Top Tips for Spring

springSpring has finally sprung! And with it comes spring cleaning, gardening and spending more time outside. Here are some helpful tips for gardening, washing your car, and preventing basement flooding.Gardening

  • Disconnect your downspout (it's mandatory, where feasible) and use the rainwater to water your grass and gardens.
  • No extra watering required during the spring, the rain is enough.
  • Sweep sidewalks and driveways clean instead of using a running hose.
  • Start planning your water-efficient, natural garden using native plants and trees. Learn more about native plants and flowers:

Basement Flooding

  • Disconnect your downspouts that empty into the City's sewer system and direct the rainwater to your lawn and garden or into a rain barrel. Learn more at
  • Clear eavestroughs and downspouts of debris.
  • Increase the amount of green space on your property. This beautiful addition to your home will help absorb rain water, protecting your basement and local waterways from excess stormwater and flooding.
  • Ensure the ground is sloping away from your home's foundation walls.
  • Seal window wells and fix leaks in basement walls and around windows.
  • Install a back-water valve and a basement sump pump. Homeowners can take advantage of City subsidies of up to $3,400 per property to assist with the cost of installing certain flood protection devices.
  • Be sure to maintain back-water valves and sump pumps according to the manufacturer's directions.
  • Be nice to your pipes, don't pour cooking fat and grease down the sink, and don't flush wipes. Disposable wipes of any kind (even those that say flushable) should go in the garbage -- never down the toilet. These wipes do not break down the way toilet paper does so can get stuck in pipes causing sewer backups which can lead to basement flooding. To learn more

Car Washing The dirt on cars can contain toxic chemicals, heavy metals, oil and grease. When you wash a car in your driveway or on the street, that dirty water runs into the storm sewers and straight into local waterways, contributing to water pollution and impacting Lake Ontario's water quality.To avoid having dirty water run into the storm sewer system, consider these options for washing your car:

  • Use a commercial car wash facility (automatic or coin). These facilities are required to follow a set of practices determined by the City, including treating wastewater and discharging it into the sanitary sewer system where it will receive further treatment.
  • Dispose of the wastewater into the sanitary sewer. By using a pail, washcloth and only a small amount of water, and then wiping the car dry, the waste water can be contained in the bucket and disposed of into the sanitary sewer through a laundry sink or toilet. Once in the sanitary sewer system, the water will go to a City wastewater treatment plant.
  • Find a location where the wastewater won’t flow into the storm sewer such as a gravel surface where the wastewater can be absorbed.
  • All of these options will help protect public health and aquatic environments from the harmful effects of dirty water entering the storm sewers.To learn more

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