Protect Your Home: Flood Prevention Strategies With Help from The City of Toronto
On August 19, 2005, a one-hour storm showered so much rain on The City of Toronto that the Finch Avenue Bridge over Black Creek collapsed.
On July 8, 2013, 126 millimetres of rainfall was recorded at Pearson International Airport. Environment Canada reported two different storms cells, and ranked third on the list of Canada’s most expensive natural disasters.
In each of these cases, hundreds of Torontonians experienced something that no homeowner ever wants to deal with: a flooded basement. Tragically, up until May 2015, Canadians couldn’t even buy flood insurance protection, so monetary damage was submitted to the city (if it was a backed up sewer) or covered completely out-of-pocket.
Luckily, there are efficient plumbing solutions that residential property owners can take to ensure that their home or building is protected from stormwater backups caused by ageing city sewer lines. Furthermore, for homeowners, The City of Toronto established the Basement Flooding Protection Program in 2006 to offer subsidies to update their sewer lines to protect their property.
But what causes basement flooding, how can it be prevented, and who qualifies for the subsidy?
With ageing infrastructure, comes homeowner tragedy
As part of a 25-year plan starting in 2004, The City of Toronto initiated the Wet Weather Flow Master Plan (WWFMP).
One of their primary priorities is to protect homes from basement flooding.
They acknowledge that the cities sewers are ageing; the sewage systems can’t hold stormwater and ends up backing up into homes and businesses, and initial installations such as weeping tiles and downspouts contribute to basement flooding.
- The initial WWFMP report announced that the original sewer infrastructure, when supercharged by stormwater runoff, would backup into homes and seep into the sanitary laterals of water storage.
- Overflowing foundation drains can also cause structural damage to the foundation and walls due to external pressure on the house.
- Overland drainage systems that cannot hold storm runoff can cause pooling of water on roadways and on private property — where the water can then enter through windows or walls.
If you do find yourself with a flooded basement from extreme weather this winter, emergency service plumbing is your best option to immediately save your home from excessive water damage.
However, the best course of action is to stop it before it even happens.
How can you prevent it from happening to you?
Updating your backwater valve, installing a sump pump, and capping foundation drains are suggested methods of preventing stormwater from entering your home. Luckily for homeowners, the Basement Flooding Protection Program offers up to $3,400 in subsidies to assist in the cost of these upgrades.
Other preventative maintenance options include:
- Removing debris from downspouts.
- Fixing cracks in your home’s foundation.
- Ensuring that the ground slopes away from your home towards the street.
- Diverting downspouts away from the home.
Having these systems updated is especially integral after a long, snowy winter when melting snow can cause pools of water to enter your home.
Integrated into the Toronto Water budget for 2016 is $67.754 million for flooding protection projects.
Acknowledging that flood and sewer damage is a problem, the city is undergoing a number of prevention tactics from their end that include proper street sweeping to remove debris, additional stormwater runoff storage solutions, and extensive sewer repair throughout Toronto.
But you need to also upgrade the fixtures and sewage system on your property.
The work that is eligible for reimbursement includes:
- Backwater valve: installation, replacement, or alarms at 80% to a maximum of $1,250.
- Sump pump: installation, replacement, alarms, and backup power at 80% to a maximum of $1.750.
- Foundation drain pipe severage and capping: disconnection of foundation drains and the capping of underground sewer connection at 80% to a maximum of $400.
How can you, as a homeowner, take advantage of this subsidy?
Firstly, it’s incredibly important that any sewer repair services in Toronto are done by a professional, certified, and accredited plumber. If they aren’t a registered business with the city, your application will get rejected.
Download the application here and make sure that every section is answered correctly. Your CPL technician will gladly help to make sure your forms are filled out in full.
If you’re installing a backwater valve, a permit must be obtained from The City of Toronto for the construction and, once completed, approved by a city inspector. Once it’s been approved, you can then submit your invoices to the city for reimbursement.
Things to make sure to follow when claiming a reimbursement:
- That your plumber or contractor is a business registered with The City of Toronto.
- That your invoice clearly states what the work was for, when it was done, and includes all of your plumbers business information — and you must include the originals.
- Your downspouts must be disconnected from the city’s sewer system.
- You must be the property owner of a single-family residential duplex, or triplex within city limits.
- Your application must be submitted within one year of completing the work.
- You cannot have any outstanding debt owed to the city.
Offering efficient plumbing solutions and emergency sewer repair, Canadian Pipe Lining Technologies want to make sure that you understand all your options before undergoing a project. Our certified technicians are determined to help you make the best decision for your property. We want to make sure that your biggest investment is properly protected from extreme weather.
Get in touch with one of our representatives today to discuss how we can help you outfit your basement with the best in flood prevention technologies.