Get the Flood Facts to Help Prevent Basement Flooding and Sewer Backups

Published on: 2021/10/04 - in Releases

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 Miller, Chief Operating Officer 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, Manager of Emergency Preparedness, Kingston Fire & Rescue.

Basement flood prevention tips:

* This fall, keep eavestroughs, downspouts and catch basins clear of leaves to help rainwater 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; more frequently for older homes. Talk to a licensed plumber, who can carry out an assessment and look for issues like blockages, cracks, leaks and collapsing in your pipe.

* 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’s 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:
  • 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 may not be able to get out, either.
  • Get more information at Utilities Kingston’s Basement Flooding page.

* 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.

Learn 18 Flood Facts to help protect your property

Preventative Plumbing Program remains on hold due to COVID-19, but help is still here

To help protect the health and safety of employees, and contain the spread of COVID-19 in our community, Utilities Kingston is suspending some programs and services, until further notice. This includes the Preventative Plumbing Program. Applications can be submitted, but action will not be taken at this time.

Be on the look-out for water pooling around your foundation, plumbing fixtures that are draining slowly, or a dampness along basement floors and foundation walls. These could indicate risk factors for basement flooding. Help is still available!

If you’re concerned about basement flooding or sewer back-ups, speak one-on-one with our flood prevention expert. Contact Utilities Kingston with any questions or concerns at (  or call 613-546-0000, between 8 AM and 5 PM, Monday to Friday. You can count on us!

For 24-hour emergency assistance with an active sanitary-sewer flood in your home, call Utilities Kingston at 613-546-1181. We will check the sanitary sewer collection system, ensure it’s working properly, and correct any issues we may find.

Release source: Utilities Kingston via City of Kingston
Photo: State Farm (cc)