Downspout Disconnect Newsletter November 2008 by gjjur4356


COMMUNITY NEWS FROM THE TOWN OF MARKHAM                                                                 NOV. 2008

                            SANITARY SEWER
                                                                Markham is working to ensure that residential downspouts
                                                                are not connected to the sanitary sewer (waste water)
                                                                system, which can overflow and cause backups in
                                                                basements during rainstorms. Downspouts should instead
                                                                be disconnected from the system entirely (however they
                                                                may be connected to the storm water system). Markham
                                                                has a by-law that prohibits discharge of storm water and
                                                                roof run-off into sanitary sewers.

                                                                Testing in the pilot program area is complete.
                                                                Of 760 homes:
                                                                •   6% have downspouts incorrectly connected to the
                                                                    sanitary sewer
       During the pilot program, crews blew smoke into the
       sewer to reveal which houses were letting rainwater      •   33% have disconnected all downspouts
       flow into the sanitary sewer system. Crews also poured
                                                                •   56% have downspouts connected to the storm sewer
       water into the eavestroughs as another method to check
       for a sanitary sewer connection.                         •   5% require further investigation.

            PILOT AREA             Dalmeny Rd.

                                           Meadowview Ave.
                                                                                                 Tr t D

                                                                                                   ib on

                                                                                                      ut R
                                                                                                        ar ive
                                                                                                          yo r
                Yonge St.

                                           PILOT PROGRAM BOUNDARIES

                                                GRANDVIEW AREA
                                                                                                                 Elspeth Pl.

                                                   (760 Homes)

                                                            Steeles Ave.
WHAT WE HAVE DONE TO DATE                                                 DISCONNECTION SUCCESS STORIES
•       A public meeting was held on June 19, attended by 44              More than two hundred homes already have all their downspouts
        residents of the pilot porgram area, Waterworks staff and         disconnected prior to the pilot project.
        Members of Council
•       Every downspout was located and identified as: already             Several homeowners have been very proactive. They have not
        disconnected, or noted as connected below ground and              only reduced the flows to the sewer system, but they have also
        therefore possibly connected to either the sanitary sewer or      helped improve their own properties and saved money at the
        the storm sewer                                                   same time.
•       Smoke testing of the sanitary and storm sewers to verify
                                                                          The rain water is directed from rooftop to a grassed surface, to
        downspout connection was completed in late August
                                                                          lawns, shrubs and gardens.
•       Flow testing was conducted on selected homes to verify
        the downspout connection that smoke testing was unable
        to confirm.
    •     Homeowners who require disconnection will receive a
          Disconnection Notice letter
    •     Notified homeowners are encouraged to disconnect
          unlawful downspout(s) from the sanitary sewer by June 30,
          2009, after which time, by-law enforcement may commence
    •     Notified homeowners must advise Town that disconnection          Using a rain barrel can reduce surface runoff, help conserve
          is complete and request inspection of the work                  municipal drinking water and save money at the same time.
    •     Notified homeowners may apply for financial assistance            If you have a look at your roof, you will see what a large surface
          after completing the required disconnection and                 area there is. It is estimated that 30 to 40 cubic metres of rainwater
          inspection of the work                                          from a rooftop can be harvested annually per household by using
    •     Program evaluation and report for Council and residents         rain barrels. That’s a lot of water.
          in fall, 2009.

                                     Step 1              Step 2                           Step 3               Step 4

         Be sure that the slope of the ground allows water to flow away from all structures. Direct the storm water to a storage device,
         lawn or garden. It is recommended that disconnected downspouts be extended to discharge water at least 1 metre from any
         structure’s foundation (including your neighbour’s) or public sidewalk and 2.5 metres from retaining walls.

