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Welland Conservation Program

Mission Statement: The Welland Conservation Program strives to provide Welland residents with education, services and programs to encourage environmental conservation which in turn leads to a caring, conscious and clean local community.

Background Information:

In the summer of 2006, the Downspout Inspection Program began as a component of the City of Welland’s Water Conservation Program. City representatives conducted inspections of building roof downspouts and associated lot drainage on residential and commercial properties in selected areas of the city with a history of basement flooding, specifically the Broadway and Clare Avenue areas.  Information obtained these inspections was incorporated into inflow and infiltration studies.

Inspections took place with the aim of identifying downspouts that discharge rain water from roof surfaces to the sanitary sewer via direct connections or indirectly through building foundation weeping tiles. The program’s objective was to eliminate these direct and indirect connections to the sanitary sewer, in accordance to By-Law #3913 by informing the public of the importance of disconnection as a flood-proofing preventative measure.

Program Objectives:
  • To reduce the potential of a sanitary sewer overload, associated sewer back-ups and/or basement flooding events.
  • To identify downspouts that discharge rain water from roof surfaces to the sanitary sewer via direct connections or indirectly to building foundation weeping tiles.
  • To eliminate indirect and direct connections to the sanitary sewer, in accordance with By-Law #3913.
  • To inform the public of food-prevention measures to assist property owners in resolving flooding and back-up issues.
  • To obtain information for incorporation into existing inflow and infiltration studies.
  • To obtain an inventory of storm water inflows and infiltration sources into the sanitary sewer system.
  • To assess the need for new by-laws and design standards to regulate storm water runoff.
  • To reduce the costs incurred by the City of Welland for unnecessary treatment of storm water.
2014 Downspout Inspection Programs:

The successful commencement of the Downspout Disconnection Program in 2006 has resulted in the continuation of the program in each consecutive summer - and was brought back for 2014 summer. This year the program was focused on the re-inspection of previous study areas. The City of Welland Conservation Program has worked ceaselessly to prevent residents from experiencing unnecessary basement flooding. In addition, staff has worked to decrease combined sewer overflows which pollute our creeks, rivers and lakes. The areas which have been inspected throughout the previous 8 summer seasons include;

  • Lincoln, Riverside Area
  • Trelawn Parkway Area
  • South Pelham Rd – Woodlawn Road Area
  • South Pelham Rd – Fitch St. Area
  • Broadway Avenue Area
  • Clare Avenue Area
  • River Road Area

This year, staff inspectors focused on the re-inspection of the Lincoln/ Coventry and Edgar Street Areas including, but not limited to, all surrounding streets and commercial sites.

Importance of Proper Drainage

During intense rainfall events, hydraulic overloading of the municipal sanitary sewer system may result in flooding of basements.  Reducing the inflow of rainfall into your home’s sanitary drain is an important flood-proofing preventive measure that you should be aware of.

Reducing the inflow of rainfall into your sanitary drain is achieved through proper lot grading around your home’s foundation, removal of downspouts and yard storm drains directly connected to your sanitary drain, proper extension of downspouts away from your home’s foundation, and proper use of a sump pump.

Rain falling onto the roof of your home is collected in eavestroughs and channeled into downspouts and extension pipes that are intended to direct rainfall runoff away from the foundation of your home.

When the ground slopes toward your home and/or when downspout extension pipes are of insufficient length, surface runoff from rainfall events saturates the backfill soil zone surrounding your home’s foundation and collects into the foundation weeping tile and sanitary drain.

Downspouts and yard storm drains that directly connect to your sanitary drain result in rapid inflow of rainfall into the sanitary drain during storm events.

The municipal sanitary sewer system is not designed to convey these excess rainfall inflows and as a result, basement flooding and sewage spills to the environment are possible during intense rainfall events.

Saturation of the backfill soil zone surrounding your home may also result in a damp, clammy basement and cause damage to the basement foundation over time.

Rainfall that inflows to sanitary drains is also conveyed to the Welland Sewage Treatment Plant for costly and unnecessary treatment.

Benefits of Proper Drainage:
  • Reduces the risk of flooding of basements
  • Reduces untreated sewage overflows to the natural environment during extreme rainfall events
  • Lowers sewage treatment costs and improves the efficiency of sewage treatment processes
Additional Drainage and Flood Proofing Measures:
Rain Barrels

Rain barrels will hold roof water runoff that may otherwise accumulate around the building foundation, in the weeping tile and sanitary drain.  Rain barrels need to be drained after rainfall events so that they are ready for use during the next rainfall. 

Nearly half the volume of residential water used during the summer is used for watering gardens and lawns.  Rain barrels can collect and store rain water for these uses to conserve potable water.

Sump Pump and Backflow Prevention

Rainfall-induced ground water which infiltrates into the foundation weeping tile is collected in a sump pit and discharged via a pump to an exterior surface sloped away from the backfill soil zone.  The ground water does not collect into the sanitary drain.

A backflow prevention valve, installed in the sanitary drain where the drain exits the building, prevents basement flooding when the municipal sanitary sewer system becomes overloaded during intense rainfall events.

Drainage Inspection

Consider undertaking an inspection of the downspouts around your home to identify opportunities to minimize future drainage and basement flooding problems.

Drainage Inspection Checklist

Origin & Background:

The City of Welland has entered into a partnership in 2011 with NGO Niagara Sustainability Initiative (NSI) in order to analyze greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from the City’s operations.

The Carbon Project is a voluntary program led by NSI whereby partners commit to managing and reducing their GHG carbon emissions.

