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Spring flooding 2021

Current situation

Updated Wednesday, April 7

Water levels and flows continue to slowly recede in most areas along the Ottawa River. The general trend, for the full length of the river, is for a steady decrease in flows and levels as the remaining spring runoff in the central part of the basin recedes.City crews will continue to monitor areas for response as required.

If your property is at risk call 3-1-1. If it is an emergency situation, call 9-1-1.

For information on water levels and flood plains, see the following websites:

Questions you should ask yourself at the start of flooding season

Sandbags

The City of Ottawa provides sand and sandbags to residents who live in areas prone to Spring flooding at various locations across the City. Sand and sandbags have been removed at this time as the 2021 Freshet season has passed.

Tips to prevent basement flooding

Residents can help prevent basement flooding with a few simple changes around the home:

  • Seal window wells and cracks in floors, walls and the foundation.
  • Slope ground away from the foundation to allow rainwater to flow away from the home.
  • Direct downspouts from eaves troughs away from the foundation (minimum of 1.2 metres) or to a rain barrel.
  • Disconnect downspouts from the sewer system or foundation drains.
  • Ensure foundation drains direct water to the storm sewer or sump pump. Foundation drains should not be connected to the sanitary sewer.
  • Ensure the sump pump is connected to the storm sewer or discharges to the ground at least 1.2 metres from the foundation.
  • Install protective plumbing devices, such as backwater valves which protect against surcharging in City sewers. The City’s Residential Protective Plumbing Program offer rebates to qualified homeowners.
  • Maintain existing protective plumbing devices according to the manufacturer’s instructions. A protective plumbing device should be maintained periodically or before a forecasted heavy rainfall to ensure it is free of debris, functioning properly and that cleanout caps and access covers are firmly secured.
    • In older homes, especially those with cast iron pipes, additional maintenance may be required, as rust can accumulate at the hinge and prevent proper closure of the backwater valve during a surcharge event.
    • For more tips on backwater valve maintenance, refer to a video on Backwater Valve Maintenance from the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction.

For more tips on preventing basement flooding, refer to the Handbook for Reducing Basement Flooding from the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction.