Operationalizing the Drainage Act: Lessons Learned in Greenfield Application and Operations

Previously Recorded – FREE – Online anytime!

Estimated time requirement: 2 hours

Municipalities across Ontario are faced with the challenge of managing and treating stormwater, while contending with increased flooding, rapid urban growth, climate change and aging, limited or no stormwater infrastructure. In fact, approximately 60% of Ontario communities’ urban area were built before current stormwater management or flood control standards were developed. The extreme cost of retrofitting stormwater infrastructure within public lands (road right of ways) makes it untenable for most municipalities. This leaves communities, the Province, businesses, and its residents at greater risk of flooding and water quality impairments. A new approach is needed.

Historically, municipalities have been reluctant to rely on infrastructure on private property because there are no guarantees that they could be accessed, inspected, and maintained or have property access.

The Drainage Act provides a made in Ontario process to address municipal concerns by guaranteeing property access and maintenance operations can be facilitated and costs shared by all benefitting parties. This session will focus on those Drainage Act operational processes that allow for access, maintenance, cost sharing and details the role of the drainage superintendent and the responsibilities of the municipality and property owner.

This webinar explores lessons learned associated with the Villages of Long Point Bay (VLPB) subdivision that is comprised of 323 residential units and serviced by a drainage system that has was constructed under the Drainage Act. The drainage system includes rear and side-yard drainage swales, catchbasins and subsurface pipes that directs drainage to the municipal right of way and then to end of pipe SWM facilities. The Drainage Act was employed to protect drainage infrastructure on private property and secure a sufficient and legal outlet for the subdivision. Overall, the VLPB case study illustrates how green infrastructure and low impact development technologies can be part of the overall stormwater treatment train on private property and protected under a bylaw using the Drainage Act.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Share lessons learned from the Villages of Long Point Bay subdivision that has been designed and constructed under the Drainage Act
  2. Understand why the Drainage Act is a critical tool at municipal and/or private property owner’s disposal to address drainage issues and come to an amendable solution
  3. Understand the role of the Drainage Superintendent, their responsibilities and who is responsible for their cost
  4. Understand what a municipality would need in terms of resources to operationalize the Drainage Act and how they can screen the viability of projects in a cost-effective way
  5. Understand how costs are assessed to landowners under the Drainage Act inclusive of maintenance and improvements to existing stormwater infrastructure


  • Phil James, P.Eng, Manager of Integrated Water Management, CVC,
  • Shannon Malloy, Specialist, Integrated Water Management, CVC
  • Peter Bryan-Pulham, C.E.T., Retired Drainage Superintendent

Additional information:

If you have any additional questions, please contact us at STEP@trca.ca