         Things to consider
           • Repair all cracks in walls, floors, doors, windows               •   Ensure eavestroughs are clean
             and foundations                                                 •   Ensure the ground slopes away from the house for a
           • Ensure downspouts are disconnected and drain properly               minimum of 1 metre
             away from foundation walls                                      •   Obtain professional advice and service from a
           • When disconnecting downspouts remember not to drain                 knowledgeable and licensed roofer, eavestrough
             directly onto neighbouring properties, lanes or sidewalks           contractor or civil engineer.

    prohibits discharge of storm water and roof runoff into the sanitary sewers.
Clean your eavestroughs twice every year                            Basement windows and doors
                                   Eavestroughs and downspouts      Take measures to ensure that rain water and surface run-off
                                   collect water off the roof and   don’t enter basement window wells, casements and stairways.
                                   direct it away from the house.   Make sure the ground around the foundation slopes away from
                                                                    the house. You can also enclose basement window wells to
                                   Eavestroughs and downspouts      keep rain water from collecting.
                                   can be blocked by leaves and
                                   dirt. Blocked eavestroughs
                                   and downspouts may overflow
                                   and damage can occur to your
                                   roof, soffits and foundation.
                                   Rainwater can enter your

                               Downspouts should be directed
                               as far away from the building
                               wall and foundation as possible.
                               Once the rainwater is directed
                               out onto the ground, be sure
                               that it has a place to go. Don’t
let it run back towards the house. Keep sideyard water flow
paths open, and catchbasins free of debris.

Keep storm water catchbasins free of blockage

                                                                    One of the houses in the pilot program area has made sure water does
Please keep street catchbasins clear of dirt and debris.            not run into window wells.

Stop run-off                                                        Naturalize
Catch the rain that lands on your property. Store the water for     Use trees, shrubs and gardens to restore the natural water
later use in a rain barrel or rain harvesting system, or simply     cycle on your property. Replace hard surfaces with permeable
allow it to soak into your lawn or garden. The more surface         surfaces to allow rainfall to soak into the ground. Trees are
water you can retain and harvest on your lot, the less rain water   nature’s most efficient water managers.
will get into our sanitary and storm sewer system.
           Connected downspouts
           cause direct inflow to
           sanitary sewers during
           rain storms. Disconnecting
           downspouts is one step to
           ensure that rainwater from
           rooftops does not get into
           the sanitary sewer and
           cause backups.

                                Pipe to the house

                                                                           Sanitary sewer main

                                                     Sanitary sewer has       Flow rate in the sanitary sewer main increases tremendously
                                                     low flow rate during      during storms. Depending on rainfall intensity and duration,
                                                     dry weather.             sanitary sewer main can be overloaded by rain water.

WHAT WE LEARNED                                                                    LARGER STUDY NOW ON-GOING IN
Basement flooding has occurred in many parts of the Town of                         THORNHILL AREA
Markham during larger rain storms. The potential of basement                       Downspouts are only one of the factors related to the basement
flooding will never be eliminated, but we are working together to                   flooding issue. There are many pieces of the puzzle including:
reduce the frequency and severity of basement flooding and the                      stormwater management, sanitary sewer inflow and infiltration
resulting damage.                                                                  sources and quantities, age and condition of the sewer system,
The Downspout Disconnection Pilot Program has helped us:                           system deficiencies, climate change and changes in land use.
                                                                                   A thorough study is being carried out incorporating all these
   •       Identify downspouts that contribute roof drainage directly to           factors. Watch for upcoming communication from the Town
           the sanitary sewer                                                      regarding this study and the next steps towards flood protection.
   •       Identify other major sources of rainwater inflow and
           infiltration into the sanitary sewer system such as
           private drains                                                          CONTACT US
   •       Develop the most effective and efficient means
           of identifying properties with incorrectly                                 Town of Markham: 905-475-4862
           connected downspouts                                                       Help is only a phone call away
   •       Assist property owners with downspout disconnection                        Call us about:
                                                                                       • How to disconnect your downspouts
   •       Evaluate the effectiveness of the program, and the
                                                                                       • Materials required
           reduction in sanitary sewer flows
                                                                                       • Financial assistance
   •       Provide information that may guide future phases                            • Sewer back-up investigations
           of the program.                                                            Waterworks staff will be happy to help you.

           This newsletter is printed in Markham on 30% recycled paper,     
           meeting environmental standards.
30% Post

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