water

Toronto Water: Not Down the Drain Campaign

In my role as the Chair of Public Works, I’m happy to advise that Toronto Water has launched a new public education campaign to change behaviour and raise awareness about items that shouldn’t be put down the drain.

Every day, many items are flushed down toilets or poured down the drain that should not be. Examples of items that could cause serious damage include fat, oil, grease, wipes and dental floss.

Putting these items down the drain or toilet could cause:

  • Damage or blockages to home plumbing, which may lead to basement flooding.
  • Damage or blockages to the City’s sewer pipes located under the streets, which may also lead to basement flooding.
  • Damage to pumping stations and wastewater treatment plants
  • Harm to the environment and aquatic habitat in the lake, local streams and rivers.

To learn more about items that shouldn’t be flushed or put down the drain, please visit this website.

Toronto Water: Summer Tips

With warm weather finally upon us, Toronto Water has been reminding residents about the things they can do to help prevent flooding, conserve water and protect their homes.

Gardening

  • Use rainwater to water your grass and gardens.
  • Sweep sidewalks and driveways clean instead of using a running hose.
  • Start planning a water-efficient, natural garden using native plants and trees.

Car washing

  • The dirt on cars can contain toxic chemicals, heavy metals, oil and grease. To avoid having dirty water run into the storm sewer system, consider washing your car in a commercial car wash facility (these facilities are required to follow a set of practices determined by the city, including treating wastewater and discharging it into the sanitary sewer system where it will receive further treatment).

Basement flooding

  • Clear eavestroughs and downspouts of debris.
  • Disconnect downspouts that empty into the City’s sewer system.
  • Don’t flush disposable wipes down the toilet.
  • Install a back-water valve or basement sump pump.

New Online Tools: MyWaterToronto and PlowTO

As Chair of Public Works & Infrastructure, I’m pleased to share that the city has recently launched two exciting new online tools: MyWaterToronto and PlowTO.

Technology has become a constant in our daily routines and the city is jumping on board – we’re mobilizing start-of-the-art technology to improve customer service and save Torontonians time, money and resources.

With MyWaterToronto, residents can view their water use information anytime, anywhere via computer or mobile phone. The city’s new automated water meters send water consumption data directly to the city several times a day and effectively eliminate the need for property owners or city staff to take manual readings.  Right now MyWaterToronto is loaded with more than one billion water readings!

Because residents can track how much water they’re using, they can better understand their water use, identify potential leaks and consider ways to save both water and money.

On PlowTO’s webpage, thanks to GPS data, residents can see the real-time location of plows, sidewalk plows and salt trucks. This tool gives Torontonians a better sense of when and where the city’s fleet of service vehicles have traveled during and after a winter storm.

During my two terms in office, I’ve fielded a number of inquiries from residents about winter operations and high water bills. So far the feedback I’ve received on these new web-based tools has been overwhelmingly positive.

Harnessing technology to provide better and more transparent city services is clearly a big step in the right direction for Toronto.

Intensification in the Yonge & Eglinton Community

Toronto is experiencing unprecedented growth. While many neighbourhoods are feeling the pinch, few are experiencing levels of growth and change like the Yonge-Eglinton area. This growth has direct impacts on our built form and infrastructure – from transit to schools to stormwater management.

That’s why, in July 2015, I asked the Chief Planner to report on planning tools that can be used to help manage intensification pressure in the Yonge-Eglinton neighbourhood.

The goal of the study, the Yonge and Eglinton Growth, Built Form and Infrastructure Review, is to develop an evidence-based planning approach that can better inform the development review process and policy-making moving forward.

From my perspective, any and all growth needs to be effectively managed to ensure the continued liveability of our community. These planning tools will guide the vision, form and fit of future developments with a focus on the context-specific character of the Yonge-Eglinton neighbourhood.

Building on the recently City Council-approved Midtown in Focus, a plan focusing on public realm improvements to streets, buildings and open spaces, the Yonge and Eglinton Review is really four plans in one. Using recent growth analyses, the Review examines built form, cultural heritage, community infrastructure and transportation and municipal services.

A key component of the review involves a detailed analysis of the performance and capacity of city infrastructure, including transportation networks, water, wastewater and energy. The final report will outline what infrastructural improvements would be needed based on projected growth estimates.

Expected in Spring 2016, the report will enhance the development review process by providing hard data on the multiple impacts of intensification in Yonge-Eglinton.

The bottom line is that we want to maintain the unique feel of the Yonge-Eglinton neighbourhood and the characteristics that make it a vibrant community.

For updates on the Yonge and Eglinton Growth, Built Form and Infrastructure Review, click here.

Top Tips for Summer

Yard Waste

From mid-March to December, leaf and yard waste is collected every other week on your scheduled garbage day. City staff advise that you should wait until the evening before your collection date to put your waste on the curb.

The city collects plant and tree trimmings, weeds, brush and bundles of branches, but does not collect soil, sod, grass clippings, logs or tree stumps. Instead, compost grass clippings or reuse them on your lawn – an easy way to maintain nutrient-rich soil!

Toronto Water

Gardening

  • Disconnect your downspout and use rainwater to water your grass and gardens.
  • Extra watering is not always required – the rain is often enough.
  • Sweep sidewalks and driveways clean instead of using a hose.
  • Start planning your water-efficient, natural garden using native plants and trees.

Environment and Water Efficiency

  • Use commercial car wash facilities to wash your car – they are required to follow a set of practices determined by the city, including treating wastewater and discharging it into the sanitary sewer system where it will receive further treatment.
  • A leaky toilet or tap can cost an extra $600/month – fix leaks to avoid being charged.
  • It costs only $0.002 to fill a reusable water bottle.
  • Pool water may contain chemicals. Click here for pool drainage tips and advice.
  • The city doesn’t conduct door-to-door water tests – be careful of sales people making that claim.

For more information on how you can be more water efficient, please click here.