It has become evident that the frequency and severity of weather events over the last few years has increased significantly. These high intensity storms may surcharge both municipal and private storm/sanitary sewers which could result in localized flooding on Municipal and private property. Actions that residents can take to help protect their homes from flooding include the following:

  • Disconnect downspouts from your storm private drain connection1 (P.D.C) and add extensions to direct the water to a permeable surface, such as lawns and gardens (not driveways and sidewalks), and away from your house. Water should not be directed towards, or negatively impact, adjacent properties. It is also imperative that the property is graded so as to not direct rainwater back toward the residence, but instead be stored in the permeable surfaces.

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  • Disconnect sump-pump from the storm P.D.C1 by directing the water to a permeable surface, as mentioned above. The same precautions should be taken for the sump-pump discharge as the downspout. Optionally, the sump-pump can also be equipped with a check valve to prevent backflow of water.  The pump may also have a battery (or water) powered backup in the event of hydro failure.
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  • Maintain eavestroughs and downspouts. Ensure they are not clogged with leaves and other debris as this can allow water to pour over the sides of the eaves and fall close to your home, possibly running down the foundation, or entering window wells.
  • If there is a rear yard catch basin on the property, ensure it is clear of debris, in good working condition, and that the property is graded so as to direct water towards it. This will allow your site to drain at a rate that the municipal infrastructure can handle. With proper grading, the excess water will pond in your grassed areas and landscaping, instead of backing up in your basement.
  • Seal cracks in foundation walls and basement floor.
  • Avoid pouring fats, oils and grease down the drains that can clog your sanitary P.D.C1.
  • Reduce home water usage during significant rainfall events.
  • Ensure storm services (weeping tiles, downspouts, sump pump, etc.) are not connected to your sanitary P.D.C1. This can surcharge the Municipal Sanitary system during heavy rainfalls and cause sewage backup into basements.
  • Install a backwater valve on your sanitary P.D.C1 once it has been confirmed no storm services are connected. This will reduce the risk of sewage backup into your home.
  • Ensure both storm and sanitary P.D.C's1, which connect your home's plumbing to the Municipal sewer system, are in good working condition. Things to look for include cracks, root growth, loose joints, and clogging. The best way to inspect these laterals is to have a licenced plumber flush and camera inspect them.
  • If you are in close proximity to farmland, ensure there are no old field tiles in close proximity to your foundation. If found, they should be excavated and plugged as far away from your foundation as possible.
  • Install window wells around all basement windows. This will improve drainage, and prevent window sills from rotting. If there is a potential for large volumes of water to spill into the well, covers should also be installed.

Several excellent documents that explain the impact severe rainfall events are having on existing infrastructure for many Municipalities can be found on the website listed below. These documents describe some of the above recommendations in greater detail, as well as provide additional recommendations. These documents were authored by Dan Sandink from the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR).

Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction

Protect your home from Basement Flooding

1 Most homes have 2 types of private drain connections (or P.D.C). There is a P.D.C for all storm or ground water (examples include sump pump connections, down spouts, weeping tiles, rear yard catch basins), as well as a P.D.C for all sanitary connections (examples include toilets, sinks, floor drains, showers). The P.D.C's direct the storm or sanitary from your home/property to the Municipal sewers typically located within the road allowance. Sometimes items that should be connected to your storm P.D.C are actually connected to the sanitary P.D.C, which is not recommended or acceptable. If you are unsure of your existing connections, it is best to hire a licenced plumber to flush and camera inspect them.