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FAQ: July 12, 2015, Timberlea Flooding Event

Here are answers to some likely questions about the July 12, 2015, flooding event in Timberlea.

1. What happened?

On Sunday, July 12, 2015, an unusually intense rainfall in the early morning hours brought significant precipitation, resulting in flooding in the sanitary sewer main in the Timberlea area.

2. How likely is this to happen again?

The likelihood of another very large storm, resulting in flooding, is low. While the review of the July 12 event continues, we believe that the thunderstorm that morning was at least a “1 in 25” year storm.

3. Will the Confederation Way Sanitary Sewer Bypass Project solve this problem and prevent flooding in these areas in the future?

The Confederation Way Sanitary Sewer Bypass Project will substantially improve the situation and significantly reduce future risk of basement flooding due to rain storms. The project offers a solution that not only effectively mitigates the risk of sanitary sewer surcharging, but poses less construction impact on the neighbourhood and residents than the other options considered. The excavation and pipeline work that residents see in the areas of Brett Drive, Berard Crescent and Brosseau Crescent are part of Phase 1 of the Confederation Way Sanitary Sewer Bypass.

Construction on the new sanitary line began this year and Phase 1 is scheduled to be in operation by the end of October. Learn more about the project..

4. Did the current construction of the Confederation Way Sanitary Sewer Bypass Project have an impact on this flood?

Given the magnitude of the storm on July 12, flooding would have occurred without construction of the Confederation Way Sanitary Sewer Bypass Project. However a detailed technical investigation is currently underway to determine if the construction affected the sanitary system’s flows during the rain storm. In the meantime, as an added precaution, staff are developing a temporary alternate solution to handle any excessive flows should another very large rain storm occur between now and the opening of the new sewer line in October. This approach involves additional bypass pumps that will be on stand-by to direct excess flow from the sanitary system to another point farther downstream.

5. Why does there seem to be a history of flooding in the area? What steps been taken to address this issue? When?

As you know, our community has enjoyed huge population growth since the year 2000. The boom in population has also brought a great deal of construction and infrastructure growth. While our neighbourhoods are built to the highest development standards of the day, that standard changes over time.

The Municipality began a sewer flow monitoring program for the neighbourhood in 2011. The results showed that “Inflow and Infiltration (I & I)” were significantly higher than expected and that “I & I” was a key factor in previous flooding events. Work on a solution began immediately after the concern was identified. The Confederation Way Sanitary Sewer Bypass Project has been specifically designed to mitigate this flood risk and will provide a major improvement to the existing infrastructure.

6. What is “Inflow and Infiltration (I & I)?”

All building developments must meet the Municipality’s standard infrastructure capacity requirements, which includes allowance in the sanitary sewer main for “Inflow and Infiltration (I & I).” Inflow refers to surface water that enters the sewer from yard, roof and flooring drains (weeping tile), cross-connections with storm drains, and through holes in manhole covers. Infiltration is groundwater or surface water that enters sewer pipes through holes, breaks, joint failures and connection failures. For a diagram of typical sources of “I & I”, please see the attached brochure.

7. What should I do if my basement flooded on July 12?

The first step is to contact your insurance provider and then begin cleaning up to reduce the chance of further damage in your home. If you have coverage, your insurance provider may contact the RMWB on your behalf. You may also file a Notice of Claim with the RMWB. For more details on this process, see: Filing a Claim.

8. What can I do as a land/home owner to protect my property from flooding?

As land/home owners, it’s always in your best interest to protect your own property—it’s also your responsibility. Back-flow preventers and sump pumps are two important ways you can empower yourself and protect your home from sewer back-ups. You can also ensure your downspouts are directed away from your home and that your lot is properly graded so that surface water drains away from your home’s foundation. Please review the attached brochure, originally distributed by the Municipality in 2014, for further practical information.

9. My coverage won’t cover the costs of my flood damage. Will the Municipality pay for my clean-up?

The Municipal Government Act stipulates that in most cases a municipality is not liable for costs or damages of third parties arising from municipal utility installations or operations, unless the Municipality is negligent. To this point we have seen nothing to indicate that negligence on the part of the Municipality was the cause of the flooding, so it is unlikely that reimbursement for your clean-up costs will be made. You may, however, file a Notice of Claim if you so desire, and we will forward it to our insurance company which will make the final decision on whether the municipality is liable to pay the claim.

To download a form, and for more information, please refer to the information found at: Filing a Claim.

10. I have many questions. How can I get more information?

Municipal information is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling Pulse: Wood Buffalo Call Line at 780-743-7000. For specific information about the Confederation Way Sanitary Sewer Bypass Project, please contact the Construction Helpdesk at 780-793-1054 (Monday- Friday, 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.) or send an email to constructionhelpdesk@rmwb.ca.

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