Report suggests big money needed to upgrade Edmonton’s strained storm drains

A City of Edmonton report shows Alberta’s capital is facing a reality confronting many other Canadian cities — aging sewer systems that can’t handle more turbulent storms resulting from climate change.

EDMONTON — A City of Edmonton report shows Alberta’s capital is facing a reality confronting many other Canadian cities — aging sewer systems that can’t handle more turbulent storms resulting from climate change.

Figures compiled in the report to be studied next week show $2.4 billion will be needed to upgrade sewers in 150 older neighbourhoods, with the hope that the provincial and federal governments would help cover some of the cost.

Coun. Ben Henderson says intense storms are becoming more frequent — about one every five years — and drainage systems in older areas are at risk because they can’t handle the load.

Henderson says the same problem exists across Canada and insurance companies have been aware of it for years.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada says flooding is the leading cause of property damage across the country, costing insurers about $1.7 billion per year.

Chris Ward, branch manager for Edmonton’s drainage services division, says the reality for property owners is that they could be facing sewer rate increases for several years to help pay for upgrading.

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