Stormwater management

In natural areas, rainfall or melted snow soaks into the soil, is absorbed by trees and plants, evaporates into the air, or flows into streams, lakes, rivers, and wetlands.

In cities, rainfall and melted snow travel much more quickly over roofs, driveways, and roads. Water runs off these surfaces, collects pollutants like dirt, oil, fertilizer, grass clippings, pet waste, litter etc. and carries them to our rivers and waterways.

After storms, heavy rains or snow melts, water levels can rise and cause flooding.

Rain harvesting rebates

Help keep storm drains clear

Keeping storm drains and catch basins clear of leaves, dirt, litter and ice help reduce the risk of our roads flooding during heavy rain and storms.

Storm drains and catch basins let rain and melted snow flow into our storm sewer system which drains into the nearest stormwater pond, creek, river or lake.

Stormwater runoff is not treated before flowing into local waterways – only rain should go down the storm drain.

Report a spill

Stormwater isn’t processed through Guelph’s Water Resource Recovery Centre. It flows directly into the Speed River. That’s why it’s so important to prevent harmful substances from flowing into the storm drains on your street

If you see a person or organization dumping anything into a storm sewer or catch basin, or spilling chemicals or contaminants on the ground or in a waterway please call:

  • Guelph Environmental Protection Officer 519-837-5629 TTY: 519-826-9771
  • Ontario Spills Action Centre 1-866-663-8477 (MOETIPS) TTY: 1-855-889-5775

Please provide the time, location, type and volume of the spilled material, and describe any actions being taken to control the spill.

Don’t disrupt stormwater ponds

Stormwater management ponds may look like natural areas, but they’re actually an important part of the City’s infrastructure.

Stormwater management ponds collect melted snow or water runoff from storm sewers and slowly release it into our waterways.

Please don’t add or remove plants near stormwater ponds. Plants and long grass help ponds function properly. We remove debris and invasive plants regularly, without using pesticides. We also maintain gates, locks, valves, etc. and perform repairs and bank stabilization, when necessary.

Image shows flow of rain and snow melt through stormwater system

Stormwater management ponds maintenance

Why we do this work

Stormwater management ponds help prevent floods and reduce pollution in Guelph’s rivers and waterways. The ponds collect rainwater and melted snow runoff from roofs, roads, driveways and lawns.

The City carries out maintenance of stormwater management ponds to make sure they continue to work properly. Maintenance is completed at all ponds across Guelph on a rotating basis.

What to expect

Vehicles and machinery will be on site at each of the ponds while the work is being completed. Some noise should be expected during working hours.

The maintenance work involves removing sediment and some plants from the pond that may include trees. Native plants play an important role in stormwater management, therefore self-seeded and invasive species that interfere with how the pond works will be removed.

Stormwater Management Master Plan

The master plan is a long-term plan that looks at how the City is currently managing stormwater and guides how we will continue to do so over the next 25 years. It will take into account government legislation, technological advances and infrastructure needs, and address issues we face today like flood control, maintaining the quality of our local waterways (rivers, lakes and streams) and drinking water supply (groundwater), the overall environment and maintaining local water balance


For more information

City of Guelph Stormwater Services
519-822-1260 extension 3486
[email protected]