Protect your basement from flooding – Spring Tips

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Protect your basement from flooding – Spring Tips

Posted in : Community News on by : Webmaster

Protect your basement from flooding
It’s springtime, and the City is once again reminding homeowners to take steps to help prevent
their basements from flooding. The City is doing its part to prevent heavy rainfall and runoff
from ending up in your basement – by continually updating and maintaining Toronto’s complex
system of underground pipes, sewers and catch basins. Now find out what you can do by

Miscellaneous Tips
Basement flooding prevention

  •  Disconnect your downspouts that empty into the City’s sewer system and direct the
    rainwater to your lawn and garden or into a rain barrel.
  •  Clear eavestroughs and downspouts of debris.
  •  Increase the amount of green space on your property. This beautiful addition to your
    home will help absorb rain water, protecting your basement and local waterways from
    excess stormwater and flooding.
  •  Ensure the ground is sloping away from your home’s foundation walls.
  •  Seal window wells and fix leaks in basement walls and around windows.
  • Install a back-water valve and a basement sump pump. Homeowners can take
    advantage of City subsidies of up to $3,400 per property to assist with the cost of
    installing certain flood protection devices.
    o Be sure to maintain back-water valves and sump pumps according to the
    manufacturer’s directions.
  •  Be nice to your pipes, don’t flush wipes. Disposable wipes of any kind (even those that
    say flushable) should go in the garbage — never down the toilet. These wipes do not
    break down the way toilet paper does so can get stuck in pipes causing sewer backups
    which can lead to basement flooding.


  •  Disconnect your downspout (it’s mandatory, where feasible) and use the rainwater to
    water your grass and gardens.
  •  No extra watering required during the spring, the rain is enough.
  •  Sweep sidewalks and driveways clean instead of using a running hose.
  • Start planning your water-efficient, natural garden using native plants and trees.

Car washing
The dirt on cars can contain toxic chemicals, heavy metals, oil and grease. When you wash a car
in your driveway or on the street, that dirty water runs into the storm sewers and straight into
local waterways, contributing to water pollution and impacting Lake Ontario’s water quality.
To avoid having dirty water run into the storm sewer system, consider these options for
washing your car:

  • Use a commercial car wash facility (automatic or coin). These facilities are required to
    follow a set of practices determined by the City, including treating wastewater and
    discharging it into the sanitary sewer system where it will receive further treatment.
  • Dispose of the wastewater into the sanitary sewer. By using a pail, washcloth and only a
    small amount of water, and then wiping the car dry, the waste water can be contained
    in the bucket and disposed of into the sanitary sewer through a laundry sink or toilet.
    Once in the sanitary sewer system, the water will go to a City wastewater treatment
  •  Find a location where the wastewater won’t flow into the storm sewer such as a gravel
    surface where the wastewater can be absorbed.

These options will help protect public health and aquatic environments from the harmful
effects of dirty water entering the storm sewers.

For more information on the City of Toronto’s programs and services from Toronto Water, visit