When severe storms bring too much rain for the city’s storm sewers to handle, they have a tendency to overflow. Unfortunately when this occurs the excess water has few places to go, often resulting in flooded basements. Not only can this flooding damage your property and lead to expensive, time-consuming repairs, it can also bring with it significant health risks.
The best way to avoid this potentially costly – and often quite unpleasant – problem in your home is to take preventative measures before the next storm occurs. In this case, preventative measure include a few important changes to the plumbing in your home including the installation of backflow valves and sump pumps. The City of Toronto also recommends disconnecting from the city’s storm sewer system in order to help prevent overflow during heavy rainfall.
Designed to prevent water from flowing backwards into the home when storm sewers overflow, these valves only allow water and sewage to pass through in one direction.
When installed on the main sanitary sewer lateral in your basement, they allow your household waste water to flow out to the sewer while preventing overflow from reversing direction and flooding back into your home. Some models feature extra protection in the form of a lockable door inside the valve. When closed, this door completely blocks the flow so sewage cannot move in either direction. This provides some degree of extra protection during intense flooding but should be used with caution: Plumbing within the house should not be used while the door is in the closed position as it will have nowhere to go.
The Province of Ontario recommends the Mainline Fullport Backwater Valve as the only such backflow valve currently approved for home installation.
Flooding during rainfall also occurs due to increases in groundwater levels. Once the ground is completely saturated, excess water has nowhere else to go and begins putting increasing pressure on foundation weeping tiles. Once overwhelmed, the water is forced into your basement, causing flooding and potential damage to your home.
For this reason, the City of Toronto recommends that all property owners install sump pumps in sump pits at the lowest point in their basement. This way, when flooding occurs the water will drain into the sump pit where the pump will automatically pump the water out of your home. Sump pumps are designed to begin pumping water automatically once a certain level of water has been reached. They will then continue pumping until the water is gone.
While most sump pumps are connected to the home’s electricity, it may be a good idea for those in areas with less reliable power supply to consider a water-operated back-up sump pump. If you do not have a backup pump and your power is interrupted due to the storm, your pump will stop working and the basement will soon flood. A water-operated sump pump is an excellent backup device as they operate solely on the water pressure from your incoming water supply. As long as your home remains connected to the city’s water infrastructure, this backup pump will continue to pump water out of the home, preventing flooding damage. With no moving parts or power requirements, these pumps can remove up to 1300 gallons of water per hour.
Pipe Severance & Capping
Due to the increasing frequency of extreme weather, house storm water should be pumped directly outside the home and is no longer recommended to be connected to the city storm sewer. This is to help prevent storm sewers from overflowing during period of high rainfall.
The Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program
Installing flood protection measures in your home can do a lot to protect your property and possessions from damage but they are not always the cheapest home renovations. In order to help families afford these recommended prevention methods, the City of Toronto has created the Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program which is designed to provide financial reimbursement for homeowners who have completed flood protection measures on their property.
Open to the owners of all single-family homes, duplexs, and triplexs, the subsidy program will return up to 80% of the costs associated with installing these preventative measures. The breakdown for reimbursement is as follows:
- Backwater valves: The subsidy will provide reimbursement for up to 80% of costs to a maximum of $1250. This includes labor, materials, the required permit, and applicable taxes.
- Sump pumps: The basement flooding protection subsidy will cover up to 80% of sump pump installation to a maximum of $1750 including labor, materials, and applicable taxes.
- Backwater valves & sump pump combined: For those who choose to install both a backwater valve and a sump pump in their home, the subsidy will cover up to $2800 for both projects.
- Pipe severance and capping: The subsidy program will reimburse up to $400 of the cost of severing your home’s connection to the city’s storm sewer.
In order to apply, all work must be completed and all associated invoices paid in full. A completed application form and all necessary supporting documentation must be mailed to:
Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program
City of Toronto
PO Box 15266
STN BRM B
Toronto, ON M7Y 2W1