City eyes support program for basement flooding

Journal Staff

Help could be on the way for Sarnians whose basements are prone to flooding

City Hall is considering a subsidy program to help property owners buy backwater valves, disconnect foundation drains and install sump pumps.

Some homes flood during heavy rainstorms when combined sanitary and storm sewers become overwhelmed and water backs up through basement drains. Flooding also occurs in neighbourhoods where home storm water drains are improperly connected to sanitary sewers.

Last year, City Hall received 40 flooding complaints from residents, 15 of them involving sewage. Some can no longer purchase insurance coverage because of repeat floods, staff says.

Sarnia has been separating its old sanitary and storm sewers in a costly and decades-long project. But that work won’t be done for years, said city engineer David Jackson.

A subsidy program would be a low-cost option until then, he recently told council.

The sewer system is also contending with more frequent and intense rainstorms as a result of climate change, the staff report notes.

Details of the subsidy program will be given to council for consideration at a future meeting.