Jessica Hellard, Broker

#FloodFacts to Help Prevent Basement Flooding and Sewer Backups

Get the #FloodFacts to help prevent basement flooding and sewer backups

Kingston flood

If you have a basement, it is at risk of flooding and sewer backups – even if it’s never flooded before. The risk is greatest during heavy rainfalls, like Kingston has experienced in recent months. Homeowners can take actions to protect their properties and Utilities Kingston offers guidance and support to assist customers.

The utility company provides public education – and the popular Preventative Plumbing Program – and wants customers to know how to protect their basements from the risk of flooding during autumn rains:

  • This fall, keep eavestroughs, downspouts and catch basins clear of leaves to help rainwater run safely away from your home.
  • Make sure downspouts are properly connected. In most cases, they should drain over the lawn (in accordance with the City’s Sewer Use Bylaw), at least two metres away from your house. This helps reduce basement flooding in your neighbourhood.
  • Pick a rainy day to walk around your property and look for places where water is pooling or even getting into your home.
  • Consider installing a sump pump system to remove excess water (make sure it drains only onto your lawn or into the storm sewer, in accordance with the City’s Sewer Use Bylaw).
  • Check your sewer lateral. Homeowners own the sewer pipe from the home’s plumbing system to the property line. This sewer lateral should be regularly maintained. Talk to a licensed plumber, who can carry out an assessment.
  • Installing a backwater valve on the sanitary sewer lateral may help prevent sewer back-ups, if installed, operated and maintained in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. Tips:
    • The devices must be installed in accordance with manufacturer directions and Ontario building code, in an accessible location.
    • Check and clean the devices frequently, following the type and frequency of maintenance, as per manufacturer recommendations. Email Utilities Kingston to receive a maintenance label to affix to your device: community@utilitieskingston.com.
    • If it’s raining heavily, reduce your water use. The sewers may be filling due to the heavy rains and the device gate may close to block sewage from backing up into your home.  The opposite is also true – sewage from your home cannot get out, either.
    • Get more information online.
  • Talk to your insurer. Homeowners have a legal duty to make reasonable efforts to guard against damage in the event of a flood.
  • Be prepared in case of a flood. Review important safety reminders and know what to do if your basement floods here.

Learn 18 Flood Facts to help protect your property online, where you can also find out about Utilities Kingston’s Preventative Plumbing Program which has been providing financial assistance to homeowners since 2012 to install sump pumps, backwater sanitary valves, foundation drains and other eligible measures.

Customers can contact Utilities Kingston with any questions or concerns at 613-546-0000.

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