Toronto launches tunnel boring machine for stormwater tunnel project


Ontario Construction New staff writer

The City of Toronto has marked a major construction milestone, launching a tunnel boring machine that will construct a new storm sewer to collect, store and move stormwater from the Fairbank-Silverthorn area to Black Creek to help reduce the risk of basement flooding. This is the city’s largest basement flooding prevention project to date.

The first section of the 270-tonne tunnel boring machine will be lowered into a 40-metre-deep shaft inside Fairbank Memorial Park, located on Dufferin Street south of Eglinton Avenue West. The tunnel boring machine will begin constructing a three-kilometre, 4.5-metre diameter storm sewer.

“I am pleased to mark this important milestone in the Fairbank Silverthorn storm trunk sewer system project that will help protect thousands of basements from flooding,” said Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie. “This is particularly important as we see the increased frequency of impactful storms that can damage people’s homes and cherished belongings.

“This project will also help reduce combined sewer overflows from being released into local waterways.”

Once complete, this project will help mitigate basement flooding and sewer backups for more than 12,500 people living in 4,645 homes and reduce 40 million litres of annual combined sewer overflows into Black Creek and other local waterways.

Work includes a three-kilometre storm sewer from Fairbank Memorial Park in the east to Black Creek in the west. Once complete, the new sewer will hold and store stormwater and release it gradually into Black Creek at a controlled rate. A series of smaller storm sewers, totalling 17 kilometres in length, will also be constructed and connected to local catch basins to carry rainwater to this large new storm sewer. More than 320 devices will be installed to control rainwater flow in catch basins to reduce the risk of basement flooding and combined sewer overflows.

The project started in 2021 and will be completed in 2026 at a cost of $380 million.

The City has a comprehensive Basement Flooding Protection Program and a Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program, which offers homeowners a subsidy of up to $3,400 per property to install flood protection devices.

More information about the Fairbank Silverthorn Storm Trunk Sewer System project is available on the City’s website.


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