A municipal drain is a designed system to move water. The municipality is responsible for the construction of the drainage systems and their maintenance and repair.

Municipal drains can be ditches or closed systems, such as pipes or tiles buried in the ground. They can include dykes or berms, pumping stations, buffer strips, grassed waterways, storm water retention ponds, culverts, and bridges. Municipal drains are mainly in rural agricultural areas.

Finding a municipal drain 

You can find City municipal drains on our drainage map.

Municipal Drains Map

Through the Drainage Act the City may recover maintenance costs from property owners in the watershed of the drain, where each parcel within the watershed has a proportional cost. If you receive notification of payment required for maintenance works, you may request a copy of the bylaw and related engineer's report. 

Contact us to find out more information about municipal drains that may affect your property.

Request a compliance letter 
Before buying a property, you should find out how municipal drains may affect it. You may be billed for work that occurred before you bought your property. Make sure to request a compliance letter through your purchase of sale.
Cleaning and maintaining a municipal drain
Contact the City if the municipal drain affecting your property needs maintenance. The City will investigate but may not be able to schedule maintenance right away. For example, if there is a beaver dam in the drain, the beavers must be trapped before the dam can be removed. The City may have to issue a tender to hire a contractor to complete the work if our equipment cannot handle the maintenance.
The purpose of a municipal drain
Most municipal drains improve the drainage of private land. They also remove water collected by roadside ditches, residential lots, institutions, industrial lands, commercial lands and other properties in rural areas. They are a vital component of the local infrastructure. Without drains, many areas of the province would flood regularly and there would be reduced production from our agricultural land.

How are drains created?

Municipal drains are created under the Ontario Drainage Act and have three key elements: 

1. Petition for Drainage Work
A petition for drainage work is submitted to the Drainage Superintendent and if the need for drainage work is there, Council may appoint an engineer to complete a report to identify the solution to the drainage problem and how the costs will be shared. 
2. Engineer's Report
The engineer's report is temporarily adopted by by-law. Appeals to the report can then occur. After all appeals are settled, Council passes a by-law adopting the engineer's report, giving us the legal authority and responsibility to build the drain.
3. Maintenance
Once the drain has been built, the maintenance becomes part of the City's infrastructure. 

See the Ontario Drainage Act for more information.

Want to learn more? 
Engineer's Reports 
The City identifies municipal drains through the municipal bylaw that adopts an engineer's report. These reports have plans, profiles and specifications with the location, size and depth of the drain. They also include how costs are shared among property owners.
 Supporting Documents
Notice of Appeal Forms