How to be a Good Neighbour

Duck figurines on a fence.

What does it mean to be a good neighbour? Exchanging customary remarks about the weather seems quintessential. And there’s always that cup of flour or sugar to have at hand to lend. But perhaps less obvious is the role we play as neighbours in protecting water quality and preventing flooding in our communities.

Streams and rivers are the visible connectors of our communities. It isn’t difficult to see that what happens up or downstream can affect everyone in between. The same can be said about how we manage surface water from rain or snowmelt. What actions we take on our properties can affect our neighbours.

Culverts and ditches collect and redirect meltwater run-off during the spring thaw. But they can present a flood hazard when organic debris prevents adequate flow and drainage. Be a good neighbour and remove debris from culverts and ditches to help prevent local flooding. Now is also a good time to remove debris from eaves troughs and sump pump outflow pipes to protect against a costly basement flood.

The spring snowmelt can also pose a threat to drinking water quality. Contaminants, like road salt, nitrates, and sediment, are captured in run-off flows. Older wells located in low-lying areas or that may have cracks in their casings can allow contaminants to make their way into the underground aquifers that supply you and your neighbours with water. Spring is a good time to test your well water to protect drinking water quality for you, your family, and your community.

Is it time to upgrade your well?

If your well is more than 15 years old, it might not meet current health and safety standards. Financial incentives are available to help offset the costs of well upgrades and decommissioning on eligible properties. To learn more contact a stewardship coordinator to find out if you qualify.

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