Public Works FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions
Public Works

Q: Why is my water pressure sometimes low?
A: Once you have checked and determined that your drop in pressure is not due to a leak or an open tap(s) on your premises, you may want to call the Water & Sewer Section of the Public Works division at 905-468-3266. The drop in pressure could be the result of a broken water main or its repair; an unusually high demand for water in the neighbourhood; the opening of a fire hydrant(s) for flushing of the mains (during normal office hours) or for fighting a fire. A message left with the answering service outside of normal office hours will be responded to by the appropriate staff person as quickly as possible.

Q: Why is my water bill unusually high?
A: In summer, the outdoor use of water, such as for lawn/garden watering, may account for an increase. Other likely explanations include a leaking tap or a running toilet. If your meter is in a chamber at the street line, a buried pipe could be leaking, which is more difficult to trace. As the homeowner, you are responsible for fixing such leaks and paying for the water registered through the meter. If no other plausible explanation is found, your water meter can be tested to ensure it is working properly. The fee for this service is $100 if the meter is found to be operating within specifications, but there is no charge if the meter is found to be faulty.

Q: The curb stop (water shut-off at the street line) is high, making it difficult to cut the grass. Can I have it lowered?
A: Yes. Please call the Water & Sewer Section of the Public Works division at 905-468-3266 to request that the curb stop be lowered flush with ground level.

Q: Can I prune or cut down trees on Town properties?
A: No. Unauthorized individuals may not trim, prune or otherwise remove trees on the public road allowance or within parks or municipally owned properties. The Town has a policy and procedure with respect to removal of trees. If you are concerned about the condition of a tree(s) on the boulevard or other Town property, please contact the Roads Section of the Public Works division at 905-468-3266. For Parks, contact the Parks & Recreation division at 905-468-3266.  For more information regarding the Town's Tree By-law, please see link listed below.
Town's Tree By-Law 4571-12

Q: Where do I get a "Green 911 Emergency Sign" with our house number?
A: The green civic address signs that you see at the end of driveways on rural roads are not intended for streets within urban areas. If yours has been damaged or lost, please contact the Roads Section of the Public Works division at 905-468-3266 to request a replacement. There is no fee.

Q: Who do I contact regarding solid waste management services?
A: For information pertaining to leaf and yard waste collection, weekly garbage collections, blue box program, curbside collection of large household items and appliances, call the Regional Niagara Sold Waste Management Services information line at 905-356-4141 or toll free 1-800-594-5542 or visit their website www.niagararegion.ca/waste.

Q: What is the Town’s policy on roadside memorials?
A: Upon receipt of information that a roadside memorial has been placed on Town road allowance, staff will investigate and record the date of the traffic fatality and location. The memorial will be permitted to remain for the period indicated in this policy, unless it is found to be a physical hazard, a sight obstruction; or in conflict with municipal signs or drainage; in which case, the Roads supervisor will arrange for its removal. All memorials shall be removed 6 months after the date of the traffic fatality, as requested.

Q: What is the Town doing about “rusty” watermains?
A: A 5 year program is reviewed annually for the upgrading and replacement of water mains and other infrastructure. The Town has been aggressive in replacing cast iron mains which sometimes give water a rust colour. At the end of 2006, there will be a total of just under 20 kilometres of cast iron pipe remaining in the water distribution system (representing less than 12% of the total). These mains are located throughout the Town. At the present rate of replacement it will take another 9 years to completely eliminate cast iron mains. However, this is dependent on construction costs and availability of funds.

Q: Does the Town have a rain barrel program?
A: Beginning in October of 2006, the Town has a rain barrel program, however, it is limited to residents in the Niagara Urban Service Area study area which is generally bounded by William, Nassau, Queen and Regent Streets (see brochure under “What’s New” page). The program was initiated as part of the Town’s Remedial Action Plan to reduce/eliminate storm water and ground water inflow and infiltration into the sanitary sewer system. Town staff are scheduling home visits in the study area to identify possible storm water connections to the sanitary sewer system. Vouchers for up to two barrels at a reduced price of $15.00/each plus G.S.T. are being issued upon completion of their visit. Depending on the success of this pilot project, the program may be expanded to include other areas within the community.

