Patrick McAllister talks to an Oak Bay public works crew during repairs to the storm drain on Dewdney Street, Jan. 4. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Patrick McAllister talks to an Oak Bay public works crew during repairs to the storm drain on Dewdney Street, Jan. 4. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Crews swamped as recent rains flood Oak Bay homes

Victoria drainage company gets hundreds of calls in one day

Prevention is key to avoiding water entering Vancouver Island basements but sometimes, you can only prevent so much.

Nature will find a way in. The first heavy rainfall of the year was at record levels, with 32 mm of rain recorded on Jan. 2 by Weather Canada in Victoria, a heavy day for the rainy region.

“We had all new perimeter drains installed last year,” said Patrick McAllister, who lives in Oak Bay near the corner of Dewdney and Mayhew streets in Uplands.

McAllister’s home has experienced water intrusion during heavy rain events for years. It happened on Dec. 23 despite new perimeter drainage and then again on Jan. 2.

READ ALSO: Find the slow leak before the big rains burst through

“It’s not just us. The neighbour has had up to four inches of water in their basement,” McAllister said.

On Monday, an Oak Bay public works crew dug a hole down to the storm connection to remediate the problem.

It was one of nine storm drain related calls that public works crews have responded to due to recent rainfall.

“Four of those calls were related to water issues specific to residents, meaning potential water ingress [in homes], and five of those calls were related to plugged catch basins resulting in pooling/localized flooding [which impacted] vehicle/people traffic flow on streets,” said Dan Horan, director of engineering and public works. “Our crew worked for approximately seven hours in response to those calls.”

Oak Bay Fire Chief Darren Hughes said the department responded to six water-related calls on Saturday. The department actually has a set of sump pumps it will lend out to help residents drain water out of a building.

In many cases, it’s incumbent on the homeowner to handle the problem.

When 52 mm of rain fell on Dec. 21, Jaeson Navaroli of Victoria-based Drain Pro Plumbing fielded 250 calls, emails and messages in five hours. Navaroli said all 45 members of staff are working “full bore” again this week as Drain Pro was booked for calls through to Friday.

“We see this happen every year, we put posts out, ‘clean the gutters, get them out of the ground and steer them away from the foundation drains to alleviate the flooding,’ until someone can get there,” Navaroli said. “We have countless excavating jobs where we are digging up to alter or repair [backups].”

READ ALSO: Oak Bay, Saanich emergency crews rescue man trapped headfirst in well filling with water


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