Municipal Works Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I build a structure or a fence within the limits of an easement?

    No. Homeowners have the right to use and enjoy the lands within the easement, as long as the enjoyment does not interfere with the rights of the City for the easement. Homeowners may not, without the prior written consent of the City, build or place any buildings, structures, fence foundations, pavement or other obstructions of any nature whatsoever that would prevent the City from any of its rights according to the purposes of the easement. If any obstructions have already been placed within an easement of the City, we may access and remove any obstructions and shall not be responsible for any damages to the homeowner property within the easement, when necessary for the City to do so.Categories: Easements, Municipal Works

  • Can I fill in the ditch along my backyard?

    It is not recommended. The ditches along backyards are swales, constructed for the purposes of overland drainage of properties towards catch basins. If they are filled, or impeded in any way, it may cause flooding of neighbouring properties upstream. The Common Law can be referred to in these instances where private property disputes arise as a result of one neighbour blocking or no longer willing to accept the drainage of another. The filling-in of swales or ditches within subdivisions, may subject you to required permits form the City.Categories: Ditches and Swales, Municipal Works

  • Can the City provide me with a survey of my property?

    No. The City does not hold surveys of individual lots on file, however we can provide you with a copy of the Plan of Subdivision which would show general dimensions and distances of the lots within the subdivision. We can not provide a location of the property bars for your lot. This service must be solicited by a private licensed Ontario Land Surveyor's firm.

    Categories: Drainage, Municipal Works, Surveys

  • Can the City recommend which Plumber I should hire to carry out the WRAP work?

    No. The City will not recommend one plumber over another. It is up to the homeowner to hire the plumber at their sole discretion and take it upon themselves to confirm that the plumber they hired is a licensed professional.Categories: Municipal Works

  • Data for West Nile Virus in the Niagara Region

    Please check the Niagara Region's website for updated statistical information of confirmed cases of West Nile Virus. 

    Categories: Municipal Works, West Nile

  • Do I need a Building Permit for the WRAP Program?

    Yes. You must get a building permit in order to be eligible for WRAP funding. The homeowner should take out the permit. Visit the Building Department at City Hall to start the building permit process. The property owners can designate their contractor to apply for the permit on their behalf. If you have been approved for WRAP funding, the cost of the Building Permit for that work will be covered under the program. Bring proof of your approval for WRAP funding to show the Building Department staff when you apply for your permit. A copy of the Building Permit must be included with the final invoice in order for the subsidy to be processed.Categories: Municipal Works, WRAP

  • Does a person infected with West Nile Virus develop life-long immunity to future infection by the virus?

    The Public Health Agency of Canada reports that most Canadians who have been bitten by an infected mosquito have developed some antibodies to West Nile virus. However, their ability to fight off the virus depends on their overall health, and the ability to fight off the disease does decrease with age.Categories: Municipal Works, West Nile

  • Does the city conduct any pre-condition survey's before starting construction?

    Pre-Construction Inspection This is carried out by City staff. It includes the area of the City's right-of-way only. The City inspector takes photos/video of areas in the City's right-of-way that may be disturbed during construction. These are kept for our records and are to be used during reinstatement. Pre-Condition Survey This is conducted by an outside organization which the contractor hires. The City will send homeowners a notice of construction along with an attached letter from the outside organization performing the pre-condition survey. This is so the homeowner is aware of the company performing the pre-condition surveys. It is up to the homeowner to contact this organization to set up an appointment. A representative will then come to your home and take photos/videos of the inside and outside of your property and note any existing issues. Taking part in the pre-condition survey is voluntary but it is very helpful should there be any damage to your house during construction.

    Categories: Construction, Municipal Works

  • Does the City offer free, annual sewer cleanings to homeowners?

    No.  Sewer clean out services are not free.  Our fees vary and are posted on the  Sewer Lateral page.


    However, at our discretion, the City may provide one (1) free video inspection of your private sewer lateral during regular hours (as posted on the Environmental Services page).  These inspections use a scope and are performed on an as-requested basis.  They may be postponed when staff are required to address higher priority situations (e.g. flooding and sewer lateral blockages).  


    If you're simply looking to reduce the risk of sewer backups, we've posted an Avoiding Sewer backups pamphlet.  You can also learn more about avoiding the common sources of sewer blockages.


     To request any service, please contact our Service Centre directly at 905-356-1355 (available 24/7).  For non-emergencies only, you can also email us at [email protected].

    Categories: Municipal Works, Sewer Lateral

  • Does the City sell water filtration equipment?

    No.  The City does not sell water filtration equipment and is not associated with any water filtration vendors, including door-to-door salespeople.  

    Ontario has banned door-to-door sales of water filters, making this activity illegal (as of March 1, 2018). Visit the Ontario News Release to read more about the ban and to see the list of other items this law applies to. Those with concerns can contact the Niagara Regional Police at 905-688-4111.

    Recent concerns brought to our attention claim door to door salespeople are selling water filtration equipment or requesting an inspection of your water lines indicating they are working in conjunction with the City of Niagara Falls or the Province of Ontario. 

    They are also requesting personal information on your utility accounts.  You are not required to provide access or information to anyone.

    Be advised the City has no association with the group, and does not support or sell water filtration equipment. If a City employee is required to enter your household, they will provide proper identification and will be driving in a vehicle clearly marked as The City of Niagara Falls.

    You are not required to provide access or information to anyone.

    Only City employees will be dressed in City uniforms, provide proper identification and drive clearly marked City vehicles.  

    If you have any concerns about City work, please contact Environmental Services at 905-356-7521 ext. 6322.

    For more information on our Water System, click here.

    Categories: Drinking Water, Municipal Works, Water Billing

  • Have the meters in Niagara Falls homes been accurate?

