What is Stormwater Management?

    Stormwater originates from rain and snowmelt which accumulates on and runs off of lawns, pavement, and other land surfaces. To prevent water from flooding properties and infrastructure during most rainfall events, the City of Guelph manages a system that includes ditches, gutters, catch basins, and storm sewers. The City’s stormwater management system also includes stormwater management ponds, treatment devices and infiltration facilities which improve water quality before releasing stormwater to local waterways or shallow groundwater systems.

    How can stormwater affect the environment?

    As hard surfaces such as roads, driveways and buildings replace green landscapes, less water soaks into the ground and more water flows into local creeks, rivers and wetlands. The increased flows can cause flooding and erosion in our creeks and rivers. Pollutants that accumulate on hard surfaces including sediment, oil products, bacteria, nutrients and road salts are washed off and can be transported to sensitive aquatic ecosystems.

    What is the City of Guelph doing to protect the environment from the effects of urban runoff?

    The City of Guelph has implemented several stormwater management projects and programs to help protect the local creeks, rivers, and wetlands from the impacts of urban runoff, these include:

    • maintaining water quality treatment facilities and devices to reduce the amount of pollutants discharging to local waterbodies;
    • maintaining stormwater management facilities that prevent erosion and flooding by detaining large volumes of water during intense rainfall events and/or preventing stormwater from entering local creeks and rivers by encouraging infiltration;
    • testing stormwater quality before it enters local creeks and rivers;
    • street sweeping to remove debris before it reaches local creeks and rivers; and
    • providing incentives in the form of stormwater fee credits for homeowners and businesses to capture and treat runoff before it enters the municipal stormwater management system.

    What is a Stormwater Management Master Plan?

    A Stormwater Management Master Plan is developed through technical studies focusing on all aspects of stormwater management including stormwater infrastructure, erosion, and flooding. It will considers government legislation, technological advances and infrastructure needs, and address issues we face today including flood control, maintaining the quality of our local watershed and drinking water supply (groundwater), the overall environment and maintaining local water balance. The Stormwater Master Plan will provide recommendations in the form of infrastructure projects, stormwater policies and programs that will dictate how the City will effectively manage stormwater for years to come. The Stormwater Management Master Plan will prioritize projects and provides a means for the City to estimate future stormwater requirements and costs.

    How might Guelph’s Stormwater Master Plan affect my community?

    Guelph’s stormwater management system is distributed across the City and the plan will address opportunities for improvement throughout the system. Recommendations from the Stormwater Management Master Plan may include programs, policies, or projects that:

    • alter the form and function of existing stormwater management facilities located in existing subdivisions;
    • provide stormwater enhancements such as rain gardens, bioswales or underground infiltration systems in public spaces such as parks and municipal roadways;
    • prevent hazardous erosion along local watercourses;
    • provide further incentives for lot-level stormwater control;
    • identify vulnerabilities to extreme weather events within the stormwater conveyance system and propose solutions; and
    • impact water quality, volume capture or flow control requirements associated with urban infill or re-development.

    Can I provide input to Guelph’s Stormwater Management Master Plan?

    Yes. How we manage stormwater affects you. It also affects our drinking water supply and our environment. Your feedback is an important part of updating the Stormwater Management Master Plan. The City will look for your feedback throughout the master plan update. Opportunities to have your say will be posted on haveyoursay.guelph.ca, and on our Twitter and Facebook channels. To be informed of these opportunities, sign up for updates to the project page from the home page.

    This study is being carried out in accordance with the Municipal Engineers Association Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (2011, as amended) guidance. Per Environmental Assessment requirements, results from this study will be documented and be made available for a public review period. At that time, residents, Indigenous communities and other interested persons or groups will be informed of when and where the environmental assessment can be reviewed.