Residential Guide to Flood Prevention and Recovery

Emergencies, such as flooding, can happen at any time. The City’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM), which prepares the City to manage complex incidents, emergencies and disasters and has created a usefulResidential Guide to Flood Prevention and Recovery. I encourage you and your family to have a look at this guide and ensure you are prepared in the event of a flooding event. Here are some highlights from the guide: 

Flood Facts

  • Floods are one of the most common hazards in Canada.
  • A heavy rainfall can result in flooding, particularly when the ground is still frozen or already saturated from previous storms. * Severe storms can cause flash flooding with little or no advance warning. *
  • All creeks experience flooding at one time or another. The potential for flood damage is high for houses and businesses constructed on low-lying, flood-prone lands.
  • Over the past 60 years, average temperatures and average rainfalls in Canada have both increased. Together these have led to more extreme weather, such as severe storms and floods.

Types of flooding

If you’ve experienced flooding, it’s important to know what type of water is in the basement and understand what caused it so you know what steps to take to help prevent it from happening again. The main types of residential flooding are:

  1. Overland Flooding (flooding as a result of creeks or rivers overflowing onto dry land)
  2. Foundation Flooding (may be groundwater or water from roof drainage entering basement through cracks in basement walls or foundation (usally clear with no odour)
  3. Wastewater backup (greyish in colour and typically has an odour)
  4. Stormwater sewer backup (can reduce ability for foundation weeping tiles to drain (usually clear, may have an odour

  Flood Prevention

  • Have a drainage contractor visit your home to inspect your lateral with a Closed Circuit TV (CCTV).
  • Never pour kitchen grease, fats or oils into your house drains because they may solidify in your plumbing system. Also, do not put objects down the toilet or drains that your plumbing system was never intended to handle.
  • Consider a sanitary wastewater backflow preventer valve to reduce the risk of sewage backup into your basement.
  • Disconnect roof downspouts, if connected to wastewater lateral, to reduce flows to the sanitary lateral and the wastewater sewer.
  • Improve lot grading, making sure that the ground slopes away from your exterior walls.
  • Maintain all original property swales to divert water away from your home.
  • Where possible, disconnect your roof downspouts and divert the stormwater at least 2 meters (6ft) away from your home to a vegetated, safe discharge point away from adjacent property lines, sidewalks, or building foundations.
  • Check for and reduce leaks in walls, floors and windows or foundation.
  • Ensure that gardens next to your basement walls do not create dams that retain water next to the house.
  • Clean leaves and other debris from eaves troughs and downspouts to ensure proper drainage.
  • In winter, shovel ice and snow at least 2 meters (6ft) away from basement walls.
  • If your home is located within a regulatory flood plain, contact your local conservation authority (Credit Valley Conservation, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority or Conservation Halton) to learn more about protecting your home from flooding.

To view the Residential Guide to Flood Prevention and Recovery and for more information about emergency management, please visit .

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