    There have been relatively few problems with the meters. In fact, the meters in homes probably under read by 3%. This is an allowable standard and is factored in when setting rates for water consumption.Categories: Municipal Works, Water Meter

  • How can I check for a leaky toilet?

    Go to the toilet tank and listen for running water. Place some food dye in the tank at the back of the toilet bowl and if the colouring makes it way into the bowl, providing no one used the toilet, then the toilet is leaking water. For more details view this brochure.Categories: Municipal Works, Water Meter

  • How can I improve the drainage on my property?

    Roof drainage can add a significant amount of water to a property. It is recommenced to direct all down spouts to the front yard, a sufficient distance away from the building foundation in order for the roof flows to drain out to the road way.Sump Pumps, which remove foundation drainage, sometimes are pumped outside to ground level. In this case it is again recommended for them to be discharged to the front yards, a sufficient distance away from the building foundation.If you are experiencing drainage issues in relation to a neighbouring property, approach your neighbour and inform them of the problem. It may help to inform them that there is a problem that they may not know about.Categories: Drainage, Municipal Works, Rear Yard Drainage

  • How can I reduce the pile of snow at the end of my driveway that the plow leaves behind?

    Try to pile snow on the right side of your driveway (when facing the road) if possible when shovelling. This helps reduce the amount of snow created by the snow plow at the end of your driveway.Snow plows have no place to push the snow except to the curb or shoulder of the road. Sometimes this happens just after you have finished shovelling. We appreciate that this can be frustrating however, we ask your cooperation in clearing the snow without placing it on the roadway. It is illegal to push snow from your property onto the street. If you hire a private contractor to clear your driveway, make sure the contractor does not push snow into the travelled portion of the roadway, or fill in the sidewalks.

    Categories: Municipal Works

  • How can I tell if I have a water leak?

    The easiest way to determine if there is a leak is to make sure all the taps are turned off in the house and that there is no water being used (including humidifiers, air conditioners and ice machine).Go to your water meter and if the red triangle located on the top of the meter is moving then there is a leak somewhere in the plumbing. This brochure will assist you.Categories: Municipal Works, Water Meter

  • How do I report graffiti/vandalism?

    Graffiti and other types of vandalism found on City property should be reported to our Municipal Service Centre.  You can call or email our staff 24/7 at (905) 356-1355 or [email protected].  

    If the vandalized property belongs to another agency (e.g. a utility company,  the Niagara Parks Commission or MTO), the matter should be referred to the property owner.

    Graffiti on private property may be referred to Property Standards By-Law 2.7.7, which states:

    Exterior walls and their components shall be repaired of vandalism or other damage, including defacements by paint, inscriptions or other markings as well as broken windows.

    Categories: Building, Clerks, Municipal Works

  • How do I report tree branches near or obstructing power lines?


    If the tree is on City property (including the boulevard in front of your house) please call the Municipal Service Centre at 905-356-1355.  Our phone lines are operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays.


    If the tree is on private property (your front or back yard, school yards, etc.), you should contact the utility company directly.  They will need the address or approximate location of the tree (e.g. nearest intersection or landmark), and your contact information.


     Hydro One  1-800-434-1235

    If you notice a tree that's interfering with our power lines, please call our hotline at 1-800-434-1235. Contact us if the tree poses a potential threat to human safety or meets any of these hazardous conditions: 

    • If the tree or branches are smoking, sparking or burning on a hydro line.
    • The tree is an immediate hazard to the line (split, leaning, hanging over, uprooted).
    • The tree is leaning on a hydro pole.
    • Do not attempt to prune or chop down a tree near lines yourself; a tree falling onto a power line could cause serious injury or death.

    Bell/Cogeco 1-844-225-5550 (24/7) 

    Telephone/Cable wires are easily confused with hydro wires.  Branches touching the wires are not a hazard, but if the insulation is also broken or damaged, service could be disrupted.

    NPEI (7447 Pin Oak Drive, Niagara Falls) 905-356-2681

    NEVER trim limbs or cut trees in or around power lines. Niagara Peninsula Energy Inc will be happy to connect you with a qualified, insured professional.

    Categories: Municipal Works, Trees

  • How long will my sump pump last?

    It depends on how often the sump pump is in use. The average sump pump lasts for 10 years but some sump pumps have been known to last for 20 years. Regular maintenance will extend the life of your sump pump.Categories: Municipal Works, WRAP

  • I don't know if my weeping tile is connected to the sanitary sewer. I don't know if I even have weeping tile at all. How do I find out?

    Please call the City at 905-356-7521 ext. 4212. Staff will book an appointment for a WRAP technician to visit your home and investigate your sanitary sewer service line for a potential weeping tile connection. There is no charge to the homeowner for this appointment. The appointment will take about 45 minutes. Please take the time learn more about the WRAP program and read the application terms and conditions ahead of time and feel free to ask any questions during this appointment.If you decide to participate in the WRAP program be sure to fill out an application form and submit it to the City's Engineering Department. Please be mindful that it may take up to 4 weeks to process your approval form.Categories: Municipal Works, WRAP

  • I feel that the City is responsible for the basement flooding in my home and I would like to file a claim. What do I do?

    The City of Niagara Falls Risk Management team investigates and responds to claims made against the City. Please click here to be re-directed to the claims process webpage.

    Categories: Municipal Works

  • I hardly use any water yet my consumption is high. Why?

    You may have a leak in your plumbing or a running toilet. Certain activities like doing many loads of laundry contribute inordinately to consumption rates.Categories: Municipal Works, Water Meter

  • I have installed a sump pump and a backwater valve but I still flooded. Why?

