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

September 16, 2019 -

Homeowners can take action to protect their properties this fall, with Utilities Kingston's Flood Facts.

"If you have a basement, it's at risk of flooding and sewer back-ups – even if it's never flooded before. The risk is greater during heavy rain falls so, this fall, be aware and take steps to protect your property," says Jim Keech, president and CEO of Utilities Kingston.

The utility company provides public education to educate customers on how to protect their basements from the risk of flooding, in anticipation of fall rains.

"We hope residents review the great information provided by Utilities Kingston, and take proactive measures to prepare their homes for heavy rains and flooding," says Brandi Timpson, the City's manager of emergency preparedness.

Basement flood prevention tips

  • This fall, keep eavestroughs, downspouts and catch basins clear of leaves to help rain water 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.
  • 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.

Preventative Plumbing Program on hold

Utilities Kingston is searching for a new Preventative Plumbing Program manager and is currently not accepting applications to the program. Their goal is to have a new program manager in place this fall and will provide updates as they come available.

Learn 18 Flood Facts to help protect your property.

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