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Union Station flooding linked to missing section of sewer

Staff writers

June 6, 2012 — Flooding at Union Station prompted evacuations and wide-spread traffic delays earlier this month.

Wading through sewage
Wading through sewage

It appears that bad timing played a role in the recent flooding of Union Station.

On June 2nd one of Canada's busiest transportation hubs became inundated with water -- prompting wide-spread traffic delays and subway closures.

A sewage back-up, mixed with a heavy influx of rain, caused significant damage and sparked major cleanup efforts.

The cause of the flooding is being linked to a contractor who had removed a section of sewer prior to the rainfall, allowing water to rush into the station.

Moments after the flooding began on Friday, reports began popping up on social media.

Viewers posted videos of water gushing down stairwells like miniature waterfalls.

"It was awful," said one woman who was in Union Station when the flooding began.

"It was coming down like a monsoon -- it just came rushing down the stairs."

More than 100 shuttle buses were deployed to ease rush hour commuter congestion, but traffic slowed to a crawl in many places.

Witnesses said the water came down "like a monsoon"
Witnesses said the water came down "like a monsoon"

Water also flooded the lobby of neighbouring Royal Bank Plaza as well as part of the PATH system linked to Union -- prompting the closure of the underground walkway at 2 p.m.

Weather Network presenter Chris Mei was reporting live from Union Station Friday afternoon. He described the weather conditions as "cold and windy."

"Front Street is closed, and there are dozens of marked buses lining the road," he said, pointing to the large puddles surrounding the area.

Now, the City of Toronto and the TTC are working with a number of parties, including the Ministry of Natural Resources, to prevent a flood like this from happening again in the future.

"The coordinated response from the TTC and City to manage this incident yesterday was exceptional," said Mayor Rob Ford in a press release on Saturday. "Now we need to fully understand what happened and why so we can ensure this doesn't happen again."

"I very much regret the delay and frustration that yesterday's flood at Union Station caused to our customers and I would like to thank them for their patience during a difficult trip home," added Andy Byford, Chief Executive Officer of the TTC. 

About 38 mm of rain fell on Toronto by 5 p.m. Friday -- close to the 44 mm of rain the city saw during the entire month of May.

Wind gusts of up to 71 km/h were reported across the GTA Friday afternoon -- leading to some downed power lines and tree branches.

High water levels were reported at the Don Valley River, and police are warning people to be wary near watercourses.

This same system is set to bring up to 80 mm of rain to parts of Quebec on Saturday.

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