Municipal Drains

Municipal Drains

A municipal drain is simply a drainage system that channels water off of agricultural land or removes excess water that collects on properties. Municipal drains have been a fixture of rural Ontario's infrastructure since the 1800’s. Most municipal drains were constructed to improve the drainage of agricultural land by serving as the discharge point for private agricultural tile drainage systems. However, they also remove excess water collected by roadside ditches, residential lots, churches, schools, industrial lands, commercial lands and any other properties in rural areas. They are a vital component of the local infrastructure. Without them, many areas of the province would be subjected to regular flooding, reduced production from agricultural land and increased public health risks.

Most municipal drains are either open ditches or closed tile systems in the ground. Structures that are considered part of municipal drains are grassed waterways, storm water retention ponds, culverts and bridges. Certain creeks and small rivers are also considered to be municipal drains. Municipal drains are created under the authority of the Drainage Act.

Capital Drainage Projects

Construct a New Drain

Landowners requesting a New Drain may fill out and submit Petition for Drainage Works by Owner (Drainage Act 1990 Section 4) to the Township of South-West Oxford. This will set in motion a project to create a new municipal drain.

All additional steps can be found under Section 4 of the Drainage Act.

Request Improvements

Landowners requesting improvements or modification on an existing drain may fill out and submit the Request for Drainage Works (Drainage Act 1990 Section 78) to the Township of South-West Oxford.

All additional steps can be found under Section 78 of the Drainage Act.

Maintenance on Municipal Drains

Maintenance on municipal drains is the most common procedure that occurs. This work includes clearing of the drain, such as removal of beavers/dams, trees, repairing/replacing tile, silting and cleaning out tiles.

All parties affected by a Municipal Drain are encouraged to periodically inspect the drain and report any visible or suspected problems to the Township. Repeated inspection and maintenance of a drain should allow the drain to provide a service for many years.

Municipal Drains are maintained by the Township at the expense of all the lands and roads as specified in the Schedule of Assessment for Maintenance from the corresponding Drain Report.

Each owner must provide an access route to the drain for access by the Township to undertake necessary repair or maintenance. As well, a right-of way along the drain route equal to the working area described in the report is also to be available for future maintenance.

Report a Problem

If you suspect a problem with a drain, contact Drainage Superintendent, Jason Brunt. Landowners requesting maintenance on an existing drain may fill out and submit the Request for Municipal Drain Maintenance (Municipal Drain Work Order) to the Township.

Drainage Services Forms

Find all of the process guidelines and application forms related to Drainage Services here:

  • Request for Drainage Improvement and/or Modification (Drainage Act 1990 Section 78)
  • Petition for drainage works by owner (Drainage Act, 1990 Section 4)
  • Request for Municipal Drain Maintenance (Municipal Drain Work Order)


Municipal Contacts

Township of South-West Oxford

Located in South Western Ontario, in the South West section of Oxford County and serves as a regional centre for industry, commerce and recreation.

The Township oversees 87,588 acres with a population of 7,544 and we have Canada’s busiest highway in our front yard! With a rich agricultural heritage, please stop by and enjoy our diverse Township. 

The Township’s mission is be "a leader in the development and delivery of municipal services for the growth and well being of our community"

Contact Us

312915 Dereham Line
Mt. Elgin, On N0J 1N0
Hours: Monday – Friday 
8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Phone: 519-877-2702 / 519-485-0477
Fax: 519-485-2932

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