The Regional Municipality Of York


Homeowners and businesses are encouraged to take steps to prevent flooding

It is important to prevent excess water from entering our sanitary sewer system

Newmarket – Climate change affects more than the weather you see. Intense storms increase the amount of excess water entering the sanitary sewer system and can lead to backups and basement flooding.

Through monitoring, assessment, repair and education, York Region’s Inflow and Infiltration Strategy aims to reduce the amount of clean water entering the sewer system and eliminate as much as possible the threat of sewage backups and flooding.

“Reducing the amount of excess water from entering the sanitary sewer system will lower the risk of flooding in homes and buildings,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson. “The Region and our nine municipalities have taken concrete steps to reduce the flow of water from public buildings and we encourage private residents and business owners to follow suit.”

In 2011, York Region and our municipal partners set collective goals for inflow and infiltration reduction. In the first five years of strategy implementation, successes include:

  • Monitoring to assess rainfall, sanitary sewer flows and identify areas where excess water could enter the sanitary sewer system
  • Confirming potential sources of water entering the system using visual and camera inspections and smoke and dye tests
  • Repairing and rehabilitating pipes once potential sources of inflow and infiltration are confirmed; where possible, pipes are repaired rather than replaced

To date, inflow and infiltration reduction programs have focused on reducing water flows originating from public infrastructure. Focus for the next five years will be to reduce inflow and infiltration originating from private properties. Residents can help by disconnecting downspouts and sump pumps and conserving water by using high efficiency appliances and low flow toilets.

“In addition to reducing the risk of sewage backups, which pose a risk to health and the environment, reducing the amount of excess water entering our system will reduce pumping and treatment costs at the Region’s treatment plants,” said City of Vaughan Regional Councillor Mario Ferri, Vice Chair of Environmental Services. “Actions by homeowners and businesses can make a difference. Something as simple as disconnecting a downspout and hooking it up to a rain barrel takes perfectly good water and redirects it from being wasted to being used in a garden.”

For information on how to be water efficient at home and in the workplace, visit

The Regional Municipality of York is a confederation of nine local municipalities and provides a variety of programs and services to almost 1.2 million residents, 50,000 businesses and 580,000 employees. More information about the Region’s key service areas is available at

Inflow: Water entering the sewer system through downspouts, foundation drains and maintenance hole covers

Infiltration: Groundwater entering the system through holes and cracks in maintenance holes, pipes connecting homes to the sewers at the street

illustration of inflow and infiltration


Media Contact:
Barbara Moss, Corporate Communications,
The Regional Municipality of York
Phone: 1-877-464-9675 ext. 71237
or Cell: 905-505-5775

How can I help to prevent flooding; York Region; sanitary sewer; inflow and infiltration strategy The Regional Municipality of York en-US Media Release