Stormwater Management Ponds

The City of Vaughan operates and maintains more than 150 stormwater management ponds, which are designed and built to collect rainfall and other runoff.

a stormwater pond

About stormwater management ponds

After rain or snowfall, the water left behind on roads, sidewalks, grass and pathways is called “stormwater.” This is ordinarily absorbed into the ground by plants and soil. However, pavement and other hard surfaces — such as driveways, sidewalks and roofs — can interfere with this absorption, leading to water pooling or flooding.


To help prevent this problem, the City of Vaughan operates and maintains stormwater management ponds throughout Vaughan. These are human-made areas that gather and retain rainfall and surface water runoff. The ponds are usually found in neighbourhoods where stormwater can easily be collected. The City manages more than 150 stormwater ponds.


Stormwater ponds can be either wet or dry and are designed to temporarily hold water before releasing it slowly back into the environment at a controlled rate. A dry pond remains dry until a rain event, which may result in the temporarily retention of stormwater. A wet pond holds water all the time and collects and stores runoff from rain and melted snow. Wet ponds collect sediment so only clean water is released back into rivers, creeks and lakes.


How stormwater ponds work

Stormwater ponds have at least one inlet that allows water to flow from the storm sewer system into the pond. Once the stormwater drains into the stormwater pond, any of the sand, dirt and other sediments swept up in the stormwater settle to the bottom of the pond. The pond's outlet releases water into a nearby creek system at a controlled rate. This process helps make the water cleaner when it leaves the pond and goes back into rivers, creeks and lakes.


Of note, this water is not treated at a treatment plant before entering the water cycle again; therefore, everyone must do their part to keep it clean by ensuring only rain goes down the drain.


Benefits of stormwater ponds

Stormwater ponds have many benefits, including:

  • reducing flooding on streets and in greenspaces
  • protecting the natural environment from contaminants and erosion
  • protecting rivers, creeks and lakes by trapping pollutants such as oil, pesticides, bacteria and trash
  • creating a habitat for wildlife


Staying safe in the winter

Frozen stormwater pond with snow on top
Animated graphic describing why it's not safe to skate on a stormwater pond. Person skating has an x through the picture.


Stormwater management ponds may look safe to walk and skate on, but they are not. They are dangerous due to water constantly flowing in and out of the pond underneath. These ever-changing water levels make the thickness of the ice highly unstable and unpredictable, which is a safety hazard. Please keep off the ice.


Looking for a safe place to skate in Vaughan? Check out one of the City’s outdoor skating rinks at


Staying safe in the summer

These ponds may look safe for fishing, swimming or playing around, but they are not made for recreational use. Keep a safe distance away. The ponds temporarily hold water before releasing it slowly back into the environment at a controlled rate. This process means water constantly flows in and out of the pond, so water levels are always changing, making any activity in or around it unsafe. The bottom of stormwater ponds is also very soft, and anyone, including pets, who enters may quickly become stuck.


Looking for a safe place to swim and play? Visit or for a list of locations.


The following activities are not permitted on the City’s stormwater pond property:

  • planting gardens or cutting grass on pond property
  • storing yard materials on pond property
  • installing gates to access pond property from fenced yards.
  • disposing of grass clippings, yard waste or garbage on pond property or into the pond
  • disturbing plants and vegetation around the pond
  • disposing of pet fish in the pond
  • disposing of swimming pool water and chemicals on pond property or in the pond


Stormwater pond maintenance

Each of these ponds needs to be properly maintained to control the water flow. Year-round, routine maintenance includes removal of debris in and around the pond that may impede water flow, removal of invasive vegetation, and maintenance of structures such as inlets and outlets. Additionally, from May to October, three rounds of litter pickup and grass cutting are completed at each pond to ensure staff have unobstructed access for operational purposes.


Did you know, the vegetation growing around stormwater ponds, such as long grass, shrubs and trees, are integral to how the ponds function? This is because they:

  • act as safety barriers for pedestrians.
  • discourage geese from landing in ponds.
  • improve water quality.
  • filter out coarse sediments (like sand or gravel) and pollutants from the water.
  • stabilize the ground when water levels fluctuate.


Reporting an issue

Notice a stormwater pond that requires attention? Report issues, including any odours, beaver activity (damming) or high water levels Service Vaughan.


Let's keep our stormwater ponds clean

Littering and illegal dumping are prohibited under the City’s Dumping By-law 103-2020 (PDF). If you witness either of these actions at a stormwater pond, please report it to Service Vaughan at 905-832-2281 or


Have you noticed a visible sheen or film on the surface of a pond or abnormal water colour within a stormwater pond? This may be a sign of an environmental spill. If you see signs of an environmental spill, immediately notify the City by phone at 905-832-2281. When reporting, please provide as much information as possible, such as the exact location or nearest address, what it is or looks like, if you saw how the spill happened and how long it may have been there.