Toronto is an aging city with an infrastructure aged circa 1900’s. The typical single family Toronto home in the early 1900’s had four drains (two sinks, toilet, bathtub) all running into a common sewer line combined with any collected rain water from downspouts or weeping tiles (if existent). Toronto’s population in the 1900’s was only 210,000; Now about 110 years later, in the same amount of space the population has skyrocketed to 2.8 million and many homes still use the same original (possibly clogged/damaged) common line lead drains that existed at the turn of the century.
Some Torontonians have caught on, replacing old drains and modernizing the household. However, present day still poses new problems for the city’s aging infrastructure. Old houses are being torn down making room for houses with two bathrooms, kitchens with dishwashers, and laundry rooms – that’s over double the drains pulling water into the sewer line from our home into the city. There is also apartment buildings that house hundreds of people in an area where 15 families used to live. The water consumption has skyrocketed in the city and the size of drain lines have stayed the same.
In the early 1900’s Toronto ran on common lines. Meaning all waste water (from toilets/sinks etc) and all collected rain water (from existing weeping tiles/downspouts etc.) drained into one common line into the City’s sewer system. Later on, building code required new homes to have two drain lines. One for sewer and a separate one for any collected rain water. Now in 2013, building code in Toronto requires new homes to have a back water valve installed to prevent sewage backup, and a sump pit installed to alleviate the pressure from the city storm lines.
By changing building codes and offering homeowners subsidies to prevent flooding, the City of Toronto is doing its part to combat flooding. Now it’s up to homeowners to get informed and find out if you should be making use of the offered subsidies.
Back Water Valves
During severe storms, when city sewage becomes overloaded with rain water, residence may experience a sewage backup from drains in their home. In these situations, a backwater valve installed along the sewage line to your home will detect a change in water flow and will close the sewage drain in your home, stopping any waste from coming up your drains. During this time it’s important to remember that if sewage can’t come up, it also can’t go down and you will not be able to flush toilets or use water during this time.
A sump pit works to collect rain water from under your floor. This can be from the weepers along your foundation (inside or outside), or from lower areas of your basement where water may be likely to pool in a severe rainstorm. The pit collects all the water, and a pump drains it out of your home and onto your property where it eventually makes its way into the city storm line. This delays the water from flowing directly into the city storm lines, giving the city a fighting chance to keep up with heavy rains. A sump system can only discharge a specific volume of water at a time and may not be able to keep up during severe storms. A sump pit will also not work when the power is out unless a battery back up or generator is installed.
Toronto currently offers residence a Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program where homeowners can receive a reimbursement for installation of back water valves and sump pits.
|City||Back Water Valve||Sump Pits||Combined|
|Toronto||$1,250.00 up to 80%||$1,750.00 up to 80%||$2,800.00 up to 80%|
In order to be eligible for the subsidy, work must be performed by a Toronto licenced drain contractor or plumber. JAGG is qualified to perform both tasks and our trade number can be found at the bottom of our website. Review The Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program information online to ensure you are aware of all other requirements for eligibility.