Tips to prevent floods and damage

  • Residents can help prevent basement flooding – and reduce the negative effects of flood damage – with a few simple changes around the home: Slope ground away from the foundation to allow rainwater to flow away from the home.
  • Seal window wells and cracks in floors, walls and the foundation.
  • Direct water from downspouts attached to eavestroughs at least 1.2 metres away from the foundation. Downspouts should never be embedded in the ground, or connected to the sewer system or footing drains.
  • Direct water from downspouts and eavestroughs to a rain barrel.  Install a rain barrel to reduce stormwater run-off and capture rain water for future use.
  • Ensure footing drains direct water to a storm sewer or sump pump, away from the foundation. Footing drains should not be connected to the sanitary sewer system.
  • Ensure the sump pump is connected to the storm sewer system or empties onto the lawn at least 1.2 metres from the foundation wall.
  • Ensure water run-off on the property is flowing to the ground surface or storm drainage system, not the sanitary system.
  • Install protective plumbing devices (such as backwater valves) that protect against sewer backups, and inspect them regularly.
  • Seal and tighten cleanout caps and backwater valve caps.
  • Ensure service pipes between the municipal sewer line and the house are in good operating condition.
  • Do not keep valuables or important documents in the basement; otherwise protect them in water tight or water resistant containers.
  • Prepare an emergency survival kit that includes food, water and medical supplies in an easy-to-carry container. Pack a battery-powered radio and spare batteries, as well as the following items:
    • Flashlight with spare batteries
    • Warm clothing, including waterproof outer garments and footwear
    • Blankets
    • All necessary medications
    • Infant care items
    • Personal toiletries
    • Identification for each member of the household
    • Important personal and family documents

Reducing sewer backups – protective plumbing

Protective plumbing prevents water and sewage from entering your home through sewer connections during rising water levels in City sewers. These methods can range from installing a sump pump and changing the footing drains around your foundation to installing an approved backwater valve on the sewer pipes connecting your sanitary sewer to the City sewers.

Protective plumbing that is installed and maintained properly will significantly reduce the chance of a basement backup in your home caused by the surcharging or blockage of the sewer system.

The best and the recommended solution to reduce the possibility of sewage backing up into your basement is to install an approved full port backwater valve. This protective plumbing device is designed to allow the flow of waste in one direction only; i.e. flow from the property towards the sewer line under the street.

The installation of a backwater valve must be done by a qualified plumber and conform to the building code. A building permit is required for any modification to the plumbing system.

Residential Protective Plumbing program

This program can help homeowners who have experienced a sewer backup by evaluating what protective plumbing methods may avoid future backups and offers grants to help install protective plumbing devices.

The evaluation is free. Individual homeowners or condominium corporations may be eligible for the grant.