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Downspout discharge violation - Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

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Water from your downspouts is likely draining illegally. It is against the City of Winnipeg Lot Grading By-law to drain water from your downspouts onto a neighbouring property, lane, boulevard, sidewalk, street or boulevard.

If your neighbours' downspout drains the same as yours, your neighbour has probably received a notice as well. When someone reports a by-law violation, we inspect the surrounding properties. We send notices to anyone we are aware of who is draining water from their downspouts illegally.

If you ignore the notice, you are disobeying the By-law. We could take the following action:

  • do the work ourselves and add the costs to your property tax bill,
  • charge you for any of our costs resulting from your illegal drainage (e.g., for placing sand or removing ice to make public areas safe, for repairing damages to the sidewalk, street or lane), or
  • prosecute you in Provincial Court.

Check your own lot grading to make sure that your lot is graded properly. Talk to your neighbour, who may not be aware of the problem.

Many homes in older areas had their downspouts connected to the sewer system. Flooding would often occur during a heavy rainstorm causing the sewer system to back up. Downspouts must now be disconnected from the sewer system to allow rain water to flow onto the ground.

  • Make sure that your property is graded properly and that you have proper slope away from your foundation.
  • Check the drainage along the property line to see if there are any high spots that might be blocking drainage or low spots that are holding water.
  • Contact an expert such as a professional engineer or Manitoba Land Surveyor to survey the elevations of your property. You could also contact a landscape architect or landscape contractor to provide suggestions for improvements.
  • Contact 311. Our lot grade inspector will examine both properties and recommend improvements.

Yes. If we receive a report, we will inspect the property and issue a notice of by-law violation if necessary. The owner must then correct the violation by the deadline stated in the notice.

Contact 311 if you have any other questions about downspouts and downspout discharge.

Last updated: February 24, 2014

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