by Jack Lakey

One of the dumbest things a home renovator can do is to dump leftover paint and solvents into a storm sewer.

Not only is it a pollutant that cannot be removed in the stormwater treatment process, petroleum-based paints and solvents also cause fumes that can back up through basement floor drains and into homes.

Last year, we wrote about a family who were nearly driven out of their home when choking fumes from something that smelled like gasoline wafted out of their floor drain and made them woozy.

The residents noticed the same smell from storm drains on their street, which prompted an investigation by Toronto Water’s environmental unit that confirmed a petroleum-based substance had been dumped.