September 16, 2017 2:35 pm

City of Peterborough updates infrastructure to avoid repeat of 2004 flood

Many climate change and environmental activists say natural disasters could be the start of more severe weather patterns around the world. Peterborough is no stranger to flooding, but what has the city done to improve infrastructure since the flood in 2004?


In the wake of the destruction left by both Hurricane Harvey and Irma, the City of Peterborough is shoring up its stormwater infrastructure to reduce the risk of future flooding.

Many climate change and environmental activists say these natural disasters could be the start of more severe weather patterns around the world.

READ MORE: Expect more ‘extreme and unusual’ weather in 2017: report

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The City of Peterborough is no stranger to extreme flooding. In 2004, Peterborough saw one of the most significant natural disasters ever to hit the city.

On July 15, 2004, a record of 78.8 mm of rain fell on the city between 3:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m.

Overall, Peterborough saw 175 mm of rain that day.

Owner of The Antique Shop, Mike Seeley, saw his entire downtown store flooded with water that day.

“Came down to the store, looked inside, and there it was full of water, waist deep.”

Seeley was lucky enough to get back on his feet after the flood. However, he says in this type of situation, many people aren’t so lucky.

“When you look at what’s happened in the U.S. over the last couple of weeks, you understand it when it’s happened to you. You have empathy for those people, and it’s horrifying.”

Since 2004, the City of Peterborough has implemented the Flood Reduction Master Plan.

Stormwater Systems co-ordinator, Ian Boland, says the plan includes $5 million a year to update stormwater infrastructure and sanitary sewer upgrades.

Boland says there’s also an additional $1 million towards inflow and infiltration improvements.

“Historically, sanitary sewers get old and cracked, and then you start to get inflow and infiltration, so basically, rain water going into those sanitary sewers. Then when you have a big flood like 2004, it overloads your sanitary sewers so you have backups into people’s basements and overflows at the treatment plants.”

Just some of the improvements include two stormwater ponds on Medical Drive and a planned flood diversion sewer on Bethune Street.

The City of Peterborough is also promoting “Rethink The Rain,” a program aimed at educating residents on controlling run-off on their own property.

“Installing rain barrels, installing rain gardens, things like that — that helps reduce flooding. If everybody did that, we’d be in a much better place.”

Residents can find more information at


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