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1 ICLR narrated animation: Proper lot grading to prevent basement flooding

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Published on May 22, 2012

This narrated animation was made possible with federal support through Natural Resource Canada's Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program.

Basement flooding is a large and growing problem for residents, municipalities and insurers across Canada. In just the past few years there have been several events that have resulted in basement flooding in both larger and smaller communities across the country. Indeed, almost no community in Canada is immune from basement flooding.

If you've ever had a look around newly constructed homes, you might notice that yards are gently graded away from houses. When a yard is graded in this manner, it helps keep water away from the home and foundation, and helps keep the basement dry. Most municipal governments in Canada have bylaws that require lot grading that directs water away from the home, as a properly graded yard can substantially reduce basement flood and moisture problems.

Over time, however, yards can lose this slope for a number of reasons. For example, landscaping work can impact lot grading, and over time, soil may settle and result in lot grading that directs water toward the home and foundation. New decks, additions to homes or alterations to your neighbour's properties can also affect lot grading around your home.

When regrading lots to direct water flows away from the home, the following points should be considered:
• A drop of 10 to 15 cm over 1.5 metres from the wall of your home may be required to adequately direct water away from the home.
• Lot grading should direct water to an acceptable drainage outlet that can direct flows to municipal conveyance systems. Consult your local government to ensure that water from your lot is directed to the right place.
• Ensure that lot grading does not direct water in such a way as to create ice build-up on neighbouring properties or sidewalks.
• Ensure that water flows from your lot do not negatively affect neighbouring properties.

ICLR's Handbook to reduce basement flooding, which contains 20 tips homeowners can follow to reduce the risk of basement flooding, can be downloaded for free in both English and French at www.iclr.org/flooddroughthandbook.html

Get more information on hazard research and safety tips at www.iclr.org

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