    Installing a sump pump and a backwater valve will reduce your risk but it is not a guarantee. You may still experience basement flooding. Some of the reasons you experience basement flooding are:- Ground water leaks through cracks in your foundation wall or basement window wells. - A severe storm where the volume of rain or snow melt overwhelms the capacity of the sewer. Property Owners should refrain from using water and plumbing fixtures during severe rainstorms since the flows may not be able to enter the sanitary sewer and may back up in the basement through floor drains, shower and low elevation openings. - Your back water valve is closed due to an impending sewer back up but the water in the house is running (taps, toilets, washing machines, dishwashers). Never run the water when the back water valve is closed. The valve will open up on its own once the water in the sewer recedes. Only then should you use your water as you normally would. You can look at your backwater valve to see if the flap is open or closed. Sewers may back-up due to damaged or plugged laterals or clogs in the main sewer. - Never flush anything down the toilet other than toilet paper. - Never pour grease down your kitchen sink. Please click here for more information on the effects of fat, oil and grease in the sewer system. - Your private lateral could be cracked or damaged. Replace your lateral to avoid tree roots from growing through the joints and cracks.- Sagging, broken or collapsed pipes can lead to build-up and blockages in the pipe.Categories: Municipal Works, WRAP

  • I live in a condominium development and the lights in the parking lot are in need of repair. Does this City repair these lights?

    Within the condominium property, if a street light is out or cycling or a pole is in need of repair this is the responsibility of the condo corporation.  Please contact your condo property manager or person responsible for handling property maintenance.

    Categories: Municipal Works

  • Is it the City's Contractor that installs the WRAP funded works?

    No. It is up to the homeowner to select and hire the contractor/plumber to perform the necessary work under the program. It is up to the homeowner to satisfy themselves and confirm that the contractor they hire is a licensed professional with the necessary certification to satisfy the requirements of the Building Permit process. The City can, upon request, supply a list of plumbers that have attended Plumber Information Sessions put on by the City for the WRAP program and have a thorough understanding of the program requirements and limits.Categories: Municipal Works, WRAP

  • Is my neighbour allowed to construct a sidewalk on his property?

    Yes. Current construction techniques involve the cross-fall for the sidewalk. In other words, water is encouraged to gently run off the sidewalk surface to prevent the accumulation of water and ice could pose a slipping hazard. Generally this water is directed toward the side lot line where a gentle swale could be present. It is not uncommon for soil to have settled and/or consolidated over the years so it no longer conveys storm flows to the road. It is often thought that these trace amounts of water will cause flooding of adjacent lands. Many times both sides of a property line are in need of regrading.Categories: Drainage, Municipal Works, Sidewalk Drainage

  • Is there a by-law to restrict my neigbour from emptying his pool onto the swale?

    No. Flooding out a neighbour in this manner is a civil issue. Try talking to your neighbour to discuss alternative drainage options. Make notes and take pictures of the damages and make insurance claims if necessary. The City has no obligation morally or financially to rectify these types of civil matters.Categories: Ditches and Swales, Municipal Works

  • My neighbour has raised their grade, and it may affect or is affecting my property. Does the City have a By-law in place for this?

    No. The City of Niagara Falls does not have a By-law which would restrict a residential lot owner from re-grading their yards. However, if it is required, the City may provide technical assistance in order for a homeowner to deal with a current or potential grading issue.Categories: Drainage, Municipal Works, Rear Yard Drainage

  • My property was damaged due to construction, who do I contact to receive compensation?

    For damage to your property, home or vehicle due to construction please refer to the claims section of the City's web site.

    Categories: Construction, Municipal Works

  • Once I install a sump pump and a backwater valve can the City guarantee that I will never flood again?

    No. Installing a sump pump and a backwater valve will reduce your risk but it is not a guarantee. You may still experience basement flooding.Categories: Municipal Works, WRAP

  • Potholes - What causes potholes and how do I report them?

    Potholes are caused by the expansion and contraction of ground water that enters the ground under the pavement. Fluctuating temperatures in the winter season can create a perfect scenario for potholes.  When water freezes, it expands. When the ice melts, the pavement contracts and leaves gaps or voids in the surface under the pavement, where it weakens and cracks; causing potholes to form.

    Residents and motorists are encouraged to report potholes they find on City streets through a quick online form, located at The form allows people to provide information to staff, such as the closest street address, intersection and description of the pothole. You may also contact the Municipal Service Centre at 905-356-1355.

    City roads are routinely patrolled by Municipal Works staff. Potholes are repaired in accordance with legislated Provincial Maintenance Standards (timing of repair determined by the class of roadway, depth/size of pothole).

    Categories: Municipal Works

  • Private Property Trees - Can I trim a tree branch that overhangs onto my property?

    Here are some points to consider when dealing with trees on adjacent private property:

    1.       Whoever owns the tree is responsible for maintenance of the tree;

    2.       You cannot trespass onto your neighbour's property;

    3.       You cannot damage your neighbour's property (in this case a tree);  

    4.       You have the right to maintain your property in a safe condition;

    5.       In Ontario, a tree with a base growing on the boundary between two properties is common property between the owners of the two properties.  Therefore, if the tree has two owners both neighbours must agree to the maintenance of the tree.  These "boundary trees" are regulated by the Ontario Forestry Act Section 10 which makes it an offence to injure or destroy a tree growing on the boundary between adjoining lands without consent of the land owner.

    It is therefore best for property owners to come to an agreement between themselves with respect to trees overhanging property lines. If they are unable to reach an agreement with their neighbour and want to determine their legal rights, they should contact a lawyer. The act of pruning trees on neighbouring private property affects private property rights and is a civil issue between private property owners.  Trimming overhanging branches of a tree belonging to someone else is not usually an issue between neighbours. However, if trimming overhanging branches without permission contributes to the death of the tree the owner may be entitled to bring legal action against the neighbour that caused the injury. This is why communication and agreement ahead of any work is important.  

    The City has no jurisdiction with respect to such issues. It is recommended to discuss this matter with your neighbour and also ensure that all work is performed by a qualified expert.

