Prevent basement flooding during heavy rains

May 03, 2017

Prevent basement flooding during heavy rains

The wet weather continues with up to 30 mm of rain forecast for Friday, May 5. Customers are reminded that any basement is at risk of flooding, even if it’s never happened before.  Take action - Utilities Kingston offers some steps you can take today to protect your home and capture rain for use in your garden: 

  • Check your sump pump for proper operation and follow the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations. For example, you may wish to confirm it’s plugged in, back-up batteries are charged (if you have them) and the system is working properly.
  • Ensure your downspouts are properly connected so water can route safely away. They should be free of debris and in most cases, should be draining over top of the lawn, at least two metres away from your house.  Make sure that snow, ice and winter activities have not disconnected the piping in any way or crushed the discharge end of the downspout.
  • Check that your rain barrels are connected to catch the rain water, and that the overflow hose is directed away from the foundation of your home. (Don’t have a rain barrel yet? Order one through the Utilities Kingston rain barrel program.)
  • If the ground is workable, use a garden fork to gently loosen bare soil, or simply poke holes in compacted soil to allow it to absorb rainfall.
  • Check your sewer back water valve and maintain it according to the manufacturer’s directions. For example, if you can do so safely, you may wish to open the lid, clean it out, confirm there is a good seal in place and test its operation.
  • Reduce your water use on rainy days. When it’s raining heavily the sewers may fill up. Using a lot of water during heavy rains (for example, taking a shower or doing laundry) can contribute to basement flooding and overflows to your environment. Consider using less water in extreme weather situations.
  • Winter is just ending and there’s debris on the street. If you know that a catch basin on your street is covered in debris, we’d appreciate if you could take some time to clear it. This will help make sure that rainwater can enter the storm sewer and promotes good drainage away from your neighbourhood. 
  • Get 18 Flood Facts and tips to protect your property and view our video for more tips on preventing a soggy basement disaster.
  • Apply for preventative plumbing financial assistance.

Know what to do if your basement has flooded. First and foremost, consider your family’s health and safety. Entering a wet basement could be hazardous! When in doubt, don’t enter the flooded area until you are told it is safe by a professional qualified to do so.

If you have any concerns about utility equipment, contact the Utilities Kingston 24-hour line at 613-546-1181.