Sewer cleaning & inspection program

To find out if work is being done in your area, visit MyUtilityInfo or contact 311.

Sewers are underground pipes that transport everything that you flush down the toilet and pour down the drain to a sewage treatment plant for treatment, before being released back into the river.

To ensure these essential pieces of infrastructure are working efficiently, we clean and inspect in selected neighbourhoods, every year. This work includes:

  • Blockage and back up prevention
  • Removal of built-up debris like tree roots, grease, grit, and sand
  • Condition assessment of the sewer so we can repair or replace sewers, as necessary

This program runs from April to November, Monday to Friday (occasionally Saturdays), from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. We may have to do this work outside of the listed times when:

  • The street has high volume traffic or the sewer has high wastewater flow during the day
  • Emergency work is required to clear a blockage

What to expect

You will receive a notice, attached to your door handle, two days before cleaning and inspection begins on your street. This does not apply to emergency work as there is not enough time to notify residents.

Cleaning and inspection are usually completed within three business days. Sometimes weather or equipment failures cause delays in the schedule and we will return within two weeks to inspect the sewer. When this happens, you will receive another notice to take the same precautions.

How to prepare

Air pressure in the sewer may cause water to splash out of toilets, sinks, and drains. We recommend that you protect your home by taking the following precautions:

  • Close the lids on all toilet bowls and insert plugs in sinks and bathtubs when not in use
  • Remove all floor mats in bathrooms
  • Place old towels around the base of toilets
  • Ensure your float plug or backwater valve is free of debris and operating properly
  • Put thick plastic (e.g., a freezer bag), over your basement floor drain and place something heavy to keep on top to keep it in place.

Once the equipment has moved off your block, you may move things back to its original place.


This work may cause an odour in your home. If this happens, we recommend you do the following:

  • Run water down all sinks and bathtub drains
  • Flush your toilets
  • Pour a pail of water into each basement floor drain
  • Open your windows

If the odour does not go away or if sewage enters your home, please call 311 immediately.

The sewer cleaning and inspection program is one of the steps that we take to reduce the risk of sewer backups and flooding in homes. Learn more about how you can prevent a sewer backup or prevent basement flooding in your home.

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