1. Why is it important to disconnect downspouts from the sanitary sewer?
    Sanitary sewers are designed to carry household and commercial wastewater not rainwater or snowmelt runoff.  Connected downspouts cause direct inflow to the sanitary sewers during heavy rains.  Disconnecting downspouts is one step to help ensure that rainwater from rooftops does not get into the sanitary sewer and cause backup, increased flow and basement flooding.

  2. What are the benefits of disconnecting downspouts from the sanitary sewer system?
    The benefits of disconnecting downspouts from the sanitary sewer system include:
    • Reduced sanitary overflow during heavy rains.
    • Reduced risk of basement flooding.
    • Reduced energy and municipal water system and treatment plant costs.
    • Reduces risk of releasing polluted rainwater into the local waterways.
    • Improved water quality of lakes, rivers and streams.
    • Replenish and protect ground water.

  3. What is a downspout?
    A downspout is a pipe that carries rainwater/snowmelt from the roof of your home or eavestrough down to ground level.

  4. What is a downspout connection?
    A downspout connection is the point at which a downspout enters the ground. This typically indicates that the downspout is connected to a pipe that goes to the sewer system that runs under or next to your home and eventually to the main sewer under the street.

  5. How do I know if my downspout is connected to the municipal sanitary sewer system?
    The City will carry out preliminary property investigations within each program area to identify all downspouts that go into the ground.  After the completion of this investigation, testing will be scheduled and performed to verify whether or not the downspout is connected to either the sanitary or stormwater sewer system.  This testing will include sanitary & storm sewer smoke testing.

  6. Will I be notified before the property investigation and the testing is carried out in my area?
    The City of Markham will distribute notification letters to impacted residents approximately one week before the start of property investigations and testing.

  7. Will I be charged for the property investigation or the tests?
    Residents will not be charged for any of the property investigations or testing work done by the City.

  8. Do all downspouts on my property that go into the ground need to be disconnected?
    No, only the downspouts that the City of Markham confirms are directly connected to the sanitary sewer system will need to be disconnected.  A Notice of Disconnection will be distributed to the specific residents indicating which downspouts need to be disconnected.

  9. What is downspout disconnection?
    Downspout disconnection is the process of cutting your existing downspout (approximately 9 to 12 inches or 23 cm to 31 cm) above ground level. An elbow and an extension are then added to the downspout in order to divert rainwater and snowmelt onto the ground away from the home. The abandoned drain pipe is then capped. A splash pad may also be attached at the end of the downspout extension to prevent erosion in garden areas and help direct the flow of water.

  10. If I receive a Notice of Disconnection, do I have to disconnect the downspout?
    Yes, if you receive a Notice of Disconnection from the City, you are obligated to disconnect the downspout.  The City’s Sewer By-Law # 2014-71 prohibits the discharge of roof drainage water to the sanitary sewer system.

  11. If I choose not to disconnect is there any penalty?
    If you receive a Notice of Disconnection and do not comply with the requirements of the Sewer By-Law # 2014-71, the City may use its authority to enforce compliance.

  12. Do I need a permit to disconnect my downspouts?
    No, a permit is not required to disconnect your downspouts.
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