    Categories: Municipal Works, Trees

  • Rodent Prevention and Control

    Whether you own property or rent, live or work in the City of Niagara Falls, everyone has a role in rodent prevention. Rodent proofing your home and property is the most important factor to prevent and control these pests. 

    Please visit the Rodent Prevention and Control webpage for more information on the Residential Rodent Control Rebate Program.

    If you are experiencing rodents inside your home please contact Niagara Region Public Health at 905-356-1538 or visit  the Public Health webpage.

    Visit for local pest control services. View rodent prevention tips at the Government of Canada website.

    Categories: Building, Municipal Works

  • The City is doing construction near/on my yard and I have a Sprinkler System. What do I do to make sure it isn't damaged?

    Any sprinkler heads or piping on City property must be marked by the home owner prior to the start of construction. The Contractor will not be responsible for any sprinkler systems that have not be identified.

    Categories: Construction, Municipal Works

  • There are a lot of vibrations coming from a nearby construction zone, what should I do to protect my property?

    Construction activities will generate vibrations through homes and buildings. Please ensure you have had the pre-construction survey completed. This will make dealing with any damage that occurs due to construction much easier for the home owner and the City.Categories: Construction, Municipal Works

  • There is a lot of noise due to construction by my home. What can I do to stop the noise?

    Unfortunately construction activities generate noise. Working hours will be kept from 7 AM to 6 PM while most people are at work. Saturday work may be necessary and the same work hours will be followed.Categories: Construction, Municipal Works

  • There is construction near my home, and it bringing up a lot of dust. Who should I contact about it?

    If you feel there is a lot of dust due to the construction, please mention this to the on site Inspector or call the Project Manager at (905) 356-7521 Ext 4211 or 4212. Please note, dust suppressant is usually put down at the end of the day.Categories: Construction, Municipal Works

  • There's a sewer in my back yard, what is it for and who is responsible for its maintenance?

    It is a catch basin, installed for the purposes of collecting overland drainage from surrounding properties through swales. The catch basin, and the pipe connecting it to the sewer in the road are maintained by the City typically through an easement, however the swale maintenance is the responsibility of the individual home owner.

    Categories: Drainage, Municipal Works, Rear Yard Sewer/Catchbasin

  • Through the WRAP program, can I get a backwater valve installed only?

    You are eligible for WRAP funding for a Backwater valve only if:-Your home has a documented history with the City of prior basement flooding (at least 2 within the last 5 years or 3 within the last 10 years), or-Your home is located within a flood prone area as designated by the City.The purpose of the WRAP funding program is to reduce the amount of rain water entering the City's sanitary sewer system that eventually gets treated at the treatment plant. A back water valve will help protect you from flooding risk, but it is the weeping tile disconnection that will help protect all your neighbours from a possible sewage back-up.Categories: Municipal Works, WRAP

  • What are the hours at Oakes Park?

    Oakes Park is open daily to the public from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m.  Washrooms open at 7 a.m.  The Grandstand remains closed for construction as of November 3, 2020 (expected to re-open in the Spring of 2021).

    Categories: Municipal Works, Park in the City, Recreation, Rzone

  • What can I do to decrease my water consumption?

    Use low flow shower nozzle. According to Environment Canada, a low flow showerhead can decrease one's consumption by 50% or more. Do not use the toilet to dispose of dry waste.Keep a daily log of how you are using water (i.e., lawn watering, car washing, how many times the toilet is used, how many showers are taken in a day and how much laundry is being done) and reduce the frequency if possible.Use a bucket with a sponge plus a trigger nozzle on the hose to wash your vehicle. Compared to running hose, you will save about 300 litres of water. Make sure you are doing a full load of laundry and the dishwasher is full when you use it.

    Categories: Municipal Works, Water Meter

  • What can I do to protect myself and my family from West Nile Virus?

    There are two ways to lessen the risk of mosquito bites for you and your family:

    1) Tips to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites:

    • When going outdoors use insect repellents that contain approved ingredients.
    • Wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants and a hat. Light coloured clothing is best because mosquitoes tend to be attracted to dark colours.
    • Make sure that doors and window screens fit tightly and have no holes that may allow mosquitoes indoors.

    2) Tips to eliminate mosquito breeding sites around your home:

    • Regularly (twice a week) drain standing water from items like pool covers, saucers under flower pots, recycle bins, garbage cans, wheelbarrows, children's toys, etc.
    • Remove old unused items from around your property (i.e. old tires) which have a tendency to collect water.
    • Change the water in wading pools, bird baths, pet bowls and livestock watering tanks twice a week.
    • Clean out eavestroughs regularly.
    • If you have a pond, consider installing an aerator to keep the surface water moving which will make the water inhospitable for mosquito larvae.

    By helping minimize and maintain potential breading grounds around your property that can hold standing water, you can help protect against the spread of WNV.

    For general inquiries about West Nile Virus:

    Call 905-688-8248, ext. 7590 or toll-free 1-888-505-6074, ext. 7590
    (Mon-Fri, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) 

    Categories: Municipal Works, West Nile

  • What do I do if I find a needle or syringe on City property?

    Call 905-356-1355 ext 6200 immediately to report the location of the item.  For your safety and the safety of City staff DO NOT attempt to handle or place the item in a garbage bin/bag.  Trained City staff will attend and safely dispose of the item.

    Categories: Garbage and Recycling, Municipal Works

  • What does the backwater valve do? How does it work?