In 2011, the Province of Ontario passed Ontario Regulation 397/11 that requires the Municipal sector to report on the corporate carbon footprint to the Minister of Energy by July 1st, 2013 and have an Energy Management Plan (EMP) by July 1st, 2014. The City will be well prepared for these requirements as a result of the partnership with NSI.

At the beginning of 2013, the City of Welland began a partnership with Local Authority Service, LAS which has an affiliation to the AMO, Association of Municipalities of Ontario. With LAS, the City has met the reporting date of July 1st, and also assisted the City to formulate the Energy Management Plan as mandated by the Ministry of Energy. Staff are recommending continued partnership with LAS to assist in maintaining the energy plan initiatives adopted by the City of Welland.

Kitchen Tips
  1. Install a low-flow faucet aerator, which can cut water use in half.
  2. Soak pots and pans before washing. When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink or basin with soapy water.
  3. Fill the basin or a pan with water to wash fruits and vegetables.
  4. Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator rather than running tap water until it is cool enough to drink.
  5. When buying a new dishwasher, consider purchasing a water-saving model. Newer models can cut water use by 25 percent and are no more expensive than non-conserving models.
  6. Wash only full loads in the dishwasher.
Bathroom Tips
  1. Bathroom use accounts for about 65 percent of the water used inside the home.
  2. Check regularly for any leaks and fix them. Most common bathroom leaks are found in faucets and in and around toilets.
  3. Replace older, larger-use toilets with the newer ultra-low flush models. Toilets sold during the 80s and early 90s use 13 litres per flush.
  4. Do NOT use the toilet to dispose of paper, facial tissues, or cigarettes.
  5. Take a five-minute shower.
  6. Use the minimum amount of water needed for a bath by closing the drain and the filling the tub only 1/3 full.
  7. Install a low-flow showerhead. It can save about half the amount of water you typically use in the shower, while still providing a refreshing, cleansing shower.
  8. Turn the tap water off while brushing your teeth, shaving, or washing your face.
  9. If the toilet flush handle frequently sticks in the flush position, letting water run constantly, replace or adjust it.
Laundry Room Tips
  1. When buying a new clothes washer, consider purchasing a water-saving model. New horizontal axis models can save up to 40 percent of the water used by a conventional model. Check with your municipality to see if they provide rebates on the purchase of water-saving clothes washers.
  2. Wash only full loads in the clothes washer.
  3. Insulate your water pipes. You'll get hot water faster plus avoid wasting water while it heats up.

Lawns and Grass
  1. In the summer, lawn watering and other outdoor uses can account for up to 50 percent of home water use. Studies show that as much as half of this outdoor use is wasteful. As a general rule, 2 to 3 cm  of water per week is adequate.
  2. Don't overwater your landscape. It can cause yellowing leaves or poor plant health. Give plants only the amount of water that they need.
  3. Use low-angle or pulsating sprinklers that produce large fat droplets of water. Sprinklers that spray the water high into the air or produce a mist or fine spray lose much of the water through evaporation.
  4. Set sprinklers to water the lawn, not sidewalks and driveways.
  5. Check your sprinkler or irrigation systems regularly for any leaks, and fix them.
  6. Be sure your hose has an automatic shutoff nozzle to ensure water is not wasted when the hose is left unattended.
  1. Add two to four inches of organic material, such as peat or compost, to the soil. Greater soil depth will increase the ability of the soil to retain moisture.
  2. Use water-wise plants. Native and adaptive plants will use less water and be resistant to local plant diseases and pests.
Car Washing

Using a running hose to wash your car can waste about 400 litres of water. Using a bucket with a sponge plus a trigger nozzle on the hose will save you about 300 of those litres.


If you own a pool, be sure to use a pool cover when it's not in use. This will cut down on evaporation losses and will keep it cleaner and warmer. Check equipment such as filtration systems and water inlets on a regular basis for signs of leaks.

Rain Barrel

Collect rain water in an old barrel or other large container that is outfitted with a spigot and a suitable cover, and use the water on your garden. Use this water as an alternative to turning on the hose for newly transplanted material, window boxes, flower pots and container gardens. Rain water is actually better for your plants as it does not contain any chlorine and is at ambient temperature. Keep your rain barrel covered to prevent mosquito’s breeding and for safety reasons.

Home Energy Saving Tips No-Cost or Low-Cost:
  • Lower your thermostat at night and whenever the house is unoccupied. Close off and don’t heat unoccupied. If you consistently set your thermostat back at night 10 degrees Fahrenheit, you may reduce your heating bill by 10-20 percent.
  • Lower the thermostat and dress warmer. As little as 1 to 3 degrees (F) makes a noteworthy difference in energy consumption.
  • Set refrigerator temperatures between 37 and 40 degrees (F). Clean the coils.
  • Consider replacing your older model refrigerator, especially if older than 10 years. Older models can often use over 3 times the energy of newer models.
  • Wash full loads of dishes and air dry.
  • When washing clothes, use warm or cold water and rinse with cold. Air dry clothes, but not indoors as this creates unwanted mold and moisture problems.
  • Shut off lights, computers and other electronic appliances when you’re not using them. Many computer monitors have a sleep mode setting which, when activated, greatly reduces energy consumption.
  • During the heating season, open south-facing window coverings (e.g. drapes, blinds, etc.) during the day. Close all window coverings at night to keep the heat in.
  • Examine and adjust, if necessary, weather stripping, door sweeps, and thresholds.


For any questions please contact us:
Engineering Division
Civic Square, Second Floor
60 East Main Street
Welland, Ontario, L3B 3X4
Telephone: 905-735-1700
Email conservation@welland.ca