The rainy season has arrived in Toronto, with heavy downpours this past weekend and yet another “special weather statement” for thunderstorms across the GTA this week. As always, this brings with it concerns of basement flooding, although the nightmare that faced Union Station officials and Toronto plumbers on Friday was unprecedented. The difference between regular rainwater flooding and the station debacle was the presence of raw sewage in the floodwaters, caused by overflowing sewers in the area surrounding the station.

Construction is the Culprit

The main culprit, city officials believe, was the construction taking place on Union Station’s aging infrastructure, and it’s a harsh reminder of one of the issues plaguing home renovations. Summer is a popular time for rebuilding and remodeling; not only do many homeowners have time off from work but once June is over we can generally expect clear weather for up to a week at a time. Construction activities are often the cause of damage that results in future flooding of your home, and the need to call your Toronto plumbers for help.

Pipe Damage

Any renovations that require accessing the mainline to the city sewer or your drainage system can cause pipe or sewer damage. Each of the following problems can cause the contents to back up:

–          breaks in the pipe

–          corrosion

–          blockage from construction debris

and you may end up with a similar situation to the one in Union Station. So, what happens when your drainage pipe is damaged, and it’s located underneath an expensive, paved patio? How do Toronto plumbers do repairs without digging up the patio and incurring the enormous costs of replacing the paving?

Camera Inspection

First, to determine the extent of the drainage problems, your local plumber will inspect the damaged drain or sewer with a closed-circuit camera attached to a flexible tube. The video from the camera is output onto a screen in full color, and once you know what is causing the flooding, you can decide how best to approach the repairs. Typical construction damage such as broken pipes is either caused by excavation in the wrong place or by the weight of a badly-positioned footing or foundation wall. Now, there are ways to repair these breaks without digging up the whole area.

Trenchless Repairs

The “trenchless” repair methods include drain lining and pipe bursting. Drain lining works by inserting a resin-fortified membrane into the pipe, inflating it to fill the space and giving the resin time to cure.  Toronto plumbers use pipe bursting to replace old or damaged clay pipes with new plastic piping and are done by “fracturing” the existing pipe with an expander and pushing it out of the way. A puller is used to bring up new plastic piping behind the broken pipe and pull it into position. Both these methods require access to the two ends of the pipe, but no excavation is needed.

If you’re doing renovations and want to avoid construction damage, or you suspect that recent heavy rains have caused damage, contact your local plumber today to arrange a camera inspection and an estimate for any repairs you need.

  • John

    I saw the flooding at Union first hand, what a crazy experience that was!