    Backwater valves are also referred to as "backflow prevention valves" or backflow preventer valves". It is a hinged flap in the sewer pipe that only opens in one direction. It is oriented to be ordinarily open and allow wastewater to flow freely out of your house. However, if there is a back-up in either the sewer in the street or your sanitary service lateral, the flap will close preventing the wastewater to flood back into your basement. As such, a properly operating backwater valve will reduce the risk of basement flooding in your home. It should be installed in your basement at the exit point of your sanitary service lateral from the home or building. Any fixture or device that is located beyond, or downstream, of the backwater valve is not protected and is at risk of backing up with sewage. Currently there is only one type of backwater valve that is accepted by the Ontario Building Code. It must be a "normally open design" valve. A "normally open" design allows unobstructed sewage flow and allows cleaning tools to pass through the body. The valve is installed in-line on your sanitary service lateral complete with a pit or box with an access lid or hatch to allow for inspection and maintenance. It is not recommended that you cover, hinder or eliminate access to the backwater valve. Under the current terms and conditions of the WRAP funding program your plumber must install either a Mainline Fullport valve or Mainline ML-FR4 Backwater valve, otherwise the City will not reimburse the cost of the installation. Please click here for more information on the Mainline Fullport Backwater Valve. Please click here for more information on the Mainline ML-FR4 Backwater Valve.Categories: Municipal Works, WRAP

  • What else can I do to prepare for a flood?

    Visit the City's webpage for Severe Weather and Emergencies for more information on what you can do to prepare for a flood.The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) is an excellent resource for information and tips on reducing the risk of basement flooding. Please visit their website at for more information or to download their "Handbook for Reducing Basement Flooding."Categories: Municipal Works, WRAP

  • What is 26 Cubic Meters?

    One cubic meter = 1,000 litres. 1,000 litres = 220 gallons. At 220 gallons per meter, 26 cubic meters = 5,720 gallons.Categories: Municipal Works, Water Meter

  • What is a 100-year storm? Does that mean such a storm comes only once a century?

    Actually, no. A 100-year storm refers to rainfall totals that have a 1% probability of occurring at that location in that year. Encountering a 100-year storm on one day does not decrease the chance of a second 100-year storm occurring in that same year or any year to follow. In other words, there is a 1 in 100 or 1% chance that a storm will reach this intensity in any given year.Categories: Municipal Works, WRAP

  • What is a Ditch?

    Ditches are typically natural narrow channels, or channels dug into earth, used for the conveyance of drainage or irrigation of land.Categories: Ditches and Swales, Municipal Works, Rear Yard Drainage

  • What is a sanitary sewer service or sanitary lateral?

    A sanitary sewer service (or sanitary lateral) is the underground pipe that carries wastewater or sewage from private property to the City's main sewer. The property line is the delineating mark to determine what portion of the lateral is owned by the homeowner or by the City.Categories: Municipal Works, Sewer Lateral, WRAP

  • What is a Sewer Lateral?

    A sewer lateral is a pipe that is connected from your house to the City's sewer system located in the street. The sewer lateral pipe transfers all of the wastewater produced from your household into the City's sanitary sewer.Categories: Municipal Works, Sewer Lateral, WRAP

  • What is a sump pit?

    A sump pit is simply a hole in your basement or crawl space designed to collect water from your foundation drainage system. Once the water in the sump pit reaches a certain height, a flotation device attached to the sump pump is lifted and the sump pump turns on automatically, pumping the water in the pit away from your house. Once the level in the pit recedes down to a certain point, the flotation device sinks and automatically shuts off the sump pump.

    Categories: Municipal Works, WRAP

  • What is a sump pump and why is it used?

    A sump pump is a pump used to remove ground water that has accumulated in a collecting basin, or sump pit, commonly found in the basement of homes. Sump pumps will pump water accumulated in the sump pit up to the ground surface and away from your home. The sump pump discharge is to outlet onto the ground surface or be directly connected (where permitted) to the municipal storm drainage system.In older homes, some sump pumps may currently discharge to the sanitary sewer service, or sewer lateral. This practice violates City By-law No. 2010-61. The City of Niagara Falls urges homeowners to disconnect and eliminate any foundation or rooftop drainage connections from the sanitary sewer system. Many homeowners have inherited their sump pump configuration and do not realize that the pump discharges to the sanitary sewer. If you are unsure if your pump is discharging to the sanitary sewer then please call the City at 905-356-7521 ext. 4212. Staff will book an appointment for a WRAP technician to visit your home and investigate your sanitary sewer service line for a potential sump pump discharge connection.Categories: Municipal Works, WRAP

  • What is a Swale?

    Swales, although similar to ditches, are low valley-like intersections between properties, usually more moist and having more growth of vegetation than ditches. They are also used for the conveyance and retention of drainage and irrigation of land, however are usually located along the rear yards of properties.

    Categories: Ditches and Swales, Municipal Works

  • What is an easement, and what is it's purpose?

    An easement grants certain rights for specific purposes to someone other than the owner of the property over all or a portion of the property. In the City's case, easements over properties are usually taken for maintenance of City services (catch basins, sewers, pipes, etc.) typically along the side property lines from the rear of the lots out to the street. Normal widths of City easements in this case are 3.0m (10') centred on the property lines, however in some cases for specific needs, the easements may be larger and in different locations.

    Categories: Easements, Municipal Works

  • What is Larvicide and how is it used?

    The Niagara Region under the authority of the Medical Officer of Health conducts a program to control larval mosquitoes to prevent their development into carriers of the West Nile Virus. The Niagara Region determines where the high-risk areas are throughout the region. These areas include some storm drains and stormwater management ponds. The larvicide used is in the form of pellets which dissolve in water. This chemical is effective to kill mosquitoes in the early stages of their life. Storm drains are painted with a pink, white and blue dot to show it has been treated with larvicide. Exposure to this larvicide is not likely because the areas that are sprayed are inaccessible to the public. For more information visit the Niagara Region's website or call the Canadian Centre for Mosquito Management Inc. at 1-855-325-7035. The Canadian Centre for Mosquito Management focuses on the biological control of mosquitoes and the management of West Nile VirusCategories: Municipal Works, West Nile

  • What is the City doing to resolve the problem of its aging infrastructure?

