Toronto's Municipal Code, Chapter 681, Sewers, helps to control the quality and quantity of substances discharged into both the sanitary and stormwater sewer systems. Under the by-law, a building's downspout(s) are required to be disconnected from the City's combined sewer system and/or storm sewer system. During heavy rainfall, the sewers become overloaded, increasing the risk of basement flooding and releasing polluted rainwater into our local waterways.
All property owners are responsible for complying with the by-law requirements. Under the by-law, property owners may also make an application to the General Manager of Toronto Water for an exemption from the requirements of the by-law, if the disconnection of a downspout would create a hazardous condition or is not technically feasible.
What to consider before applying for an exemption
Before applying for an exemption, property owners are encouraged to make every effort to disconnect their downspouts from the City's sewer system. This may include relocating one or more downspouts and/or re-grading eavestroughs, as well as correcting the slope/grading on your property.
How to apply
To apply for an exemption from the by-law, property owner(s) are required to complete and submit the Mandatory Downspout Disconnection Exemption Application, which includes submission of a property sketch. A sample application and property sketches are provided for assistance.
If a building's downspouts will be disconnected in the near future, there is no need to complete this application.
Does submission of an application guarantee that an exemption will be issued?
No. Several factors will be considered in the review of an exemption application. They include (but are not limited to):
- Options for the relocation of one or more downspouts.
- Ability to mitigate hazards and/or correct grading.
- Compliance with other municipal by-laws and/or statutory regulations.
What happens after you submit the application for an exemption?
- City of Toronto staff will review your application to ensure that it is complete.
- If there is information missing you will be notified in writing and the incomplete application form will be returned to you to resubmit.
- A completed application will be reviewed to determine which, if any, downspouts are eligible for exemption from the by-law. City staff may inspect your property to verify the information provided.
- Applicants will be notified in writing of the decision to grant or deny an exemption for each connected downspout.
The General Manager reserves the right to revoke an exemption previously issued where any information provided is misleading or inaccurate, or when property and/or building conditions change. For example, the property's landscaping is significantly modified or the roof is re-built.
For more information on the Mandatory Downspout Disconnection Program, contact 311.
Submit your completed application to:
City of Toronto
Mandatory Downspout Disconnection Program
PO Box 15266
STN BRM B
Toronto, ON M7Y 2W1