Q: Where is my water meter?
A: If your home has a basement, the inside water meter is most likely located there. The water meter is located on the main water line. Look for the meter to be placed as close to the outside reading device as possible, which is connected by a wire leading into the building. If your home has a crawl space, the inside water meter will most likely be located there. In some cases the inside water meter is located near the laundry area, under the kitchen sink, near a hot water tank or outside in a chamber.

Q: How do I read my water meter?
A: On the face of your water meter, you should see numbers inside a rectangle. Similar to an automobile odometer, read the number from left to right including all zeros in front.

Q: How do I know if my water meter is reading properly?
A: Should your recorded water use change suddenly for no obvious reason (e.g. lawn watering, more people in the home, away for a long period of time), report this to the NOTL Hydro Billing Office so it can be investigated.

Q: When are the water meters read?
A: Actual meter readings are taken bi-monthly. Bills are produced monthly using estimated consumption for the month between readings. Don’t worry, the bill will be adjusted to reflect actual usage.

Q: How do I submit readings for estimate billing months?
A: If the meter reader has left you a yellow card we want you to read the meter and call in the reading. If you wish to submit a meter reading to avoid a scheduled estimated read please call the NOTL Hydro office at (905) 468-4235 during office hours and a Customer Service Representative will be pleased to help you.

Q: How do I check for a leak?
A: Start with your water meter reading. 1. Read your meter including the decimal point before going to bed. 2. Read your meter again when you get up. There should be no consumption during this time. The decimal point reading should not have moved. If the read does change, there is something in the home allowing water to flow through the meter. Usually the toilets are the culprit because we cannot see the leak. A leaking tap or shower can add up quickly. Leaks cost you money and waste water. To check for a toilet leak using regular food coloring: 1. Place a few drops of food colouring in your toilet tank — DO NOT FLUSH. 2. Wait anywhere from 5 – 10 minutes up to a couple of hours. 3. If the colouring shows up in the toilet bowl, you have a leak.

Q: Why am I getting requests for an appointment to read my meter?
A: If you have an inside meter, or if your outside meter is inaccessible, we have probably been estimating your reading every month for some time. We should read the meter every second month. This is to ensure that your billing is accurate and the meter is working correctly.

Q: The water shut-off at curbside is too high or too low.
A: Please contact the Public Works division at 905-468-3266 to have the curbside water shut-off raised or lowered.

Q: Who do I need to contact to have my water turned off/on?
A: If there is an internal problem such as a broken water pipe in your home or building, you can shut the water off at the main shut-off valve usually located in the basement. If the shut off valve is broken or you are unable to turn if off, contact the Public Works division at 905-468-3266 to shut off the water at the curb side. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to repair the inside shut off valve. The charge for water turn off/on (regular hours) is $35.00. The charge for water turn off/on (after hours) is $115.00.

Q: I have sold my house and need a final reading of the water meter and final bill.
A: Please contact the NOTL Hydro office at 905-468-4235 to arrange for the water meter reader to take a final reading and to have a final bill prepared.

Q: Who do I contact if I have no water?
A: The Public Works division can be contacted at 905-468-3266 during normal office hours and 905-468-3278 after hours.  A professional answering service will take calls during off hours, weekends, and holidays and will immediately contact on-call Public Works staff for all water emergencies.

Q: What are the rates based on?
A: The rates water and wastewater reflect the actual cost of providing safe drinking water and environmentally sound wastewater treatment and effluent disposal to its customers. These services have become more intensively regulated over the years as concerns over health and protection of the environment have grown. Rates and charges also reflect the cost of water purchased, utility financing, capital improvements, operation and administration.