Flood Preparedness

Over the past five years Hamilton has experienced a lot of rain. The rain storms last longer, are more intense and occur more frequency than in previous years. The City of Hamilton is committed to assessing, analyzing and implementing storm water management improvements to deal with heavy rain. 

Flood prevention tips

There are many things you can do to avoid or minimize flooding damages.

Year round tips

Here are things you can do throughout the year to prevent or minimize flooding and associated damage.

  • Ensure your sewer laterals, the pipes from your house to the sewage line, are functioning properly.
  • Seal cracks in your basement floor and foundation walls.
  • Keep your eavestroughs clean so they can direct water away from your house. When they are not maintained, rainwater is more likely to enter your home through cracks in your foundation.
  • Minimize points of entry for overland flooding such as window wells and window well covers.
  • When landscaping, ensure the grade of your lot flows away from your home.
  • Use permeable surfaces for driveways and walkways so that water can soak into the ground.
  • Ensure catch basins on the road near your property are clean. Keep leaves and yard waste from piling up in the roadway, ditches and sidewalks. They can clog the sewer system.
  • Do not store items on the floor in your basement. Install shelves several feet off the floor to store items.
  • Do not sit appliances, furnaces and water heaters directly on the floor in your basement. If possible, they should be set on a stable platform or on appropriate material such as cement blocks.
  • Install electrical outlets and electrical panels higher than a projected flood level.
  • Do not run drywall all the way to the floor in a finished basement; use material such as tile or linoleum running up the wall about one foot high to guard against water damage.
  • Consider the installation of protective plumbing devices such as back-flow valves or sump pumps.
  • Do not pour grease down the sink and into the sewer system. The grease may stick to the sides of your sewer pipe or the City’s sewer pipe. Over time, this could build up and create blockages.
  • Consider disconnecting downspouts from the sewer system. Make sure neighbouring properties will not be adversely affected. (link to lot drainage page)
  • Maintain the swale on your property. The swale is usually located on the property line between properties. A swale is a shallow trough-like depression that carries water during rainstorms or snow melts.
  • Create an inventory of your possessions with photographic and/or video documentation in case you need to submit an insurance claim for water damage.

Here are things you can do in the spring and summer to prevent or minimize flooding and associated damage.

  • Make sure the grading allows water to flow away from your home when landscaping your property.
  • Minimize the amount of hard surface such as cement, driveways and walkways on your property. Rainfall should be absorbed into the ground. Hard surfaces make the water flow in the most natural direction.
  • Plant gardens, plant material and trees to absorb water.
  • Use rain barrels to direct water away from your home and the sewer system. Set up your barrel so rain from your eavestrough goes into it. Run a hose from the rain barrel to water your garden.
  • Install window well covers to keep window wells free from debris, which can clog drains and cause basement flooding.

Here are things you can do in the fall to prevent or minimize flooding and associated damage.

  • Clean up leaves and yard waste from the roadway, ditches or sidewalks. This prevents clogged catch basins and allows the free flow of water. You can put out an unlimited amount of yard waste on your pick up day every week.
  • Clean up litter to prevent blockages in the sewer system.
  • If you see larger debris on the street, call 905-546-2489 to have it removed.
  • Clear leaves from your eavestroughs. When your eavestroughs are blocked, the rain will pour over the edges landing on the ground next to your home. If you have cracks in the cement wall of your basement or problems with your weeping tile, this water could enter your home.

Here are things you can do in the winter to prevent or minimize flooding and associated damage.

  • Keep catch basins clear and uncover fire hydrants near your home.
  • When clearing your driveway, move snow toward the side of your property that the plow finishes with so less snow accumulates across the driveway when the plow passes.