Residential Protective Plumbing program

**Please note that this program is currently on hold, and that no applications are being accepted at this time.** 

Program information
What is the application process?

Grant payments and restrictions

Protective plumbing and sewer backups

Sewer diagrams

Glossary

Program information

What is the Residential Protective Plumbing program?

The Residential Protective Plumbing program (RPPP) provides consultation and grant assistance services to City of Ottawa property owners who have experienced a backup of water or sewage in their basement caused by the overloading or blockage of city sewers.

The program can assist you to determine what is needed to prevent a future backup in your home if you:

  • Had a backup caused by surcharging of the city sewer system, or
  • Live in a location at risk of backups caused by surcharging of city sewers.

The protective plumbing evaluation is free and there is no cost to apply to the program. You may also be eligible for a grant to offset the cost of installing protective plumbing in your home.

Who is eligible for the grant program?

You may be eligible for a grant to offset the cost of installing protective plumbing if:

  • You are a homeowner living within the boundaries of the City of Ottawa, and
  • Your property taxes have been paid, and
  • You have experienced a basement or cellar backup, or
  • Live in an area that has experienced basement or cellar backups, and
  • The backups are:
    • Caused by the surcharging of City sewers, and
    • Can be verified through the City or Insurance Company records.

How do I apply for the program?

Pick up your application form at a Client Service Centre or download the form online.

Complete the application form and submit it with all the necessary information to the Residential Protective Plumbing program.

How do I apply if I live in a condominium?

The property manager for your condominium usually applies for the program on your behalf. If this happens the condominium will ask you to sign a letter of permission authorizing the work. The condominium corporation will coordinate the installation of the protective plumbing and will process the protective plumbing grants for you.

Sometimes you can apply on your own but you may need permission from the condominium corporation first. Please contact your condominium representative for additional information.

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What is the Application Process?

Step 1 – You submit an application

Download an application or pickup a form from a City of Ottawa Client Service Centre or call the Residential Protective Plumbing Program and ask them to send you a form. Complete your application and mail it to the Residential Protective Plumbing program. Be sure to include:

  • proof of ownership, and
  • proof of basement backup, and
  • your signature.

Step 2 – Your application is reviewed

A City employee will verify your property information and check to see that your application is complete.
If eligible -
you will be sent a letter confirming that your application was received.
If ineligible
(or if your application was not complete) - you will be sent a letter with an explanation.
If your taxes are not paid -
you will be asked to settle the balance and call the City back when it is paid.

Condominium By-laws may prevent you from proceeding with protective plumbing work without approval. Talk to your condominium representative for additional information. Sometimes the condominium will ask you to sign a letter of permission and will apply on your behalf.

Step 3 – A program representative investigates your plumbing requirements

You will be called to schedule a site visit to your home approximately two weeks after you receive your eligibility letter. The site visit is required so that a program representative can determine the protective plumbing work required for your home. This will involve taking measurements and photographs of the plumbing and asking questions to determine the extent of the basement backup and its cause. More than one visit may be required.

We will also conduct a closed circuit television inspection (CCTV) of your sanitary sewer service. The CCTV inspection helps to determine the condition of the sewer pipe connecting your house to the sewer main and identifies other problems that may contribute to a sewer backup.

A consulting firm working for the City of Ottawa conducts the protective plumbing evaluations.

There is no cost to you for the evaluations or other inspections that may be required.

Program representatives will display photo identification from the City of Ottawa or their respective companies, upon request.

Step 4 – You are sent an investigation report when the evaluation is complete

After the representative has completed the investigation, they will send you an information package containing a covering letter and a detailed report explaining the protective plumbing work that is required for your home.

The letter will ask you to obtain quotes for the work proposed in the investigation report.

To avoid unnecessary expense, you should confirm that you are eligible and approved for the program and that quotes are approved before you obtain building permits or undertake any protective plumbing work.

Step 5 – You arrange for Contractor quotes

Review the investigation report. If you are comfortable with the scope of work, contact one or more contractors to obtain quotes for the work proposed in the evaluation report. Be sure that the contractor includes all miscellaneous items such as taxes, and permit fees etc. in your quotes so they can be included for grant consideration.

Submit the quote(s) to the program representative. The program representative will review the quote(s) to determine if the price(s) is/are reasonable for the scope of the proposed work. After the evaluation, the program representative will contact you to let you know it is okay to proceed.

The Protective Plumbing By-law permits a program representative to ask you for up to three (3) quotes if the estimates you submit are higher than expected when they are compared to quotes submitted by other applicants for similar work.

Step 6 – The Contractor installs the protective plumbing

Call your contractor and ask them to proceed with the work. Do not start the work unless you received approval from the Program Coordinator and either you or the Contractor have made arrangements for a plumbing permit and a plumbing inspection by a City of Ottawa Plumbing Inspector.

A protective plumbing grant will not be issued unless you can provide proof of inspection.

Step 7 – Pay the contractor and schedule a follow-up inspection

When the work is finished, pay the contractor and keep copies of all invoices and proof of payment. Notify the program representative when this is done to schedule a site visit to verify the completion of the work.

A protective plumbing grant will not be issued unless you can provide proof of payment.

During the site visit, the program representative will review the protective plumbing installation and may take photographs of the work that has been completed.

