Toronto - The City’s Voluntary Downspout Disconnection Program ended yesterday.  City Council has adopted a new, Mandatory Downspout Disconnection Program in its place. Applications received by Tuesday, November 20, 2007 will be eligible for the voluntary program. Any requests received after that will not be eligible.

Prior to this month, the voluntary program had limited participation; approximately 2,300 disconnections were completed yearly. “Had we continued with the program in its current form it would have taken more than 20 years to achieve our target disconnection rate,” said Lou Di Gironimo, Toronto Water General Manager.

More than 50,000 residents have signed up over the past three weeks since the voluntary program was identified for closure at Public Works and Infrastructure Committee on October 31. Because of the influx of new applicants, it will take several years to work through the waiting list. City inspectors will start to contact residents to book the first assessment appointments in late 2008 and early 2009.

The new Mandatory Downspout Disconnection Program, which comes into effect Wednesday November 21, 2007, will initially target properties located in the city core that are served by combined sewers (stormwater and sewage combined into a single pipe). If feasible, homeowners in this core area will be required to disconnect their downspouts from the sewer system, within three years, at which time property owners could face fines. More information will be available in the coming days on the City’s website at www.toronto.ca/water.