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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 in 1993 of city-wide surface drainage plans and procedures, 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 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 (in-fill housing) can create drainage problems or highlight existing problems resulting in basement flooding, property damage or disputes between neighbours.

Homeowners need to look at their own lot grading, and take the necessary steps to prevent flooding and property damage. Property owners are required by the Drainage Bylaw No. 16200 to ensure that a lot grading plan for the premises is approved by EPCOR prior to construction of any buildings, additions to buildings or alterations of surface drainage on the premises.

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 there is a problem. 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 have EPCOR investigate; contact 311 to register your complaint. EPCOR will send you an Information Guide for Surface Drainage Problems for more information about lot grading requirements, and how to resolve surface drainage problems, along with a Witness Statement Form for you to complete for Bylaw violations.

On receipt of your Witness Statement Form, a lot grading inspector will examine surface drainage conditions on both properties to identify bylaw violations. Non-Compliance notices will be sent for infractions of the Drainage Bylaw No. 16200. Property owners must then take steps to bring their property into compliance with the bylaw.

You may live in an area that has a Lot Grading Plan that was approved prior to the implementation of the Lot Grading Inspection and Approval program. If this is determined to be the case, then submission of a recent Lot Grading Certificate for the premises will be required to assist in the evaluation of Drainage Bylaw violations and conformance with the Approved Lot Grading Plan.

EPCOR does not have a mandate to resolve disputes. We offer information and an inspection service to identify violations of the Drainage Bylaw No. 16200.

FAQs

I had my grading approved, and the neighbour's construction/grading damaged mine. Who is responsible for fixing it?

​When an inspector completes a Rough or Final Grade Inspection and issues an approval, it verifies that at the time of inspection the property was in compliance with the Drainage Bylaw. From that moment on, as the owner of the property, it is your responsibility to maintain the lot grading in perpetuity regardless of natural settlement or activity caused by yourself or damage by a 3rd party. Property owners must take measures to ensure that others do not trespass and damage grading on your private property. EPCOR does not enforce or police such actions or determine cause or fault. That would require a civil action suit against the offending party or you as the owner should consult with the offending party and advise of the damage. You may also wish to consult with the Builder's Warranty program if damage by a 3rd party is covered.

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 not be less than 15 centimetres 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.

All property owners are responsible to grade their lots properly to allow surface drainage away from buildings and towards the public right-of-way.

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 catchbasin in the street. EPCOR 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.

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.

I live in a mature (older) neighbourhood and my neighbour has built a new house. 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 provide requirements for all houses to have a 10% slope away from the foundation walls. In the case of mature (in-fill) housing, the owner must submit a Lot Grading Certificate for approval to ensure conformance to the provisions of the Surface 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
  • Consult with the adjacent property owner to create a drainage plan that works for both properties
  • Check lot grading between the houses to make sure a positive and consistent slope along the drainage swale has been maintained

For a free 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 do re-landscaping on my lot. Can the City tell me if there is anything I should be aware of, as I proceed?

​EPCOR recommends maintaining positive slope from your foundation walls and paying close attention to how your stormwater is managed and directed.

You may want to call 311 and request to speak with an 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.

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 concern 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 utility 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?

​There is no permit requirement for re-grading that does not alter an existing drainage pattern. Your re-landscaping efforts must ensure that any grade changes will serve to 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.

My neighbour built a sidewalk that is at a higher elevation and the water runs into my yard.
​Call 311.
I want to check the status of a property to see if Rough or Final Grade Approval was issued.

​If you are a lawyer, realtor or homeowner looking to buy/sell a property in Edmonton, you can submit a written request to confirm that information.

I have a commercial business and during heavy rainstorms my parking lot floods around the catchbasin.

​All new commercial and multi-family properties have on-site stormwater management. The parking lot is designed to store rain water on the surface, which will slowly drain into the storm system through a reducer in the catchbasin. This is intended to prevent surcharging the storm sewers. All commercial and multi-family properties must contain surface drainage within the property (on-site).

I own a building in an older industrial area. A new business site has been built beside my area seems to have a higher elevation compared with the adjacent sites.

​All new commercial and multi-family properties are required to have on-site stormwater management. A lot grading plan indicating the proposed on-site drainage must be provided and graded in accordance with the lot grading plan and Lot Grading Guidelines. The builder of the new development must control the site grading, and stormwater management. Retaining walls may be needed to achieve this.

Adjustments to the site grading may be required to provide a better level of protection from rainfall and snow melt.

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, there should have an approved lot grading plan. 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.
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.