Stormwater Management Master Plan

The intent of the Stormwater Master Plan is to prepare a practical and implementable framework which balances the requirements of proposed and existing development with infrastructure requirements, economic, social and environmental constraints and opportunities.

The City is broadly divided into 15 watersheds. As part of this master plan, stormwater management strategies were developed for 14 of the watersheds (which include areas serviced by separated sewer system). The remaining watershed (Central Business District areas south of Hamilton Harbour, north of King Street E/Concession Street, east of Dundurn Street and west of Parkdale Avenue) is serviced by combined sewer system and is covered under the Integrated Water and Wastewater Master Plan for the Lake Based Systems.

The purpose of the Stormwater Management Master Plan is to:

  • Develop the management guidelines for the maintenance/replacement of the City’s existing separated storm sewer systems and for design of proposed systems.
  • Develop and implement appropriate strategies in order to protect, enhance and restore the natural resources of the watersheds located within the City under present conditions and as land use changes occur in the future.

Introduction

On January 1, 2001 the six municipalities (City of Hamilton, Town of Dundas, City of Stoney Creek, Town of Ancaster, Township of Glanbrook and Town of Flamborough) forming the Regional Municipality of Hamilton Wentworth were amalgamated to form the new City of Hamilton. Prior to amalgamation, the responsibility of the former Region for storm drainage, aside from providing engineering services to the former City of Hamilton, extended only to Regional Roads. Each of the former municipalities managed its own storm drainage system, and set its own storm drainage policies and guidelines. Local differences related to physical setting or past development resulted in differences between the policies and guidelines of the former municipalities.

A majority of the areas within the City have been managed effectively from a stormwater quantity perspective. Historical programs and associated works have included management of urbanization through flood plain management, channelization and the design and construction of flood control storage facilities. However, other aspects of stormwater management (see Figure ES-1) which relate to water quality, erosion, fisheries, groundwater and protection of natural features have, in general, not been dealt with on a comprehensive basis.

In 2003, City Council supported the initiative of coordinating all aspects of development of our community through the Building a Strong Foundation (BASF) program. One of the many integral parts of BASF is to ensure that the City’s stormwater plan not only meets the current and future needs of the community and the environment, but is coordinated with the Transportation and Water/Wastewater Master Plans through the Growth Related Infrastructure Development Strategy (GRIDS) program. The GRIDS program is cognizant of VISION 2020 and with the development of the new Official Plan will ensure the objectives of BASF can be achieved. Figure ES-2 illustrates the interrelationships between these initiatives.

In light of the above, the Stormwater Master Plan, together with the Water/Wastewater and Transportation Master Plans was initiated in 2004. The intent of the Stormwater Master Plan is to prepare a practical and implementable framework which balances the requirements of proposed and existing development with infrastructure requirements, economic, social and environmental constraints and opportunities. All three Master Plans were used as a basis for evaluating the social, economic and environmental impacts of Alternative Growth Scenarios as developed through the GRIDS process and to assist in the selection of the Preferred Growth Scenario. 

Study Principle, Goals and Objectives

The study principle and goals may be defined as follows:

Guiding Principle 
  • Treat rainwater as a resource to be protected and managed, rather than a waste product to be quickly moved from where it falls.
Goals
  1. To develop management guidelines for the maintenance/replacement of the City’s existing separated storm sewer systems and for design of proposed systems. 
  2. To develop and implement appropriate strategies in order to protect, enhance and restore the natural resources of the watersheds located within the City under present conditions and as land use changes occur in the future. 

The objectives of the Master Plan were defined as follows: 

  • To characterize existing environmental conditions on a watershed basis 
  • To determine the existing storm trunk sewer system capacity for areas serviced by separate storm and sanitary sewers 
  • To develop a study principle, goals and objectives 
  • To develop and assess Alternative Stormwater Management Strategies 
  • To select and describe a Preferred Stormwater Strategy 
  • To develop an Implementation Plan 
Study Area

There are two general study areas that have been defined for this study. The first area (Figure ES-3) relates to the area of the City that is serviced by separate storm sewers (the Water/Wastewater Master Plan addresses areas serviced by combined sewer systems). This area will be considered when 
addressing issues relating to existing storm sewer capacity or the potential impacts of land use change on sewer capacity. 

The second area (Figure ES-4) includes the entire City of Hamilton (urban and rural areas). Within the City there are 15 watersheds, and associated tributaries and creeks, as well as several receiving bodies of water including Cootes Paradise, Hamilton Harbour and the Welland River. This area will be considered when assessing existing environmental conditions or impacts on the environment associated with existing or proposed land uses. 

Urban land uses within the City of Hamilton comprise approximately 15 percent of the total land area. Of the remaining 85 percent, approximately 61 percent of the lands are classified as rural. Proposed development, which includes the development of vacant lands within the existing Official Plan and lands outside the existing urban boundary, will increase the percentage of urban lands from 15 percent to 21 percent. 

See Chapter 1 below for the full Executive Summary

Stormwater Management Master Plan

Chapter 1 – Introduction (PDF, 9.3 MB)
Chapter 2 – Study Area Description and Existing Conditions (PDF, 5 MB)
Chapter 3 – Study Goals and Objectives (PDF, 64 KB)
Chapter 4 – Development of Long List of Alternatives (PDF, 1.6 MB)
Chapter 5 – Development of Storm Sewer System and Watershed Models (PDF, 3.8 MB)
Chapter 6 – Public Consultation (PDF, 62 MB)
Chapter 7 – Evaluation of Alternative Growth Options (PDF, 3.6 MB)
Chapter 8 – Development and Assessment of Alternative Management Strategies (PDF, 2.9 MB)
Chapter 9 – Public Consultation (PDF, 62 MB)
Chapter 10 – Description of the Preferred Stormwater Management Strategy (PDF, 9.3 MB)
Chapter 11 – Implementation (PDF, 232 KB)

A CD copy of the report is available for purchase at $5.00 by contacting 905-546-2424 ext. 4101 or sending an email request to eplanning@hamilton.ca.