your system to see if you are in compliance with proper roof drainage/water drainage in general.

Here are a few things that you can do to improve the drainage on your property:

  • Watch where water goes on your property:
    • the best time to learn about drainage on your property is when it is raining;  watch where the water goes and where it collects.
  • Check lot grading and downspouts:
    • The ground around your house should slope away from the building and other properties.  Roof downspouts should extend two meters away from your foundation and away from your neighbour's property.
  • Keep eavestroughs and drains clear:
    • Keep eavestroughs, downspouts and ditches or storm drains on your property clear of leaves and other debris.  If these get blocked, water can start to collect instead of draining and may cause property flooding.
  • Disconnect your roof downspouts:
    • A downspout is the vertical pipe used to carry rainwater from your eavestrough to the ground.  Your home may have several of these pipes directing water from your roof.  Some older homes may have roof downspouts connected to the sanitary sewer - these should be disconnected.  
    • You can disconnect downspouts to reduce the risk of basement flooding if you have a safe place to discharge this water.  Diverting roof downspouts onto your lawn or garden at least two metres (six feet) away from your foundation should allow storm water to flow away from your foundation onto gardens, landscaped areas and lawns.  Be sure to divert roof water away from neighbouring properties, driveways and sidewalks to avoid property flooding and ice buildup.
    • safely disconnecting your downspouts can:
      • reduce flow of water next to your home's foundation and reduce the risk of basement water infiltration/flooding
      • provide a free source of water for your lawn and gardens if you direct the roof water flow away from the foundation and/or if you use a rain barrel system
      • keep the water out of the municipal sewer system which saves the homeowner extra costs that are passed on by the municipality
    • how to disconnect a downspout:
      • A plumber can help if you feel this is not something that you are comfortable with;  if you do wish to take this on you will require tools such as a hacksaw, needle-nose pliers, tape measure, screwdriver, sheet metal screws, downspout elbow and extension, cap for standpipe, splash pad
      • measure the downspout 23 cm (9 in) from where the downspout enters the sewer connection
      • cut the downspout with the hacksaw 
      • cap the spot where the downspout entered the sewer connection to keep water out
      • insert the elbow onto the downspout and secure it
      • add an extension or splash pad if you wish to divert water further from the foundation - that's the bulk of it!
      • Note:  you can also cut the downspout a bit higher if you are choosing to add a rain barrel to collect rain water for lawn and gardens
  • Try green infrastructure
    • Green infrastructure is an environmentally friendly approach to managing storm water that is designed to mimic nature.  There are lots of different ways you can incorporate green infrastructure on residential or commercial properties.
      • Residential:
        • Rain barrels - you can place a rain barrel at the end of the downspout from your roof to collect storm water for your lawn, garden or plants on your property.  If you do have a rain barrel next to your foundation, overflow hoses should be directed at least 2 metres/6 feet away from foundations.  In the fall disconnect from the rain barrel and divert water flow away from foundation at least 2 metres/6 feet
        • Soak-away pits  - also known as a dry well, is an underground pit filled with stones  and lined and covered with landscaping fabric.  This helps storm water soak into the ground faster.  Grass and gardens can be planted over a soak-away pit - note that it is recommended that this be located at least 3 metres/9 feet from your foundation
        • Rain garden - plant in areas that collect storm water and that is in a relatively flat location away from buildings and trees and at least 1.5 metres/5 feet away from neighbouring properties.  How to build a rain garden can be found at https://trca.ca/news/complete-guide-building-maintaining-rain-garden/ 
        • Permeable pavement surfaces -use porous concrete and asphalt or pre-cast paving stones that allow water to drain into the ground
      • Commercial:
        • Large scale rainwater harvesting and collection - this is just like collecting water in a rain barrel but on a larger scale.  There are a variety of design and installation options for cisterns and storage tanks.  The water can be used for irrigation on your property or even for flushing your toilets.  Contact a licensed professional service to install large cisterns - it will also require municipal approval.
        • Bioretention facilities - this is the process of removing contaminants and sediment from storm water runoff and are basically excavated areas that collect storm water runoff, slowing the flow of water and allowing some of the water to soak into the soil.  These areas may include native plantings, amended soils or other features that enhance the capture of pollutants and will have an overflow for heavy rains.
        • Soak-away pits (dry wells), infiltration chambers and trenches - these are not recommended where storm water runoff quality is polluted.  Infiltration chambers are large, plastic, open-bottom devices with perforated sides.  They are generally located beneath parking lots or other impervious areas and temporarily store storm water runoff and slowly release it into the ground.  Infiltration trenches are long and narrow and are often installed  alongside or beneath walkways, sidewalks and narrow patches of land between buildings where there is no basement area.