Weather the storm: Prepare your home from urban flooding

Published on
July 9, 2024
Water and environment

Feature Story

Summer is here, and while the temperature is rising, so is the potential for urban flooding during significant rainfall events.

You may not know when a storm will hit or how severe it may be. One example is the potential for heavy rainfall due to the remnants of Hurricane Beryl that is forecasted in Ottawa this week. Prior to any storm, there are actions residents can take to protect their homes and help mitigate the impact of significant rainfall events and the potential of flooding on your property.

Prepare your home before the storm

There are many ways you can proactively prepare your home to reduce the risk of flooding, some of which include:

  • Install protective plumbing devices, such as backwater valves to protect against basement flooding caused by increased flows in City sewers.
  • Maintain your protective plumbing devices frequently. This is extremely important to ensure that they function as intended when you need them the most.
  • Seal window wells and any cracks in floors, walls, and/or your foundation.
  • Direct downspouts from eavestroughs away from your foundation (minimum of 1.2 metres) or to a rain barrel.
  • Clean out your eavestroughs regularly to avoid blockages.
  • Disconnect downspouts from the sewer system or foundation drains.
  • Clear debris from the catch basin on your property (driveway or rear yard).

What to do in the event of a flood

Should you experience basement flooding during a storm, we recommend:

  • Stay safe. Do not enter the flooded area until a qualified professional has determined it is safe to enter.
  • Be sure to wear protective clothing and wash thoroughly after any contact with flood water, due to potential bacteria and viruses.
  • Avoid using fixtures and appliances which require water until after the issue has been resolved, as any water sent down the drain may end up in your basement.
  • Contact your gas and hydro companies if the water has come into contact with your utilities.
  • Contact your insurance company.
  • Contact 3-1-1 to report your flood. Data and information collected from storm-related flooding will help inform City staff of future risks.
  • Dispose of materials such as drywall, carpets, and furniture which were exposed to flood water and cannot be dried.

Learn more

By taking these preventative measures and staying informed, Ottawa residents can significantly reduce the risk of flood damage to their homes. For comprehensive flood-related information, including infographics, tips and additional resources, visit or For information on rebates for backwater valves and other protective plumbing devices, visit

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