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Building a drainage system that guarantees protection against flooding is impossible. Many homes and commercial areas were built prior to the development of city-wide surface drainage plans and procedures in 1993, so many mature neighbourhoods in Edmonton do not have approved Lot Grading Plans and some that have approved plans were developed prior to the implementation of the City of Edmonton lot grading approval program.

Surface drainage problems that developed slowly over a period of years, such as settlement at the foundation walls, can become evident after rainstorms or during snow melt. Also, re-grading or re-development (e.g. in-fill housing) can create drainage problems or highlight existing problems, and result in basement flooding, property damage or disputes between neighbours.

Property owners are responsible for their own lot grading and need to take the necessary steps to prevent flooding and property damage. Drainage Bylaw No. 18100 requires that a lot grading plan should be submitted, reviewed and approved by the City of Edmonton prior to construction of any buildings, additions to buildings or alterations (e.g. landscaping) of surface drainage on the premises.

To help property owners examine their own property, EPCOR provides a complimentary Flood Prevention Home Check-up service that focuses on flood control and maintenance strategies to protect your property. Call (780) 944-7777 or email floodprevention@epcor.com to book a visit by a Flood Prevention Advisor

What should you do when problems arise?

Most problems can be resolved with open communication. Adjacent property owners have an equal interest in effective drainage of surface water.

  • Check your own surface drainage, and see our Frequently Asked Questions for answers to your questions about common drainage disputes. 

  • Contact a Professional Engineer, a reputable landscaper or foundation drainage expert.

  • Talk to your neighbours to work out solutions. They may not realize a problem exists. To develop a collaborative solution, you can contact the Mediation & Restorative Justice Centre at (780) 423-0896.

If attempts to find solutions with your neighbours have not resulted in satisfactory drainage arrangements and you wish to launch an investigation. please contact the City of Edmonton at 311 to register your complaint. The file will be reviewed by the City of Edmonton's Lot Grading team to determine if enforcement is required. For more information please refer to the City of Edmonton webpage

FAQs

I have a problem with my neighbour's downspout and/or sump pump discharging on my property causing flooding on my yard and/or my basement.

​Examine your own grading and be prepared to make changes to ensure that your foundation grading will direct surface drainage away from your house. Evaluate the existing drainage pattern and discharge locations with your neighbour to determine the best point of discharge for downspouts or sump discharge hoses. Discharge points must be on-site and not within 15 centimetres off the property line.

A swale is a shallow, sloped channel that conveys water from the buildings towards the street or lane. Lot grading between the houses has to be maintained for a positive and consistent slope along drainage swale.

All property oweners are responsible for grading their lots to carry surface drainage away from buildings and towards the public right-of-way. To launch a Drainage Bylaw investigation, please contact the City of Edmonton at 311 to register your complaint. For more information, please refer to the City of Edmonton website.

My neighbour had his downspout (roof drain) connected to a service inside the house, but now it is disconnected and it drains on to my property.

​Many houses in older areas have the downspouts connected to the storm sewer system inside the house. Basement flooding may occur during heavy rainstorms when the storm sewer system is flowing at peak capacity, causing the sewer back-up.

Disconnecting the downspouts from the storm system allows the roof drainage to flow onto the ground before reaching the catch-basin in the street. EPCOR and the City of Edmonton supports this disconnection if surface drainage does not impact adjacent property or environmentally sensitive locations. In many cases, improvement of the existing surface grading is required to ensure the compliance with the Drainage Bylaw which is enforced by the City of Edmonton.

Examine your own grading and be prepared to make changes to ensure that your foundation grading will direct surface drainage away from your house. Evaluate the existing drainage pattern and discharge locations with your neighbour to determine the best point of discharge for the downspouts. Discharge points must be at least 15 centimetres away from the property line.

A swale is a shallow, sloped channel that conveys water from the buildings towards the street or lane. Lot grading between the houses has to be maintained for a positive and consistent slope along drainage swale. A shared swale on the common property line is the ideal case. However, a separate swale within the lot is sometimes required to solve a drainage problem.

All property owners are responsible to grade their lots properly to allow surface drainage away from buildings and towards the public right-of-way. To launch a Drainage Bylaw investigation, please contact the City of Edmonton at 311 to register your complaint. For more information please refer to the City of Edmonton website.

I live in a mature (older) neighbourhood and my neighbour has built a new house (infill). It is higher in elevation compared to mine, and other neighbours.

