Municipal Drains

New Reports Fact Sheets

Michener Drain Baseline Report

Michener Drain Report May 7, 2020

Beaver Dam Baseline Report

Beaver Dam Drain PIC 1 Presentation
November 19 2019

Skelton Drain Report 2019

Skelton Plan and Profile

Engineering Report for Schihl Drain
March 2019

Wignell Drain Baseline Report

Young & Hopf Wagner Drain Plans

Young & Hopf Wagner Drain Report


So...What's a Municipal Drain?

Duties of a Landowner Under the Drainage Act

Top 10 Common Law Drainage Problems Between Rural Neighbours

Understanding Drainage Assessments


What is a municipal drain?

As described by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, a municipal drain is a system to move water. It is created pursuant to a bylaw passed by the local municipality. The municipality is responsible for the construction of the drainage system and future maintenance and repair. Costs may be recovered from the property owners in the watershed of the drain.

Municipal drains are identified by municipal bylaw that adopts an engineer's report. These reports contain plans, profiles and specifications defining the location, size and depth of the drain, and how costs are shared among property owners.

Most municipal drains are either ditches or closed systems, such as pipes or tiles buried in the ground. They can also include structures such as dykes or berms, pumping stations, buffer strips, grassed waterways, storm water retention ponds, culverts and bridges. Municipal drains are primarily located in rural agricultural areas.

What makes municipal drains different from other forms of drainage systems is that they are municipal infrastructure and the municipality is responsible for their management.

How do I find out if it is a municipal drain?

The City of Port Colborne has a drainage superintendent to work with rural agricultural land owners and to manage the municipal drains. The City of Port Colborne’s Municipal Drains can be found on the drainage map of Port Colborne below.

To find out more information about municipal drains on your property, or for which you are being assessed, requests can be made to the City’s Drainage Superintendent and copies of the bylaw and engineer's report can be made available for you. (Note: there will be a fee for photocopies.)

The engineer's report defines how a drain affects your property, including:

·        location of the drain;

·        watershed of the drain;

·        size and shape of the drain;

·        working right-of-way;

·        your share of drainage project costs.

Before purchasing a property, it is recommended that you investigate how municipal drains may affect it. Municipalities have the right to accumulate the cost of maintaining a drain for up to five years or $5,000. That means you may be billed for work occurring before you owned a property unless a compliance letter is requested of the City, through your purchase of sale.

What is the purpose of a drain?

Municipal drains have been a fixture of rural Ontario’s infrastructure since the 1800’s. Most municipal drains were constructed to improve the drainage of agricultural land by serving as the discharge point for private agricultural tile drainage systems. However, they also remove excess water collected by roadside ditches, residential lots, churches, schools, industrial lands, commercial lands and any other properties in rural areas. They are a vital component of the local infrastructure. Without drains, many areas of the province would be subjected to regular flooding and reduced production from agricultural land.

How are drains created?

Municipal drains are created under the authority of the Ontario Drainage Act R.S.O. 1990 (Provincial Legislation) and have three key elements. Firstly, the drain is requested by the community through petition and involves a number of public meetings to address landowners’ concerns and desires. If the need for drainage work is there, the municipality requests an engineer’s report to identify the proposed solution to the drainage problem and how the costs will be shared. Secondly, after any appeals have been dealt with, the municipality passes a by-law adopting the engineer’s report, giving the municipality the legal authority and responsibility to construct the drain. Finally, once the drain has been constructed, the maintenance becomes part of the municipality’s infrastructure. The municipality, through its drainage superintendent, is now responsible for repairing and maintaining the drain.

How do I initiate a cleanout or maintenance of an existing municipal drain?

Contact the Drainage Superintendent if the municipal drain affecting your property requires maintenance.  Investigations will be completed to determine the severity of the actions required.  Not all maintenance can be scheduled immediately, ie.) if a beaver dam is noticed in the drain, the beavers must be trapped before the dam is removed or the dam will be built again with in a few days.  If not already in the process of tender, a tender will have to be issued to hire a contractor to complete the work if City owner equipment is not sufficient enough to handle the scope of the maintenance.


Municipal Drain Network


Drain Examples

   Recently Cleared Drain
 Well Functioning Outlet  Recently Cleared Drain
 Keeping the Buffer Strip  
 Keeping the Buffer Strip  Desparate Need for Maintenance

Drainage Superintendent

Alana Vander Veen
905-835-2901 ext. 291