I live in Aspen Gardens, a neighbourhood that’s been hit hard by flooding in recent years. Nobody wants a foot of water in their basement, and there are a few things we can do to keep that from happening.
The first thing you can do, if you wish to file a complaint about a rainfall-related sanitary sewer backup, is to call 311. 311 can track your complaint and ensure follow-up occurs.
That’s just the first step, though. How do we prevent the flooding in the first place?
After severe flooding in 2004, and again in July 2012, it became apparent that drainage in some Ward 10 neighbourhoods is overwhelmed by the types of storms that are becoming the norm. Like I said, I live in Aspen Gardens, and Aspen Gardens floods. There’s a low spot in the neighbourhood that causes major drainage problems. Many other neighbourhoods in Ward 10, like Lansdowne, have similar issues. Since we can’t expect homeowners alone to deal with repeated flooding issues we’re moving ahead with strategies to mitigate flooding.
Since 2006, $98M has been invested (completed or planned) on projects in south-west Edmonton. For example, in Greenfield, Landsdowne, Lendrum, Royal Gardens, Pleasantview, Sweetgrass, and Aspen Gardens new and/or extended sanitary pipes to reduce backup will be installed. In Parkallen (Ellingson Park), Westbrook (Derrick Golf Course), and Duggan (Charles Anderson Park) dry ponds will be constructed to catch runoff and direct flows to the pond, away from homes.
Flood prevention projects in Duggan and Royal Gardens were fast tracked and will begin in 2014. This was approved at yesterday's (May 15th 2014) Utilities Committee meeting.
The City offers a few other programs to help homeowners in flood-prone areas.
For those who have experienced flooding or whose dwellings were built before 1989, Drainage Services offers a subsidy to help homeowners install a backwater valve. Information about that program can be found here.
The City also offers a flood prevention home-check up program - a drainage specialist will come to your home for a free one-on-one interior and exterior drainage assessment. This service is available to any residential homeowner in Edmonton. You can book an assessment by calling 311.
In July our Administration will bring forward a Business Plan for an expanded flood mitigation program that proposes upwards of $200 million more to rehabilitate and develop drainage infrastructure in at risk neighbourhoods.
To proactively prepare for 2019 and beyond, the City will be looking at establishing a new funding model to support the estimated $25 - $50 million required each year for the construction of drainage infrastructure dedicated to flood mitigation. The City is exploring the option of potentially increasing utility bills by an average of $0.32 a month each year ($3.84 annually) over 20 years to build up an ongoing funding source to pay for the new drainage infrastructure. In the long-term, the impact that the drainage improvements will likely have on the reduction of insurance rates and mitigating the impacts of potentially flooded basements will far outweigh the short-term costs of a $0.32 per month increase.
As one of my neighbours said “ I would rather pay for this with an increase on my monthly utility rate than pay for it by hiring another contractor to fix my basement.”
It’s a message Council has heard loud and clear.