    Unfortunately, 30%-40% of the City still has the dated combined sewers found, naturally, in the older sections of the City.The costs to separate all these combined sewers found, naturally, in the older sections of the City. The costs to separate all of these combined sewers is in the neighbourhood of $100 million.The City is moving forward with an aggressive plan to eliminate combined sewers, but the number of combined sewers dictates that this will be a long term implementation scheme.Categories: Municipal Works, Water Meter, WRAP

  • What is the difference between a storm sewer, a sanitary and a combined sewer?

    The city sewer system consists of storm sewers, sanitary sewers and combined sewers.

    Storm Sewers:
    - Collect rain water and snow melt from the surface of the land, streets and roofs and direct it untreated into rivers, lakes and streams.
    - It is only intended to carry unpolluted surface and groundwater drainage.Sanitary Sewers:
    - Designed to carry sewage to the wastewater treatment plant for treatment and disposal.
    - This includes the water from toilets, sinks, baths, and washing machines.Combined Sewers:- Collects sanitary sewage and storm water run-off in a single pipe system.
    - This type of sewer is no longer permitted in new developments, but can still be found in older areas.
    - Can cause water pollution problems due to combined sewer overflows when sewers become overwhelmed during a rainstorm.
    - The City of Niagara Falls invests capital funding into its infrastructure budget each year and is dedicated to removing combined sewers and replacing them with separate sanitary and storm sewer systems.
    Categories: Municipal Works, WRAP

  • What is the Weeping Tile Removal Assistance Program (WRAP)?

    The Weeping Tile Removal Assistance Program is offered by the City of Niagara Falls to provide funding for homeowners to disconnect their weeping tiles from the sanitary sewer system, and to install a sump pump and backwater valve.The current maximum amount of the funding available per application is $3,900 (including HST).Please visit the WRAP webpage for more information.Categories: Municipal Works, WRAP

  • What is Weeping Tile?

    Weeping Tile is also known as foundation drain.Weeping-tile is typically a perforated pipe underground drainage system for the foundation and basement walls of your home and is located adjacent to or below the foundation. Weeping-tile is primarily found on homes constructed since 1946 and on some homes prior. Weeping-tile connections to the residential sanitary sewer service were an accepted practice up until 1989.The City of Niagara Falls urges homeowners to disconnect and re-route weeping tile away from sanitary sewers or combined sewers.Categories: Municipal Works, WRAP

  • What is West Nile Virus?

    West Nile Virus (WNV) is a virus transmitted to people mainly through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes transmit the virus after becoming infected by feeding on the blood of birds which carry the virus. The mosquito then becomes capable of passing the virus to people and animals by biting them.It is estimated that fewer than 1% of mosquitoes in any given area are infected with West Nile virus and overall risk of being bitten by an infected mosquito is low. Although it is possible to be bitten by infected mosquitoes whenever West Nile virus is active, to date most human infections with West Nile virus have occurred during July and August, at a time when infection rates in mosquitoes have reached their peak.Categories: Municipal Works, West Nile

  • What kind of back-up does the pump have? What happens if the power goes out?

    Your sump pump would normally operate on electrical power (it is plugged into an electrical outlet). In the case of a power outage, it is strongly recommended that a pump with a back-up power source be in place. The WRAP program funds the supply and installation of your choice of either a battery operated or a water pressure powered back-up pump:- Battery operated back-up pump: Switches to the battery pump when the power goes out. - Water powered back-up pump: Powered by your local water supply instead of electricity and depends on your home's water pressure for pumping capacity.If you have an older model sump pump it is suggested that you install a back-up sump pump.Categories: Municipal Works, WRAP

  • What time does the City perform construction?

    Unfortunately construction activities generate noise. Working hours will be kept from 7 AM to 6 PM while most people are at work. Saturday work may be necessary and the same work hours will be followed.Categories: Construction, Municipal Works

  • What will happen if my weeping tile is connected to the sanitary sewer but I choose not to disconnect it?

    Please review City By-law No. 2010-61. If it is discovered that your weeping tile is connected to the sanitary sewer then your property will be included on file with the City and you may be required to disconnect it in the future or face possible fines.Categories: Municipal Works, WRAP

  • Where can I buy a new bulk water card?

    Bulk water cards may be purchased through the Water Department, located at our Municipal Service Centre (3200 Stanley Avenue).  For more information, call 905-356-1355 ext 6322.

    Categories: Drinking Water, Municipal Works, Water Billing, Water Meter

  • Where can I find information about Road Closures/Detours?

    Click here for Road Closure/Detour notices.Categories: Construction, Municipal Works

  • Where can I find more information about West Nile?

    More specific information on West Nile Virus is available at the links below:

    Categories: Municipal Works, West Nile

  • Where did West Nile Virus come from?

    It was first identified in the province of West Nile, Uganda in 1937. Since then it has been identified in Egypt, Asia, Israel, South Africa, parts of Europe and AustraliaCategories: Municipal Works, West Nile

  • Where should the sump pump discharge to?

    The sump pump should discharge to the front or rear yard onto your lawn and away from your foundation. Do not discharge the pipe onto driveways and sidewalks as this could create a slip and fall risk in the winter months.Categories: Municipal Works, WRAP

  • Who can I contact about having my weeping tile disconnected?

    You can contact the City of Niagara Falls, Infrastructure Section between the office hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to schedule an appointment to have your sewer lateral inspected.

    Phone: (905) 356-7521 Ext. 4211/4212 Email: [email protected]Categories: Municipal Works, Sewer Lateral, WRAP

  • Who do I contact to get the pot holes around a construction zone fixed?

    The City does instruct the Contractor to monitor the construction zone and address any pot holes or other hazards. If you notice any pot holes or other hazards on the road in the construction zone, please bring this to the attention of the on site Inspector or call the Project Manager at (905) 356-7521 Ext. 4211 or 4212.Categories: Construction, Municipal Works

  • Who do I contact when heavy construction trucks block traffic?

