Homeowners often do not think about sewer systems and stormwater management until there is a problem. You might think that since you live on top of a hill, or since you’ve never had any problems with basement flooding in the past that you are safe. This is not necessarily the case. Flooding events in several communities have affected many people who were thought to have lived in areas where basement flooding could not occur.
Basement flooding can cause significant damage to your personal property and can have serious repercussions for the livability of your home. Basement flood impacts include:
• Damage to basement flooring and wall materials.
• Loss of furniture and entertainment systems.
• Damage to irreplaceable sentimental items.
• Food spoilage.
• Damage to furnaces, water heaters, and the home’s electrical system.
• Structural damage to the home, including possible damage to the foundation.
• Damage to property stored in the basement.
Aside from reducing damages to your house and personal property, by reducing basement flooding you can protect yourself and your family from possible health impacts from a flood event, including respiratory problems from dampness and mould growth.Much of the sewer infrastructure in Canada is getting older. Many communities have had problems with cracked underground sewer pipes, which allow a constant flow of groundwater into the system; a situation that can reduce the ability of the system to handle heavy rainfall. Further, climate change will increase the frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall events. That means that the heavy rainfalls of the past will occur more often in the future, causing more flood events.
What’s more, homeowners can have problems with basement flooding even when there has been no major rainfall event. The condition of your own sanitary sewer lateral, the underground pipe that connects your home to the municipal sanitary sewer system, can result in sewer backup, especially when there are problems with build-up of debris in your lateral or in the municipal sanitary sewer system.
All things considered, it is a good idea for any homeowner to protect their home from basement flooding – it is better to be safe than sorry.
20 tips for homeowners (ICLR's Handbook for reducing basement flooding)
Protect your home from basement flooding booklet (pdf)
Current list of Canadian municipal subsidy and loan programs for basement flood risk reduction