While the last of the fall foliage may be beautiful in an icy puddle or a spot of colour still clinging to a bare branch, those leaves can cause headaches for property owners and municipal crews alike.
While many West Shore residents were lucky and made it through the mid-November rain and windstorm unscathed, it was still a good reminder for residents to be prepared for fall rains and to check their property’s perimeter drains, even if it doesn’t have a history of flooding.
“Any time there’s a storm coming, people should be checking their drainage,” said Sandra Russell, City of Colwood communications manager.
She said the City has a program in place to regularly check areas they are responsible for, as well as inspecting problem areas that receive special attention before, during and after stormy weather. During the Nov. 17 storm and afterward, crews worked around the clock to keep the water moving.
“The key for property owners is knowledge,” Russell said. Not only is it important to know if a property has a history of flooding, she explained, knowing where drainage happens around one’s home and ensuring those areas are clear of debris is equally crucial.
A number of older homes have downspouts that direct water down into buried drainage tiles along the edge of the house. If the tiles are old, damaged or clogged, it could potentially cause some flooding around a home’s foundation. Ideally, the water should be directed away from a building, preferably into a garden bed.
Russell even recommended homeowners consider installing rain gardens as “a beautiful way” to manage rainwater. A rain garden is a landscape feature designed to treat storm water runoff. They often consist of designated sunken garden spaces where runoff can pool and penetrate deep into native soils.
Michelle Mahovlich, Langford’s director of engineering, said the City takes responsibility for infrastructure in road right-of-ways, or easements, while residents are responsible for their driveway culverts.
Langford residents are also encouraged to check those items regularly, as well as any other types of drainage on their own land.
Mahovlich noted in a previous interview with the Gazette that the City does its best to keep drains clear and water flowing during heavy rainfalls, but sometimes it can’t keep up if there are extreme winds, especially overnight. “If you see a blocked drain, please remove the leaves,” she said.
For more information on rain gardens, go to crd.bc.ca and click on the education and environment tab. Following the links under green infrastructure for more information on rain gardens.