Donovan couple bailing water from their driveway as snowbank blocks drainage
On Thursday afternoon, Ann Zygmont, 76, was outside her home in the Donovan, broom in hand, trying to keep a mini-ocean from being created in her driveway.
She said the spring melt normally flows down her street without many problems, but this year is different. Heavy snow and an extended winter created unusually wide and high snowbanks. That has narrowed streets in the neighbourhood to the point where, in some areas, only one car can safely pass through the road.
To make matters worse, her hilly street flattens in front of the house, where she and husband Eugene, 84, have lived for 10 years. The curb that would normally route the water around the property is encased in ice and snow at the bottom of the snowbank. So right now, the extended snowbank is funneling the water into her driveway.
“We've been bailing and brushing for five days,” she said.
She called the city a few days ago, and was told that a foreman would be informed. What she and her husband are hoping for is either a pump, so they can flush the water out of the driveway and down the hill, or for the city to come and break up the snowbank so the water can drain naturally.
“If they would come and make the curb visible, then the water would follow the curb downhill,” Zygmont said. “But we've called the city and no one has shown up. And we've been calling for five days.
“We've been bailing it two or three times a day (and) my husband and I, we're two seniors here.”
Shannon Dowling, a communications officer with the city, said reports of “ponding,” as such cases are known, have been coming in for several weeks. With the spring melt taking hold, and so much snow still on the ground, she said residents who have concerns should call the city.
“So dial 311 and report it to us, and we'll send a foreman out, as was done in this case,” Dowling said.
While she didn't know the specifics of what the foreman reported, she said staff responds to the calls, assess the situation and determine whether the city should and is able to address the problem.
“However, residents are responsible for snowbanks on their property,” she said.
The city's website has a lot of general advice and steps residents can take to minimize the threat of flood damage, including:
– Put weather protection sealant around basement windows and the base of ground-level doors.
– Keep your eavestroughs free of debris.
– Ensure your window wells have proper drainage.
– Clear the storm sewer grates in front of your property of debris.
More information can be found at www.greatersudbury.ca/living/emergency-preparedness/prepare-for-emergencies/know-what-to-do/hazard-preparedness1/flood/