Flood Preparedness

The Township of Edwardsburgh Cardinal is not responsible for damage to private property in the event of a flood. The information contained herein is a compilation of advice and best practices from our partners and relevant authorities, and includes information on accessing support from the Township. It should be used for informational purposes only.

IJC’s Online Questionnaire:

The IJC would like to hear from you through this voluntary online questionnaire. Your input will be valuable in evaluating and improving the scientific and engineering models that have been developed to estimate potential damages under a range of water level conditions.

Click Here to Share the Impacts You Have Experienced

Flood Preparedness: Table of Contents

Before a Flood

Know Your Risks

Floods are typically caused by melting snow, ice jams, heavy spring rains and summer thunderstorms. Flash flooding is caused by violent rain storms or breaking dams — often occurring with little or no warning. They can damage property and cause serious harm.

Visit the International Joint Commision Online for news releases and information regarding Plan 2014: https://ijc.org/en

Not sure if your home is located in a flood prone area? For a reasonable fee, South Nation Conservation offers a Property Inquiry Service to property owners. Contact info@nation.on.ca or 1-977-984-2948 for more information.

Stay Informed

The South Nation Conservation Authority is responsible for local flood messaging.

Make an Emergency Plan

In an emergency, your family may not be together, or you may be asked to evacuate your home. Thinking about what you would do in different situations and preparing a plan with every member of your family is the first step to being prepared. Consider who you and your family can contact to share information if you are not able to reach eachother. Discuss a safe meeting place both close by and outside your neighbourhood, review emergency phone numbers, and know how to shut off utilities. Keep a copy of your plan with your emergency kit. For more information about building a plan, visit the Office of the Fire Marshal & Emergency Management online: https://www.emergencymanagementontario.ca/english/beprepared/Step1MakeAPlan/Step1_make_a_plan.html

Have an Emergency Kit Ready

Consider the following items to include in an emergency kit:

  • Food (non-perishable and easy-to-prepare items, enough for 3 days) and a manual can opener
  • Bottled water (4 litres per person for each day)
  • Medication(s)
  • Flashlight
  • Radio (crank or battery-run)
  • Extra batteries
  • First-aid kit
  • Candles and matches/lighter
  • Hand sanitizer or moist towelettes
  • Important papers (identification, contact lists, copies of prescriptions, etc.)
  • Extra car keys and cash
  • Whistle (to attract attention, if needed)
  • Zip-lock bag (to keep things dry)
  • Garbage bags

Special considerations should be made regarding medications, infants or small children, pets, or any special needs your family may have. For more information about building an emergency kit, visit the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management: https://www.emergencymanagementontario.ca/english/beprepared/Step2BuildAKit/Step2_build_a_kit.html

Protect your property

The Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management advises the following steps to protect your property before a flood:

  • Put weather protection sealant around basement windows and ground-level doors
  • Install “check valves” in sewer traps to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home
  • Install the drainage for downspouts a sufficient distance from your home to ensure water moves away from the building
  • Move documents and keepsakes out of the basement
  • Keep instructions for shutting off gas and water valves handy and read them carefully
  • Talk to your neighbours and plan to help each other during an emergency


For residents that choose to protect their properties with sandbags, the Township will have sand piles available at multiple locations close to the waterfront that can be easily accessed this Spring.

Bags will be available at the Public Works Garage on Dishaw St. in Cardinal. Please call our Public Works department at (613)349-9296 before picking up bags.
Sand can be found at the following locations. Please follow all public health recommendations and practice social distancing while filling sandbags.

To Build a Sandbag Wall:

  • Base area of Sand Bag wall should be clear of snow and ice.
  • Leave at least 8 feet between Sand Bag wall and building.
  • Base of Sand Bag wall should be at least 2 feet wider than expected height.
  • Every second layer of bags should be setback 1/4 of a bag width both on the riverside and the land side of the Sand Bag wall giving a step like appearance. The top of the finished Sand Bag wall should be two feet wide.
  • The bottom layer of bags on the river side will run parallel with the river.
  • It is recommended that 6 mil polyethylene sheets in 10 foot wide rolls be used as a water proofing layer on the river side of the Sand Bag wall. The poly sheet should be placed loosely against the sand bag dike during construction with a protective layer of sand bags placed on the river side as indicated in the figure.
  • Have extra sand bags on hand to strengthen any weak spots in the Sand Bag wall.

If untied bags are used, the top, or unfilled portion of the bag, should be stretched lengthwise and the next bag laid on top of it. Untied Bags should be filled to half full, with the open end facing upstream so that sand is not washed away.

To estimate the number of sandbags needed based on height and length of your wall, a calculator can be found online: https://sandbaggy.com/blogs/articles/sandbag-calculator

During a Flood

Safety First

If there is an emergency, contact 9-1-1.

The Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management provides the following safety tips in the event of a flood:

If you are instructed by emergency officials to evacuate, do so immediately.

If you are indoors:

  • Move essential items (and household chemicals) to an upper floor
  • Disconnect electrical appliances — don’t touch electrical equipment if you’re wet or standing in water
  • Bring in outdoor furniture (if you have time)
  • Don’t eat food that’s come in contact with flood waters

If you are outdoors:

  • Move to higher ground if there is a chance of a flash flood
  • Don’t walk through moving water — you may fall
  • If you have to walk — look for where the water is not moving and use a stick to check the ground in front of you
  • Keep children away from flood water
  • Don’t drive through floodwaters

Well & Septic Safety

If your water supply well has been exposed to flooding, it may be contaminated with colourless, tasteless and odourless bacteria or chemicals that can cause serious illness in humans and pets. Immediately discontinue use; boiling well water does NOT make it safe. Obtain and use potable water from a safe source.