    Trucks will need to access the construction zone via the surrounding streets. The City will, at times, direct the Contractor to keep truck traffic off of certain streets. However, it is usually up to the Contractor to determine the best route for their trucks. If this is an issue, please speak to the on site Inspector or call the Project Manager at (905) 356-7521 Ext 4211 or 4212.Categories: Construction, Municipal Works

  • Who is at risk and what are the symptoms of West Nile Virus?

    Evidence shows that most people infected with the virus have no symptoms and do not get sick or have only mild symptoms. People with weaker immune systems and people with chronic diseases are at a greater risk for serious health effects. Symptoms usually appear 3-14 days after an infected mosquito bite.
    In mild cases there may be flu-like symptoms including fever, headache and body aches. Some people may also develop a mild rash or swollen lymph glands.
    For people with more severe illness, symptoms could include; headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, unconsciousness, tremors/convulsions, muscle weakness/paralysis. Anyone who has a sudden onset of these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.
    Any health questions regarding WNV should be directed to Niagara Region Public Health. The Niagara Falls Office can be reached at 905-356-1538.
    Categories: Municipal Works, West Nile

  • Who is responsible for clearing snow from community mailboxes?

    Canada Post is responsible for clearing snow around community mailboxes located along a municipal sidewalk in the winter months, in order to maintain safe access for their customers and employees. However, Canada Post is not responsible for removing any litter surrounding the mailbox or landscape upkeep. Canada Post will ensure that paths to the community mailboxes are cleared after significant snowfalls as quickly as possible. Canada Post tries to avoid choosing sites where snow removal will be an issue and take into account local traffic patterns to try to find sites that will be convenient to residents. For more information on community mailboxes visit

    Categories: Municipal Works

  • Who is responsible for maintaining sump pump and backwater valve equipment once it is installed?

    The homeowner is responsible for maintaining the backwater valve and sump pump. The City does not own this equipment and just like your furnace or water tank, it is your responsibility. Make sure you keep the Owner's Manual when the equipment is installed. It will have instructions on how to clean and maintain the equipment. Keep the manual in a convenient spot near the equipment so you can reference it when you need to. A flashlight nearby is handy too, especially in the event of a power outage.There are many videos on YouTube that show step by step instructions on how to maintain your backwater valve and sump pump. If you prefer not to perform the maintenance and check yourself, call a plumber or knowledgeable repair person.You can also visit the manufacturer's website for details.Backwater Valve MaintenanceThe Mainline Fullport Backwater Valve is available with a clear cover which may be used to inspect sewer drain performance during rainstorms.Backwater valves are mechanical devices sitting in a sewage environment so it is very important that you perform regular inspections. Always reference the Owner's Manual but to help you here are some key points:1.Remove the cleanout plug on the top of the valve and do a visual inspection2.Use a flashlight to properly see inside the valve body.3.Inspect for debris build-up on the body, gate and beneath the gate.4.If debris build-up is found remove it or flush it clean.Sump Pump MaintenanceSump pumps should discharge the water to the home's yard and not be hooked up to the sanitary sewer or discharge into a sink or other drain.Sump pumps may be used heavily or sit for months without use and it is a good idea to perform simple maintenance to keep it in tip-top shape so it is working properly when you need it the most. You should always refer to the Owner's Manual and hire a plumber or knowledgeable repair person if you prefer them to maintain your equipment. Here are some key points to help you:Recommend every 3 to 4 months or at a minimum once per year:Examine your sump pump:-First review the Owner's Manual or check the manufacturer's website or search by the model number of your sump pump.-Check the power cord and make sure the cord is connected to power.-Fill the sump pit with enough clean water to lift the flotation device and activate the pump. Run the sump pump until most of the water is removed from the pit and make sure it is working properly. Use caution: running the pump for more than a few seconds without water could cause it to burn out.-Makes sure the float is functioning and can lift to turn on the pipe when needed. Adjust the float if required.-If you have a battery back-up pump then unplug the pump and see if the battery back- up is triggered. Make sure that it is adequately powering the equipment. Plug it back in once you are sure it is adequately powering the equipment.Maintain your sump pump:-Schedule regular cleaning. Do not wait until your house floods to discover that your sump pump is clogged!-Unplug the pump before doing any maintenance to prevent electrocution.-Remove the pump from the sump. To do this you want to use a screwdriver to remove the pipe below the check valve so that you can remove the sump pump and lift it out of the pit. Place the sump pump over a large bucket and clean it and inspect it.-Remove any dirt, sand or debris that collects within the pump. -Push up on the check valve to release the water contained within. If the check valve does not release any water, it is either jammed or broken: call a plumber.-Remove the check valve completely and rinse it with warm clean running water. Be sure to remove any dirt or debris. Then reconnect the check valve to the pump.-Clean out the sump pit. Scoop out all dirt from the bottom of the pit. Some pits don't have bottoms so you may want to verify with a screwdriver that your pit has a bottom. If it does have a concrete or plastic bottom, be sure to remove as much dirt as possible. -Check the Owner's Manual to see if the pump bearings require grease or oil.-Put the sump pump back in the pit and reconnect any pipes you had disconnected. Again check to make sure the float is functioning. -Reconnect the pump to the electricity and the backup battery.-Test the sump pump to make sure it is working properly by filling the sump pump with water. -Do not postpone repairing or replacing your sump pump. Keep your sump pump in good working condition to avoid costly repairs in the future.

    Categories: Municipal Works, WRAP

  • Who is responsible for maintaining the ditches or swales in my back yard?

    Swales and ditch maintenance are the responsibility of the individual home owner to ensure proper conveyance of drainage flows to a sufficient outlet as designed and accepted during subdivision development. Current and potential homeowners are encouraged to ask their real estate representatives and/or legal representatives for this information, especially when easements may exist on specific properties.Categories: Ditches and Swales, Municipal Works

  • Who is responsible for waste collection services?

