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Catch Basins & Manholes

What are Catch Basins?

Catch basins with grates collect rainwater, melted snow and surface water that drain directly into the nearest creek or Lake Simcoe.  This water is NOT treated.   

Photo of storm sewer catchbasin grate

What are Manholes?

Manholes are used at designated intervals in a sewer line as a means of access for inspection or cleaning.  The manhole lid provides access to the sewer system.

Photo of sanitary sewer manhole lid

To learn more about the storm and sanitary sewer system check out the City of Barrie information brochure.

Yellow Fish Road Program

The Yellow Fish Road™ is a nation-wide environmental education initiative launched by Trout Unlimited Canada in 1991. The goal of Yellow Fish Road™ is to help Canadians understand that storm drains are the doorways to our rivers, lakes and streams.

Storm drains (catchbasins) are the grates found on the street by the curb.  Runoff and rain water drain into these grates and into Lake Simcoe.  What enters a storm drain is not treated to remove pollutants.

Participants in The Yellow Fish Road™ Program distribute fish shaped brochures on doors in the neighbourhood to educate the community about their actions and the rationale behind Yellow Fish Road™. Participants also paint yellow fish symbols next to storm drains as a reminder that anything that enters the storm sewer system ends up in the lake.

How to Participate in the Program

The Yellow Fish RoadTM program is a fun and interactive way to teach the importance of clean water and to demonstrate how decisions made by one person can make a difference to a whole community. The program is effective because children reinforce the knowledge they have gained by taking action to help ensure that there is clean water in their community.

City of Barrie groups or individuals can participate by obtaining permission to stencil storm drains from the City of Barrie Environmental Operations Department.   After permission is granted from the Municipality, the participant must contact to indicate their interest in participating in a painting activity.  Yellow Fish Road staff will contact the participant to help organize a storm drain stenciling event.

The impact of this program benefits the community's water source for drinking water, commerce and recreation. It also provides tremendous benefits to animal and aquatic species who use the lake and creeks for food, shelter and reproductive purposes.

For more information: visit

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