When making a claim against the City for flood or sewer back-up damages it’s important to note that the City will not be responsible for your property damage if the City’s Toronto Water division has met installation and maintenance standards for its water and sewage systems, specifically:

Installation

  • Installation of water or sewer service was completed in accordance with the engineering practices that prevailed at the time.

Maintenance

  • A reasonable maintenance system is in place and adhered to. This includes proactive measures to prevent water and sewage systems from failure and to ensure mechanisms are in place to enable the City to respond appropriately to system failures.

Watermain breaks or sewer backups can be attributed to causes other than the City’s failure to properly install or maintain its infrastructure. The weather, for example, can have a significant impact.

The pressures created by the freeze/thaw cycles during the winter can also place a significant amount of strain on watermains. These pressures often result in leaks and ruptures. Severe weather systems that pass through the City can also strain the sewer system.

Significant rainfall over a short period of time can result in the City’s storm and combined sewers taking in more water than they are designed to accommodate, resulting in sewer backups.