    The Regional Municipality is responsible for waste collection services. For any inquiries please call the waste management hotline at 905-356-4141 or visit the Niagara Region's Garbage, Recycling and Organics website.Categories: Garbage and Recycling, Municipal Works

  • Who owns and is responsible for water and sewer servicing?

    Property owners own and are responsible for all of the water and sewer services and plumbing from property line all the way into their home.
    This means that any leaks or pipe failures that occur on private property are the responsibility of the owner. This includes any failure of the inside water shut off valve before the water meter as well as any piping or connections to the water meter.
    The water meter belongs to the City but is paid for by the property owner (through initial installation or building permit). It is the property owners responsibility to ensure the meter is kept in an appropriate environment that will not allow damage to occur to the meter, such as freezing temperatures. Damaged or frozen meters due to misuse are to be paid by the property owner.
    The curb stop is at the property line and is the responsibility of the City unless it is damaged after the subdivision inspection.Categories: Municipal Works, Sewer Lateral, Water Meter

  • Why are some garbage receptacles on City sidewalks or in City Parks not equipped for dual litter and recycling?

    The City of Niagara Falls has many dual litter receptacles located at municipal facilities and throughout the city. The success of recycling is dependent on residents and visitors to properly dispose of waste and recycling. For example, the tourist core is congested with people from multiple nationalities visiting our city. Some visitors are aware of recycling and some are not. The challenge faced by the Region of Niagara (who oversees all waste collection services) is that should the recycling section of the litter bin become contaminated with garbage the entire contents of the recycling could then be considered garbage. It is for this reason that people should take care to dispose their items in the correct section of the receptacles. City staff attempt to empty the dual containers as frequently as possible to avoid cross contamination.Categories: Garbage and Recycling, Municipal Works

  • Why are water shutdowns rescheduled on short notice during construction?

    Typically, the contractor is required to provide at least 24 hours notice of watermain shutdowns.  Unfortunately, unforeseen circumstances may require shutdowns to be rescheduled to accommodate changing construction schedules.  The City's on-site inspector may be able to provide more information at the time.

    Categories: Construction, Municipal Works

  • Why do I need to disconnect my weeping tile from the sanitary sewer?

    The purpose of weeping tile is to collect surface and ground water and keep it away from the basement walls and foundation of your home. When it is connected directly to your sanitary sewer service, it increases the flow volume in the sewers during snow melts and rain storms. It is preferred instead that this be directed to your lawn surface away from the house where it can be absorbed naturally by the ground or flow into the stormwater drainage system.Disconnecting the weeping tile from the sanitary or combined sewers will:- Reduce the risk of the sanitary sewer overloading, which could result in sewage backing up into homes. - Reduce sewage over-flows into the natural environment. - Reduce sewage treatment costs.Categories: Municipal Works, WRAP

  • Why does the roadway flood in heavy rainfall events?

    During periods of heavy rainfall, the roadway drainage and storm sewer systems may not have sufficient capacity to drain the water as quickly as during normal rainfall. Please allow the system adequate time to clear. However, if you are aware of a blocked catch basin or culvert, please call the Municipal Service Centre at 905-356-1355 ext. 6200 to request a cleanout.Categories: Drainage, Municipal Works, Road Flooding

  • Why hasn't the City cleaned the ditch in front of my property?

    For the remainder of the year, City ditching crews will focus on finishing areas in progress and reaching as many new areas as possible.  Requests to revisit areas will be considered based on urgency as assessed by the City.  Ditching efforts in 2016 have been challenged by several factors including extended service areas and resource shortages.  Available resources continue to be employed to address these challenges as efficiently as possible.  We regret any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your continued patience.  Requests for service can be directed to our Municipal Service Centre at 905-356-1355 ext 6200 or [email protected].

    Categories: Ditches and Swales, Municipal Works

  • Why was my water shut off unexpectedly or with short notice during construction?

    Typically, it is the contractor's responsibility to provide notification to residents and businesses at least 24 hours in advance, but unexpected shut-downs may occur when water services and mainlines are damaged and repairs cannot be made without shutting down the watermain.  As well, unforeseen circumstances may cause delays and require short-notice rescheduling of planned shut-downs.  The City's on-site inspector may also be able to provide more information at the time.

    Categories: Construction, Municipal Works

  • Will the City come on my property to fix my drainage?

    No. Private drainage matters are private. Engineering Services will offer advice on ways to solve private drainage matters, and the landowner can then decide whether or not they wish to proceed on their own with the work. The City will not initiate or finance the required work.Categories: Drainage, Municipal Works, Rear Yard Drainage

  • Will the City pay to fix any interior finishing and outdoor landscaping that may be required as a result of the WRAP work?

    No. Under the terms and conditions of the WRAP funding the homeowner is responsible for this. Reimbursement will not be provided for replacing interior finishes, such as drywall, paint or flooring or for exterior restoration, such as landscaping, gardening, sod, trees, porches, decks, concrete or asphalt.Following installation, the Property Owner will own and be responsible for the ongoing operation and maintenance of all equipment installed as part of the work, including any associated costs.It is very important that you read each of the terms and conditions so that you understand completely the responsibilities of the homeowner, your plumber, and the City. The WRAP program is technical in nature. If you have any plumbing technical questions please ask your plumber. You may also call the City's Infrastructure Technician at 905-356-7521 ext. 4103 for more information.Categories: Municipal Works, WRAP

  • Will the city restore my landscaping they disturbed during construction?

    Landscaping restoration usually takes place at the end of a project. Any areas that have been disturbed by our construction activities, will be reinstated by the contractor. Any hedges or other plantings that interfere with construction, should be removed from the work area by the home owner prior to the start of construction.Categories: Construction, Municipal Works