A municipal drain is a drainage system. Most municipal drainage systems were constructed to improve the drainage of agricultural lands. The primary function of a municipal drain is to divert surface water from adjacent lands and convey flows to downstream watercourses. Municipal drains can be either ditches or closed systems such as pipes or tiles buried in the ground. As in the Holland Marsh, they can also include structures such as dykes, berms, pumping stations, buffer strips, grassed waterways, storm water detention ponds, culverts and bridges. The main river is also considered a municipal drain. Municipal drains are created under the authority of the Drainage Act

For more detailed information on municipal drains, see Municipal Drain Information and Municipal Drains and the Landowner

The Drainage Act is a legislative tool for landowners to petition their local municipality to resolve their drainage problems. Not all ditches and buried pipes are considered municipal drains. The project is administered by the local municipality and the costs are assessed to the landowners in the watershed of the drain.

The process of designating a municipal drain is very clearly defined in the Drainage Act. Some key steps are as follows:

  • - Identification of Need
  • - Landowner Consent
  • - Appointment of Engineer by Municipal Council
  • - On-Site Meeting
  • - Preparation of Engineer's Report
  • - Appeals
  • - Construction/Implementation

For more detailed information on Drainage Act procedures see Drainage Factsheet

The municipality is responsible for maintaining the municipal drain. If you have a municipal drain located on your property, you can expect your municipality to periodically arrange to enter onto your property and perform the necessary work. After it is completed, you will be billed for your share of the cost.

The Holland Marsh Drainage System Joint Municipal Service Board has established a regular maintenance program pursuant to the Engineer's Reports. The Board has established a rotational cycle of maintenance for the internal drains. Ongoing culvert assessments are occurring on existing crossings to replace deficient culverts.

For more detailed information on maintenance see Duties of the Landowner Under the Drainage Act

Municipal drains are paid for by the property owners that use the drain. Drain maintenance costs are generally placed on the property tax bills the year following the completion of work.

The Agricultural Drainage Infrastructure Program (ADIP) is run by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) which offers a one third agricultural gran to eligible farmland properties to help with the cost of drainage maintenance and capital projects.

For more detailed information on assessments see Understanding Drainage Assessments

Although the work may have been completed prior to your purchase, the costs of maintenance are assessed to the property, not the property owner. The property continues to benefit from the maintenance of the municipal drain. The invoice is assessed to the owners of the property at the time of billing out the final costs.

All requests for a suction/drain crossing are submitted to the Holland Marsh Drainage System Joint Municipal Service Board for the Board’s approval. You are required to complete the prescribed form (request for suction/drain crossing) and submit to the Board.

If the Board approves your request you are then required to work with the municipality to obtain the necessary road occupancy permit related to construction.

The Board requires the line to be:
  • directionally drilled;
  • to be a minimum of 50 mm (schedule 40) black poly; if greater than 75 mm (schedule 80) black poly;
  • cap must be permanently affixed to the pipe on the canal side when not in use.

Property owner is responsible for complying with all applicable legislation including MOECC permit to take water. Owner will be responsible for all costs related to the installation and permit fees.