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Downspout Disconnection Program

Downspout Disconnection door hanger hanging from door knob

Downspouts (or eavestroughs) are designed to remove stormwater from residential roofs or flat surfaces. When downspouts are connected directly into the municipal sewer systems, they introduce large volumes of water into systems that were not designed to handle them.

Basement flooding as the result of sewer overload is the inconvenient, expensive and disruptive result.

Downspout disconnection is an inexpensive way for homeowners to help reduce the flow of stormwater into the wastewater system during extreme weather events. It reduces operating costs for our wastewater treatment plants, which helps to keep our property taxes down. It also benefits the environment by helping to replenish and protect ground water.

What can you do?

The Town of Essex is asking all homeowners to disconnect non-essential downspouts.

Even if your house has never flooded or doesn't have a basement, if your downspouts are directed into the ground, you may be contributing to basement flooding in other homes.

It's easy to disconnect a downspout and financial assistance may be available.

Disconnecting your downspouts

The general approach for disconnecting a downspout is to cut it off around 9 to 12 inches (23 to 30 centimetres) above the ground. The sewer pipe is capped to ensure that water and debris cannot enter the sewer system. An elbow and pipe extension are attached to the downspout and positioned to carry water at least one metre away from the house or foundation, ensuring that water flows away from your house, walkways and neighbouring property. Placing a splash pad at the end of the pipe extension will help prevent soil erosion.

The Town of Essex is asking homeowners to disconnect non-essential downspouts. A downspout is non-essential if disconnecting it would not create a freeze hazard over walkways or adversely affect neighbouring properties.

Financial assistance for downspout disconnection

The Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program assists homeowners by providing a financial subsidy to disconnect downspouts, complete investigative camera work, install a sump pump and pit and/or install a backwater valve. The application and additional information can be found at the link above.

Questions about downspout disconnection?

If you have questions about downspout disconnection or the Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program, contact us at 519-776-7336.