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March 14, 2003
Warmer temperatures could mean flooding
Works and Emergency Services - The weather forecast for Toronto this weekend
and into next week predicts temperatures that will climb into the low teens.
Although a welcome relief from the grip of winter, the sudden rise in
temperature and resulting snowmelt could mean some streets and properties may
experience pooling water and flooding.

"City crews are already working to clear the city's 175,000 catch basins and
will open as many as possible before the weekend," said Gary Welsh, director of
Transportation Services. "This weekend we will have 100 to 150 vehicles out on
the roads to clear the catch basins and make sure they're ready to capture the
flow of water."

Flooding could be a problem if catch basins, which let water flow into the
City's sewer system, are blocked with snow, slush or debris. Once the water
reaches the catch basin, the sewer system has ample capacity and can
accommodate all the water from the anticipated melting snow.

"We would ask residents to keep backyard catch basins clear of snow to aid in
draining," said Wayne Green, Director, Quality Control and Systems Planning for
Water and Wastewater Services. "It would also be of great assistance if people
would clear snow and slush from street catch basins."

Homeowners can protect their basements and help prevent flooding by following
these tips:
- clear out your home's basement window wells of snow to avoid it seeping
through the window frames
- where possible, remove snow to provide an open drainage path for water to
drain away from the side and rear yards of your home to the street drainage
- shovel the snow away from your home's outside walls
-ensure that water overflowing from eavestroughs and downspouts runs away from
your home
- safely clear snow and ice from within 18 inches of your roof eavestroughs
(consider hiring a contractor)
- clear snow from roof vents to improve air circulation in the roof and to
ensure very moist air does not freeze inside your attic.

If residents notice streets with a large amount of pooling water or low-lying
areas that cannot drain, they can call the appropriate Transportation customer
service number:

Old Toronto: 416-392-7737
East York: 416-396-2800
Scarborough: 416-396-4808
York: 416-394-2630
Etobicoke: 416-394-8615 (8:30 - 4:30), 416-394-8570 (after hours)
North York: 416-395-6205 (8:30 - 4:30), 416-395-6333 (after hours)

If you experience basement flooding or sewer back-up, call Works and Emergency
Services immediately, 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 416-338-8888.
Additional information on how to deal with basement flooding, including
insurance claim information, can be found on the City's web site at

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