How can I help protect our source water?

Managing stormwater runoff

Stormwater runoff is rainwater, melted snow or water that runs off our roofs, driveways and roads. Some is collected via storm sewers and flows to stormwater management ponds where contaminants are captured. Some flows directly to local water bodies or seeps into the ground. It is not treated at our Wastewater treatment plant.

Eventually, stormwater makes its way back into our lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands, and into our groundwater.

Here’s how you can help

Conserve water

Conserving water helps maintain a constant supply of drinking water. It also reduces and defers the cost of building new water supply infrastructure and expanding our wastewater treatment facility.

Handle and dispose of hazardous waste properly

Please don’t pour paint, cleaners, pesticides, medication, gasoline, oils and other hazardous waste into sinks, toilets, into sewers or on the ground. Take unused medication to a local pharmacy, and bring any other hazardous waste items to Guelph’s Household Hazardous Waste Depot where it will be recycled or disposed of safely, protecting you and your neighbours.

Clean up pet waste

Pet waste is raw sewage. It contains nutrients and bacteria – such as giardia and salmonella — that can run into stormwater sewers during a rainstorm, and end up in our waterways. Proper pet waste disposal is important in your own yard, and wherever you walk your dog. Stooping and scooping is good for your health.

Water your lawn and gardens wisely

Take care not to overwater your lawn and keep the water off streets, sidewalks and driveways. Watering these impermeable surfaces increases runoff into our storm sewers and also wastes water. Soaker hoses can help put water where you need it, or try using a rain barrel to collect and use rainwater in your yard and garden.

Reduce or eliminate your use of chemicals

By reducing or eliminating the use of pesticides, fertilizers and sidewalk de-icing salts, you can help protect our source water. These chemicals may otherwise enter our storm sewers via runoff, and find their way into source water.

Take care when transferring or pouring oil or fuel

When filling up gas tanks for automobiles, lawn mowers, boats, and other machinery take care to prevent spilling oil and fuel onto the ground. For extra safety, place a fuel-safe container underneath where you’re pouring to catch spills and drips, then dispose of it properly.

Use a commercial car wash

Washing your car in the driveway can send potentially harmful soap chemicals into our storm sewers and waterways. Commercial car washes recycle clean water and dispose of dirty water in an environmentally responsible manner.

Report activities near stormwater ponds

Please let the City know if you see beaver or other animal activity, skating, fishing, grass-cutting or planting near stormwater management areas. These activities may seem harmless, but they can interfere with the City’s stormwater management systems and cause other unexpected problems. Here’s how to report improper use of City lands

Participate in community clean ups

Volunteer at a community event to help pick up litter around roadways, park spaces and water bodies. Litter can travel into storm sewers rivers and streams, polluting the water and harming fish and wildlife.

Maintain your private wells

If you have a private well, it is your responsibility to protect and maintain the well. Wells should be sampled and tested regularly. Unused wells should be decommissioned.