Spring is finally here and along with it comes the messy remains of winter. Whether you’re tidying inside your home or prepping your yard for spring gardening, here are some tips for keeping your home and neighbourhood clean and green for the summer.
Keep your spring purge green
Planning on purging some stuff from your home during spring cleaning? Don’t just throw all the items you no longer need or want in the garbage. There are greener options like donating, selling, upcycling, repairing or repurposing. See ottawa.ca/wastereduction for tons of tips on how to keep items out of the landfill.
If you have items like propane cylinders or pool chemicals you no longer need, one-day household hazardous waste events are back starting on Sunday, April 24. To view the full list of event dates and what items count as hazardous waste, visit ottawa.ca/hwh.
Help keep our rivers clean! Please avoid pouring hazardous waste down sinks, catch basins or stormwater drains as they can go straight into the river. Not sure where you should dispose of certain items? You can look them up in the Waste Explorer tool.
Spongy moth awareness
Spongy moths are an invasive species that can lead to the defoliation of trees. Recent observations and egg mass surveys in the Ottawa area indicate its populations are increasing as part of a cyclical outbreak. The current outbreak is expected to last two to three years, with defoliation expected in 2022 as spongy moth populations in Ottawa approach a peak. If you spot spongy moth egg masses while cleaning your yard, you can help curb their numbers by scraping them off your trees, logs and outdoor furniture and placing the eggs in soapy water for a couple days.
|It’s important not to mix these up with beneficial insects and pollinators that might also be gearing up for the spring. To learn how to identify spongy moths and how you can protect your trees this year, visit ottawa.ca/spongymoth.|
Snow melt and spring showers
Melting snow, leaves and debris can make the perfect flooding conditions on roads, pathways and sidewalks. To prevent this, City crews have been clearing catch basins, culverts and ditches. If you notice a blocked catch basin, please take a minute to clear it to help prevent roads from pooling.
If you live in a low-lying area prone to flooding, stay in-the-know about the spring flooding situation by visiting ottawa.ca/springflooding, or by joining the dedicated Facebook group. Please avoid going near bodies of water during the spring thaw as the ice is unstable and banks can be a slipping hazard.
Prevent basement flooding from spring melt and summer’s heavy rains
Preventing basement flooding is important during the spring snow melt, but it is a smart move for any summer or fall storms that are accompanied by heavy rains.
Follow these steps to help prevent basement flooding:
- Keep an eye on low-lying areas of your property and make sure any items you have near the waterside are properly stored away. This prevents your property from being swept away into the river.
- Seal window wells and cracks in floors, walls and foundation.
- Slope the ground away from the foundation to allow rainwater to flow away from the home.
- Direct downspouts from eavestroughs away from the foundation (a minimum of 1.2 metres) or to a rain barrel.
- Disconnect downspouts from the sewer system or foundation drains.
- If you have a sump pump, make sure it’s connected to the storm sewer or discharges to the ground at least 1.2 metres from the foundation.
- More tips and information can be found online at ottawa.ca.
The often-forgotten backwater valves
If your home was built after 2004, it will have a backwater valve to prevent water leaving your home from being able to go back in. What many homeowners often forget, or are unaware of, is that their backwater valve should be checked and cleaned every year.
A protective plumbing device should be maintained periodically or before a forecasted heavy rainfall to ensure it is free of debris, functioning properly and that cleanout caps and access covers are firmly secured. You can perform maintenance yourself by following the manufacturer’s directions or contact a licensed plumber to ensure it’s working properly. For more tips on backwater valve maintenance, visit ottawa.ca.
Residential Protective Plumbing Program
For eligible homeowners who do not have protective plumbing devices, such as backwater valves, the City’s Residential Protective Plumbing Program offers a rebate. Visit ottawa.ca for more eligibility information.