Flood follow-up: 8 ways Windsor will fix its sewer system to prevent future floods

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens presented the city's sewer plan during a scheduled council meeting Tuesday following last week's severe flooding.

Downspout disconnection could become mandatory

More than 5,000 basements flooded in the City of Windsor during heavy rainfalls last week.

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens presented an eight-point sewer plan during Tuesday's council meeting, with the aim of taking on future storms following the worst flood in the city's history.

More than 5,000 basements were soaked in the City of Windsor after heavy rainfall hit several neighbourhoods and flooded streets.

Review Development Policies

The first thing on the list is an "immediate review of development policies in conjunction with the Town of Tecumseh as it relates to sewer management."

Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program 

Dilkens said that the city will cover 100 per cent of the costs to install a backflow valve and sump pump through the Basement Protection Subsidy — placing a priority on homeowners looking to take advantage of the program who already had their basement flood.

Weeping tiles included in subsidy program

The subsidy program may soon include the"disconnection of weeping tiles from the sanitary to the storm sewer," something that's currently being doing in London, Ont. with great success, according to Dilkens. 

Investigating sewage ejection pumps

Staff would also look at following the lead of the Town of LaSalle by adding sewage ejection pumps to the program and possibly including them in future development projects.

Windsor cleans up after worst flooding in city's history

4 years ago
Duration 2:02
Flood victims in Windsor, Ont., are pleading for public help after heavy rain battered the region, damaging thousands of homes 2:02

Mandatory disconnect

Dilkens said that the city will implement a mandatory downspout disconnection policy if the plan passes through council. The plan does allow fo exemptions "on a case-by-case basis."

"Please disconnect your downspouts if they're going underground," explained Dilkens. "You can direct them away from your house in a reasonable way, please do so."

He said the City of Windsor will also cover the cost associated with disconnection.

Speeding up sewer work

Dilkens said part of the plan is to expedite sewer work at the Riverside Vista project between St. Rose and Ford Boulevard. 

"Frankly, it's impassable," said Dilkens, adding a fire truck got stuck on Riverside Drive during last week's flooding. 

This speed-up would cost the city about $7 million more than what's currently budgeted.

Windsor flood aftermath

4 years ago
Duration 5:35
Windsor homeowner Sean LaBute speaks with CBC News Network's Aarti Pole about what he lost in the flood and how it has affected the community. 5:35

Expedite master plan

Dilkens said that the city should also expedite the sewer master plan. Phase 1 includes a camera inspection of every single section of the sewer system in the city as well as flow-monitoring. 

Dillon Consulting is completing phase 1 and is set to finish a similar project in Tecumseh. Dilkens suggested that they skip public tendering for phase 2 and award it directly to the company to save time.

Provincial help

The final part of the plan circles back to what mayors from the region asked of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne last week: a provincial insurance plan. 

Dilkens re-iterated that because of recent flooding some people have filed multiple claims on their insurance and no longer have access to insurance. 

He's also urging the province to change the Disaster Recovery Assistance Program to include coverage for homeowners who experience sewer backup during flooding events.