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Help prevent spring floods by preparing ahead of time

Check sump pumps, make sure downspouts pointed away from home as snow melt continues

By: Victoria Paterson

  |  Posted: Saturday, Apr 05, 2014 06:00 am

AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION – For homeowners, a few flood-preventing tips include keeping eaves and downspouts clear and avoiding piling snow against the house.
AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION – For homeowners, a few flood-preventing tips include keeping eaves and downspouts clear and avoiding piling snow against the house.
FILE PHOTO/St. Albert Gazette

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There are some easy tasks residents can do to try and prevent any springtime flooding from impacting their homes.

“It’s simple things like make sure their downspouts and eaves troughs are open,” said Greg Grueber, utilities manager for the City of St. Albert.

Make sure to point the downspout away from the house, he said.

He said to not pile snow up against the house, and to make sure it’s in an area where the slope means melting water will flow away from the house rather than towards it.

“They should test the sump pump in the basement,” he said, noting it’s an automatic system that should be tested regularly – but especially as we head into spring before the cold weather leaves.

A recent news release from the provincial government has simple advice, and adds putting weather protection sealant around basement windows and the base of ground-level doors.

The same release also suggests keeping important documents out of the basement to avoid flood damage.

Preparation for spring flooding can start even the year before by using programs offered by the city to get a drainage assessment done, as well as downspout and sump pump extensions.

Grueber said there is a cost for some of that work, but not all.

“It’s always free for the city to respond and do an assessment and discussion with the homeowner,” Grueber said. Programs start in May and utilize engineering students.

The city’s own preparations for potential flooding are currently proactive in nature, doing inspections along the river valley and monitoring the water levels in the Sturgeon.

“We have our sandbagging inventory secure already,” Grueber said.

But at the moment, there’s no cause for alarm. “Right now, our concern is turned pretty well back,” Grueber said, saying there’s nothing significant on their radar right now.

If that changes, they will try and prepare ahead of time to address any issues in a timely and ideally preventative fashion.

Flooding risks in residential areas of St. Albert are largely spring-melt related. Grueber said many of the complaints, like pooling water on the roads, are easy to respond to.

However, if there is a flooding issue, Grueber said the public should contact public works and they’ll assess which department is most appropriate to respond.


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