How Can Canadian Municipalities Better Fund Their Stormwater Services?

Amidst budget deficits and the grip of the current pandemic, Canadian governments at all levels, are under extreme pressure. Consequently, many construction and remediation projects are being postponed; and, with current unemployment reaching double digits, it will inevitably continue to get worse. Many citizens will likely have trouble just paying their property taxes. Plus, in many municipalities and neighbourhoods, residential water bills will include a monthly $25 “stormwater fee.”

Think of that for a moment. Taxpayers are actually paying for rainfall. The reason? Insufficient budgets and funding shortfalls related to storm sewers and stormwater management.

Steel spiral rib pipe was introduced in Canada in the 1990s; this smooth internal wall steel pipe features a Manning’s n of .012 and a ribbed external wall. Throughout the past 25 years the usage of spiral rib on municipal projects has lowered the costs of materials, transportation and installation, while providing significant savings to municipalities. Those improvements have, in turn, been accepted and approved, and are now included in product standards. Despite these benefits, there are still many municipal engineering departments who will not approve spiral rib use for their standards. This refusal continues, even after product application submissions, presentations, question and answer periods, further technical document and case study submissions, and follow up.

If you have read this far, you may wonder why.

Here are some actual responses from Municipal Engineers;

  1. “We have not moved towards using Spiral Rib for storm sewers or culverts.”
  2. “Please show a project using Spiral Rib in our municipality.”
  3. Although they had never actually used spiral rib polymer laminated pipe, one municipality incorrectly cited this as a technical disadvantage, specifically: “shorter product lifespans and product failures.”

  4. “We are not obligated to add a product.” Not obligated to taxpayers? As stewards of our tax money, surely all government officials should remain open to finding new and better ways to stretch our dollars as far as possible.
  5. “We will get to your application – too busy right now” (for more than a year now)
Thus, we have encountered biased, subjective opinions and judgments based on misunderstandings and/or misinformation. It is time to do better.

In reality, Spiral Rib pipe offers municipalities many advantages, including:  
  1. Cost effective – substantial savings to taxpayers
  2. Sustainability – the lowest carbon footprint of any pipe material available
  3. Resilient – optional coatings can provide 75 to 100-year service life
  4. Strong – suitable for a wide range of loading conditions
  5. Longer lengths – means fewer joints
  6. Versatile – accommodates a wide variety of shapes and sizes for virtually every application
If you want to lower your storm water costs, please email Ray Wilcock at

Product comparisons, research & white papers, technical documents & field studies, product brochures and case studies can be accessed here.

I, Ray Wilcock, am a taxpayer– just like you! I want to see my city and all cities in Canada do right by their citizens, by doing their due diligence and being open to all opportunities, innovations and improvements. Allowing healthy competition, alternative materials leads to better pricing and overall cost savings.

Unfortunately, this is currently not the case among many jurisdictions.


Ray Wilcock
Executive Director of the CSPI

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