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Water Today Title July 7, 2022

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Asvisory of the Day



This story is brought to you in part by Glenergy

Greater than normal rainfall during the first week of May has resulted in flood conditions across Ontario.

Clarence-Rockland, just east of Ottawa has been under a state of emergency since Thursday; already high lake levels have Toronto Island residents dealing with Lake Ontario encroaching on their yards and Peterborough recently had to issue a boil water advisory for those down river of them.

Daryl Stevenson is the Chief Operator at the Waste Water Treatment Plant in the City of Peterborough.

He said that they're doing OK for now but are not out of the woods yet.

A huge rain surcharge over the last week or so resulted in them having to perform a bypass last Friday, meaning a quantity of raw sewage entered the Otonabee River without being treated.

"We issued a water advisory for people south of us who take their water from the river," Stevenson said," We just wanted to make sure no one was pulling something from the river and using it as potable water, like a cottage or some sort."

Conditions have been a little better the past couple days and it is supposed to be dry in the area until the weekend.

"We've since been able to bring the flow back down," Stevenson said, "But the next challenge is going to be the Otonabee rising."

"We currently have some overland pumps installed," Stevenson went on to explain, "So we're prepared for the worst." They're not expecting the Otonabee to be at its highest until the weekend as a lot of water is expected to come down from up north in the Haliburton region.

Toronto Water informed us that there were no issues with their city's water treatment plants.

In a statement we received from Toronto Water via email, we were told that the previous week's storm was a slow moving one unlike the intense, fast storms they sometimes see in the summer.

They went on to mention that over 200 basement flooding calls had been received by Toronto Water as a result of the rain this past Thursday/Friday.

"Investigations are being conducted and include determining if the flooding was a result of sewer back-up or overland flow," they said, adding "The number is above normal call volumes but within expected volumes for rain events and reflects that it was a slow steady rain."

Apparently calls were fairly evenly distributed throughout the city with minimal impact in Etobicoke.

"The storm sewer under Lower Simcoe underpass in the week previous had been affected by Lake Ontario's high water level," Toronto Water explained, "Current lake water levels are above the elevation of the catch basins, so as a result, that area had experienced ponding on the road."

A temporary repair was implemented but they were aware that last week's rain could result in temporary flooding of this area again.

The underpass was monitored throughout the rain event and some ponding on Saturday morning was cleared by mid-day. Jon Careless is a chartered insurance professional who spent many years as an in-the-field claims adjuster.

He has seen his share of flood disasters, most notably being called in to help after Hurricane Sandy.

"When I first arrived, there were national guards escorting me around," Careless said, "I had to show (those making claims) my credentials as an insurance person as there were a lot of fears of robbery."

Those wouldn't be typical situations in the flood-affected areas in Ontario right now but that being said, there are undoubtedly some property owners with crossed fingers, hoping the significant damage done to their property is covered by insurance

Careless explained that the one thing that claimants are most surprised by is how long it can take for everything to get back to normal.

In areas that are hard hit by floods, consultants need to be brought in on behalf of the insurance companies to handle the influx of claimants; they in turn have to pass along their recommendations to the insurance firms, who can often get bogged down, resulting in slower than usual responses to claims.

That compiled with a shortage of restoration companies that do the tear outs and dry outs can mean extended wait times. "In a flood situation people might not get their basement rebuilt for a year," Careless said, "So sometimes they might need to find new accommodations."

This can be extremely difficult when hundreds or thousands around you are also searching for a temporary place to lay their head.

"In some cases, they have to leave town," Careless said, "In situations like New Orleans, many never came back."

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