Systems should not be used while the drain field or tanks are covered with water. Resume system use once the water in the septic drain field is below the distribution pipes.

See important information from the South Nation Conservation Authority regarding Well and Septic Systems “After the Flood”.

Your Well After a Flood
Your Septic After a Flood

Emergency Access Concerns

In the event that road access to your residence becomes flooded, erosion and ground saturation may create an unstable condition for vehicle traffic including emergency vehicles. Emergency services may be delayed or unable to get to you in an emergency.

Pump & Generator Rentals

First Stop Equipment Rental
2678 Highway 43
Kemptville, ON K0G 1J0
Phone (613) 258 4152

G.C. Hudson Supply Limited
224 Hudson Point Road
Brockville, Ontario K6V 7E3
Toll Free: 800-267-8157
Local: 613-342-4578

1000 Islands Sales and Rentals
3537 Hwy 29
Brockville, ON
Phone: 613-345-2753

After a Flood

Private Wells

The Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit provides the following information regarding bringing a private well back into service following a flood:

When a water supply well has been affected by flood waters, the water within a well may be contaminated with waterborne pathogens (germs) that can cause serious illness in humans and pets. The water in the well can also be contaminated by debris, fuel oil or other chemical products released during the flood.

During flooding, the ground around the well may also erode, possibly creating unsafe conditions or a pathway for surface water and contaminants to enter the well. In other cases, the electrical wires attached to the pump in a well may be damaged risking electrocution. Therefore, well owners should exercise extreme caution approaching their wells, especially older, large diameter dug wells after a flood.

If a well owner believes that the well has been contaminated by flood water, the well owner should discontinue using the water in the well for drinking and cooking purposes and use potable water from another source.

Read more on the Health Unit’s website: https://healthunit.org/health-information/emergency-preparedness/personal-preparedness/flooding/private-wells/

Septic Systems

The Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit provides the following information regarding possible damage to septic systems following a flood.

If the soil around your home and septic system is water logged or covered with flood waters, your septic system will not work. Avoid using toilets, sinks, dishwashers, garbage disposals, or laundry during this time to prevent further damage and backup into your home. Ensure all septic tank lids and maintenance covers are still in place to prevent anyone from falling into the tank. Contact a licensed sewage installer to have your septic system checked for potential damage caused by flood water.

Signs that indicate your septic system has been damaged by flood waters include:

  • settling and/or sinking of the soil around your septic tank or leaching bed
  • depressions in the soil around your septic tank and leaching bed
  • water fixtures such as sinks and tubs draining slowly or not at all
  • toilets draining very slowly or making strange sounds when you flush them
  • water backing up into your basement through the floor drain
  • sewage ponding on the ground on top of and around the leaching bed

Do not use your septic system if you think it has been damaged.

Read more on the Health Unit’s website: https://healthunit.org/wp-content/uploads/What_to_Do_When_Flood_Waters_Have_Affected_Your_Septic_System.pdf

Sandbag Disposal

Sandbags should be removed when there is no longer a risk of flooding. Sandbags that have come in contact with floodwaters can become contaminated, and pose a risk to public health and safety.

The South Nation Conservation Authority offers the following advice in safely disposing of sandbags:

  • Wear gloves and boots to protect yourself from scrapes and contaminants.
  • If your sandbag has been in contact with flood water or if you suspect that sandbags have come into contact with industrial wastes, fuel, oil or other chemicals, sandbags must be disposed of at permitted waste handling facilities.
  • Sand from used sandbags should not be used in sandboxes, playgrounds, or other areas where it will be in contact with people.
  • Sand can be used to cover icy roads and sidewalks, mixed with concrete or mortar, as a based for sidewalks or pavement, or for cover in a landfill.
  • Instead of disposal, empty sandbags can be saved for future use, or recycled.
  • Clean, dry and filled sandbags can be saved and reused at other flood sites for up to 6 months.

The Canadian Red Cross

The Canadian Red Cross shares the following actions to take following a flood:

  • Be alert for further instructions from officials and community leaders – listen to the radio, watch your local news channels, and/or follow your local news outlet and/or emergency officials on social media.

We recommend following the Township of Edwardsburgh Cardinal on facebook, and the following organizations on twitter: @twpec, @SouthNationCA, @LGLHealthUnit. The township will also share updates on our website www.twpec.ca

  • Do not return home until you are advised it is safe to do so. 
  • Contact your insurance company and let them know what happened. They will want to know a record of damage to your home and belongings and may request photos or video. 
  • Maintain good hygiene during flood cleanup by minimizing contact with floodwater or anything that may have come in contact with it. 
  • Wear protective clothing, including rubber boots or sturdy boots, safety glasses, hard hat, rubber gloves and a dust mask. 
  • Do not use water that could be contaminated. 
  • Discard any food items which may have been in contact with flood waters. When in doubt, throw it out!
  • Do not use any appliances, heating, pressure, or sewage system until electrical components are dry and have been inspected by a qualified electrician.

The Canadian Red Cross has prepared a Guide to Flood Recovery: https://www.redcross.ca/crc/documents/What-We-Do/Emergencies-and-Disasters-CDN/Flood_Recovery_Guide_2018_SCREEN.pdf