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December 2, 2011
Toronto Water's winter-wise tips for residents
Winter, with its colder temperatures and snow, is just around the corner. Here are a few tips the City of Toronto is providing to help you get ready for the wintry weather.

• Turn off the outdoor water supply and drain taps before the first freeze to prevent pipes from bursting, which can waste water and cause damage.
• Insulate pipes that are most susceptible to freezing, especially near outer walls and in crawl spaces and the attic.
• During especially cold weather, consider leaving a tap open enough for a trickle of water to continuously move through pipes that might be vulnerable to freezing.
• Clear debris from eavestroughs and downspouts.
• Seal window wells and fix any cracks in basement walls, because cracks can lead to leaks.
• Keep rain and snow away from the building's foundation.
• Clear roadside leaves and other debris off sewer grates near your home to ensure snow melting during winter thaws can drain freely into the sewer.
• Clear snow from around fire hydrants to keep them visible and accessible to Fire Services and Toronto Water personnel.
• Avoid piling snow around a fire hydrant or throwing it onto the road when shovelling the driveway and sidewalks.
• Disconnect your downspouts from the sewer system.

A bylaw (Municipal Code, Chapter 681, Sewers) that makes it mandatory for property owners to disconnect their downspouts from Toronto's sewer system is currently coming into effect across the city in three phases. Mandatory disconnection started in the central area of Toronto on November 20 and will apply to other parts of the city on a multi-year schedule that is detailed on the web (link is below).

Disconnecting downspouts helps reduce the risk of basement flooding and the release of polluted rainwater into local waterways. Where disconnection is not technically feasible or would create a hazard, you can apply to the City of Toronto for an exemption. More information about downspout disconnection is available at

For more information about all the winter tips, visit or call 311.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.7 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Media Contact
Cheryl San Juan
Senior Communications Coordinator



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