​There is no surface drainage design for properties developed prior to 1989. However, the Alberta Building Code and the Drainage Bylaw require all houses to have a 10% slope away from the foundation walls. In the case of in-fill housing, the owner must submit a Lot Grading Plan to the City of Edmonton for review and approval prior to the Development and Building Permit being issued.

After construction and lot grading is completed, the owner must submit a Lot Grading Certificate to the City of Edmonton. This is followed by a lot grading inspection to ensure compliance under provisions of the Drainage Bylaw and the lot grading guidelines.

To avoid surface drainage problems, you should:

  • Review and repair your foundation grading to re-establish the slope away from your house
  • Ensure that you have downspout extensions or splash pads to convey surface water at least 2 metres away from the house but not within 15 cm of adjacent property line.
  • Consult with the adjacent property owner to create a drainage plan that works for both properties
  • Check the grading between the houses to make sure a positive and consistent slope is maintained along the drainage swale.

For a complimentary evaluation of your grading, contact 311 or email floodcheckup@epcor.com for an opportunity to participate in the Flood Prevention Home Check-up Program.

I want to re-landscape my lot. What things should I consider?

The City of Edmonton and EPCOR recommends maintaining a positive slope away from your foundation walls and paying close attention to how your stormwater is managed and directed.

You may want to call the City of Edmonton at 311 and speak with a Lot Grading Inspector. When provided with your address, we can guide you with the appropriate requirements and make you award of any specific designs that must be maintained. The owner is responsible to establish and maintain lot grading under provisions of the Drainage Bylaw,

Subsequently, you should also be aware that EPCOR provides a complimentary Flood Prevention Home Check-up service that focuses on flood control and maintenance strategies to protect your home. Call (780) 944-7777 to book a visit by a Flood Prevention Assessor.

My neighbour has poor grading around his home. Should I be concerned about that when I’m fixing my foundation grading?

​Ask your neighbour to consider repairing his foundation grading in concert with your re-grading efforts. The combined foundation grading of both houses will form a common property swale that will convey damaging surface drainage away from both buildings. Grading changes to only one house will likely direct surface drainage towards the adjacent building and isn't permitted.

When working independently, you must ensure that surface drainage from the slope that you create away from your house is directed to drain towards a public right-of-way. You may need to construct an internal swale to achieve this requirement.

I want to re-landscape my lot. Do I need a permit or Lot Grading Approval from the City of Edmonton?

There is no permit requirement for re-grading that does not alter an existing, approved drainage pattern. Your re-landscaping efforts must ensure that any grade changes will direct surface drainage towards a public right-of-way (usually a street or a lane) without draining onto an adjacent private property. However, if there is an approved Lot Grading Plan for the area and alterations result in a complaint to the City of Edmonton, a re-application for Final Lot Grading Approval may be required. The owner is responsible to establish and maintain lot grading under provisions of the Drainage Bylaw.

I live in a condominium and several units including mine have been flooded.

​Maintaining the site grading is the responsibility of the Condominium Association. If the project was built after 1993, an approved lot grading plan shoud be in place. This plan can serve as the basis for solving surface drainage issues. Problems in projects constructed before 1993 must be solved using common sense, good grading principles, and the provisions of the Drainage Bylaw with the Lot Grading Guidelines.

The Condo Board or Management company may want to call the City of Edmonton at 311 and speak with a Lot Grading Inspector. When provided with your address we can guide you with the appropriate requirements and make you aware of any specific designs that must be maintained. Subsequently, you should also be aware that EPCOR provides a complimentary Flood Prevention Home Check-up service that focuses on flood control and maintenance strategies to protect your home. The Condo Board or Management company can call (780) 944-7777 or email floodprevention@epcor.com to book a visit by a Flood Prevention Advisor.

How can I participate in the Flood Prevention Program?

​Maintaining good drainage on your residential property is a component of flood prevention. A flooded yard or basement can cause serious damage to your property and cost time, money and inconvenience. Our home flood prevention check-up service brings a drainage specialist to your home, for a complimentary one-on-one interior and exterior drainage assessment.

The service is available from May-October to any residential homeowner in Edmonton (certain conditions apply). However, preference for booking an appointment is given to homeowners that have a history of flooding.

Call (780) 944-7777 or email floodcheckup@epcor.com to schedule an appointment. All bookings are based on a first come, first served basis. The Flood Prevention Home Check-up webpage provides more information about the program.