On June 9th the City of Selkirk experienced an extreme rain event which reportedly caused 37-40mm of rain to fall in a period of about 30 minutes. Selkirk’s average rainfall for the entire month of June is 93mm of rain. In total, 86mm of rain fell in Selkirk over the 24 hour period. This event followed days of rain which had saturated the ground reducing the capacity of lawns, boulevards and other green spaces to hold and retain precipitation.
City’s Infrastructure Operated at Full Capacity
Despite the City’s systems being fully operational and running at full capacity, the volume of water that fell during the rain event overwhelmed the City’s storm sewer land drainage systems causing multiple incidents of on-street flooding and sewer backups. This event exceeded the designed capacity of the City’s storm water management system. There was no practicable action the City could have taken during the rain event that would have prevented this situation.
Combined Sewer Systems
Sewer backups typically result from “combined sewer systems”, an infrastructure practice that was generally accepted prior to the 1970s when much of Selkirk’s sewer infrastructure was installed. Combined sewer systems merge wastewater and storm water collection into a single pipe and as a result, when heavy rainfall events happen, these pipes can fill and backup through basement drains.
Many urban municipalities have combined sewer systems that are subject to such backup during high volume rain events. 31% of the City of Winnipeg is served by combined systems, the majority of which is in the older, city core.
In 2001 the City of Selkirk developed a long-term, multi-phase plan to separate key combined sewer lines within the City. In 2011 the City completed phase 2 of the 10-phase program at a cost of $4.3 million dollars. The remaining eight phases are estimated to cost between $20 and $25 million and will be undertaken as part of future capital improvements.
Most home insurance providers do offer sewer backup or basement flooding options for home owners. The City urges all residents who have experienced basement flooding to contact their home insurance providers to determine the level of coverage available to them within their policy.
Report Your Basement Flooding with the City of Selkirk
The City asks all citizens who experienced basement flooding as a result of the June 9th rain event to contact the city and register your flooded basement with the City. Registering your flooded basement will assist with the City’s storm water management program and will give you access to the special curbside waste pick up program being offered to flood-impacted citizens. You can register your flooded basement online via our CitizenSupport tool, or by phone (204-785-4930).
Financial Assistance Programs
Unfortunately there are no municipal or provincial financial assistance programs available for basement flooding that occurred during this event. As sewer backup is an insurable event, citizens who’ve experienced such flooding would not be eligible for Disaster Financial Assistance. For more information about this program please visit http://www.gov.mb.ca/emo/recover/home/dfa_home.html
Flood Damage Solid Waste Removal
The City of Selkirk will be offering all citizens who have registered their flooded basement with the City a special curbside waste removal service. All citizens who have been registered will be contacted by Thursday, June 16 with the details of the removal service. For registered citizens who have already taken flood related waste to the City’s Waste Transfer Station between June 10 and 21, the City will offer a rebate of the fees paid. To access this rebate, receipts must be submitted to the City’s Operations Department by June 24, 2016.
For More Information Please Contact:
Department of Operations
City of Selkirk