The stormwater system helps to manage rain and runoff in our city.
Preventing Flooding On Your Street
When it rains, street drains help to keep City neighborhoods from flooding. When leaves collect in gutters and block these drains, water can back up and cause ponding that slows or stops traffic and can even flood yards and homes. While autumn is when leaves are most likely to collect in drains, it can happen at any time of the year.
Our drainage crews work hard to maintain all of the City’s drainage infrastructure, including storm drains on streets. But with thousands of drains spread all across the City, we need your help too. You can help prevent flooding by paying attention to what’s happening with the drains on your block. A few small maintenance actions on your property can also prevent storm water from ponding.
- Help prevent local flooding by keeping leaves and debris out of storm drains
- Use a rake or broom to remove leaves and debris from the tops of storm drains
- If a street drain appears to be blocked by debris or snow, try to safely clear a channel to provide a path for the runoff.
- Avoid piling yard waste like fallen leaves and sticks in a location where it could wash into city drains
- If the drain cannot be cleared, or if the cause of the blockage or flooding is uncertain, call our Public Works department at (250) 361-0400
Respect the City’s Drainage System
Don't put grass clippings, leaves or other debris into any of the drains or gutters in the City. Do not put hazardous materials like oil, paint thinners into the storm drain system, as these lead directly to our coastal marine environment. Below are some other helpful tips on how you can do your part to prevent flooding on your local street:
Keep leaves and debris out of drains
- Avoid piling yard waste like fallen leaves and sticks in your yard, where it could wash into City drains. Keep it in a yard waste bin, wire cage, or other container
- Use a rake or broom to remove leaves and debris from the tops of storm drains, and then place the material in your yard waste cart
- If the drain is still clogged after you’ve removed the debris, call Public Works at (250) 361-0400 to report it
Safety tips for clearing storm drains:
- Clear storm drains only when it is safe
- Clear drains from the curbside, not out in the street
- Watch out for traffic and don’t clear drains that are in the middle of a street
- Be careful of standing water to avoid slipping or stepping on sharp objects
- Ensure adults are supervising any children
- Clean surface debris only - let our crews handle garbage or any hazards in the catch basin
- Don’t try to lift storm drain grates, they are very heavy
Taking Action On Your Property
Preventing storm drains from getting clogged helps prevent flooding on our streets, but there are important actions you can take on your property too. Below are some helpful tips to help avoid flooding in and around your home:
Assess your yard
- Water is the most common cause of unstable slopes, mudslides and erosion
- Check your property for signs of earth movement, such as leaning trees, or cracks in the soil or sidewalks. If you have a problem, contact a soils engineer (search the Internet for "Engineers-Geotechnical-Soils") to evaluate the situation
- Preventative planting can also help reduce the chance of a mudslide or flooding so seek advice from a professional about types of plants that prevent erosion
Maintain your gutters and downspouts
- Just one wind or rainstorm can clog a well-flowing drainage system, so be sure to clean your gutters and drainage downspouts attached to your roof twice a year
- Inspect for leaks or damage to rain gutters that could cause a flat roof to flood
- Never discharge water over the edge of a steep hill
Maintain your drainage systems
- Maintaining the drainage system on private property is the owner's responsibility
- Check your property’s drainage system. This is especially important on commercial properties that have catch basins or other drainage systems – maintaining these systems is the property owner's responsibility
- The best way to find out what’s in your pipes is to ask a professional to “video inspect” your underground drainage system
- If you have a driveway that leads down from the street, be sure to clear the drain at the bottom of the slope
- If you live at the base of a hill, ensure that drainage and retaining walls are properly functioning
Apply for Rainwater Rewards
Are you interested in managing rainwater more sustainably and saving some money? Rainwater Rewards have been designed to encourage property owners to consider managing rainwater when undertaking other improvements to their properties. Learn more about the Rainwater Rewards program.
About your Stormwater Utility Bill
Stormwater utility bills are sent out to property owners in October. Prior to 2016, stormwater fees were collected through your property tax. The new utility is a user-pay system, connecting the impact a property has on the stormwater system directly to the bill. Learn more about your stormwater utility bill.
What is Stormwater?
Stormwater is rain that lands on hard surfaces and then flows into drains and pipes.
The stormwater system helps to manage the rain and runoff in Victoria, including:
- Reducing flooding by moving excess stormwater away from properties
- Separating some of the oil, metals, sand and soil that would otherwise flow into our waterways and ocean
- Use rain as a resource, capturing it for reuse in landscaping or slowing, cleaning and releasing it back into the natural water table
- Increasing our ability to deal with a changing climate and rainfall patterns
If you have any questions about the stormwater utility or the Rainwater Rewards program please contact the Stormwater Specialist at 250.361.0443 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emergency Contact Information
Flooding and Blocked Storm Drain Grates: Please call the 24-hour line at 250.361.0400 for assistance.
For non-emergencies please use the service request form.
Home heating oil tanks can fail, leading to oil spills into creeks, harbours, shorelines and natural drinking water sources, causing potential health risks or environmental damage that is costly to residents. Once spilled, rain and irrigation water carries oil through the soil into residential perimeter drains and the surrounding environment. Perimeter drains can quickly carry oil into the storm drain systems, which empty directly into creeks, harbours or shorelines.” To learn more go to https://www.crd.bc.ca/education/our-environment/concerns/report-a-spillGo to Top