If you are unable to finish the approved work before the construction season ends, you can apply for a partial payment grant to offset the cost of the work that has already been completed.

Step 8 – Submit proof of payment to the program representative

After the site visit the representative will ask you to provide copies of the building permit, plumbing inspection, invoices and proof of payment.

If you have not submitted the proof of payment within one year you will be removed from the program unless you request an extension or submit a partial payment request.

You have one year from the date that you are approved for the program to complete the work and submit proof of payment. If you have not submitted proof of payment within this time you may be removed from the program and asked to reapply.

Step 9 – The representative submits information to the City of Ottawa

The program representative completes the remaining paperwork and provides copies of all information to the City including: bills, invoices, inspection records, quotes and confirmation that the work was completed and that all protective plumbing devices have been installed as recommended.

Step 10 – Rebates are processed by the City of Ottawa

The City reviews the information, and notifies you that a rebate is being processed. Approximately one week later a rebate cheque will be mailed to you or your property manager if a condominium applied on your behalf.

How do I apply for a Partial Payment?

Contact the Residential Protective Plumbing Program and request a form or download a partial payment form from ottawa.ca. Complete the form and mail it to the Residential Protective Plumbing Program.

You have one year to complete all the work recommended by the City once you submit the partial payment form. If the work is not completed by this time, the City will ask you to repay the grant and/or collect this amount by adding it to your property taxes.

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Grant Payments and Restrictions

How much will the City pay?

The amount of a grant is governed by the City of Ottawa Protective Plumbing By-law 2005-209 and its amendments.

Protective Plumbing only

The amount approved under the By-law for the installation of protective plumbing devices is:

  • 100 per cent of the cost of the work to a maximum of $4,000 (including taxes) where a basement or cellar experienced a backup resulting from the blockage or surcharging of a city sewer, or
  • 50 per cent of the cost of the work to a maximum of $2,500 (including taxes) for a house that did not have a backup but is located in an area with a history of the blockage or surcharging of city sewers.

Protective Plumbing with Flat Roof Drainage

The amount approved under the By-law for residential dwellings having to address drainage from a flat roof is:

  • 100 per cent of the cost of the work to a maximum of $7,500 (including taxes) where a basement or cellar experienced a backup resulting from blockage or surcharging of a city sewer

or

  • 50 per cent of the cost of the work to a maximum of $3,750 (including taxes) for a house that did not experience a backup, but is located in an area with a history of blockage or surcharging of city sewers.

Protective Plumbing with a Sealed Sump Pump System

The amount approved under the By-law for residential dwellings having to address drainage issues for which the installation of a sealed sump pump system for the foundation drains is one of the protective plumbing devices recommended through the engineering evaluation of the home is:

  • 100 per cent of the cost of the work to a maximum of $7,500 (including taxes) where a basement or cellar experienced a backup resulting from blockage or surcharging of a city sewer; or
  • 50 per cent of the cost of the work to a maximum of $3,750 (including taxes) for a house that did not experience a backup, but is located in an area with a history of blockage or surcharging of city sewers.

Adjacent Properties

Homeowners are eligible for 100 per cent grant coverage appropriate for the type of installation described in the previous sections if:

  • the property is located immediately adjacent to the property that experienced a backup, or
  • one side of a semidetached home experienced a backup and the other half of the building is at risk.

Why would an application or grant not be considered?

Grant applications are reviewed, approved or rejected on the basis of the following criteria:

  • the backup in your basement or cellar must have been reported to the City or your insurance company before you applied for the program;
  • property records describing the backup in the basement or cellar of neighbouring properties must be on record with the City;
  • the basement or cellar flooding must have resulted from the blockage or surcharging of a city sewer; and
  • the installation of protective plumbing must be an effective means of preventing a backup caused by the blockage or surcharging of a city sewer affecting that property.

A protective plumbing grant may not be issued for the following reasons.

  • You are not eligible for the program because:
    • your application is rejected or your property does not meet the program requirements.
  • You don’t follow the process or fulfill the program requirements such as:
    • waiting for program approval before doing the work; or
    • completing the work as outlined in the city proposal; or
    • obtaining a building permit or plumbing inspection by a City Inspector, or
    • submitting proof of payment for the completion of the work within 12 months as requested.
  • Your building drainage is inadequate and your property:
    • discharges stormwater to the city sewer system inappropriately, or
    • violates the Building Code and By-laws in effect when your building was constructed, or
    • does not have foundation drainage or building sewers installed in accordance with City By-laws.
  • Protective plumbing would not be suitable for your property because:
    • the Program evaluation determined that protective plumbing may aggravate existing problems, or
    • the City offers better options for protecting your property through other programs available for construction, maintenance, rehabilitation and repair.
    •  

Are there limits to the City's grant availability?

Grant allocations are considered on a first-come, first-served basis depending on the City's annual budget allocation for the program year. If you do not receive a grant because of insufficient funds this year, your application will be kept on file and you will be notified and considered for the program next year.

Can I withdraw from the program?

The Protective Plumbing Program is a voluntary program and you can withdraw at any time, however in order to receive a grant you must agree:

  • to permit the City to perform a plumbing evaluation of your property and determine the protective plumbing requirements;
  • to undertake all the work defined by the City as necessary in accordance with Building Code and By-law requirements; and
  • to secure all necessary permits and approvals prior to the performance of the work.

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Protective plumbing and sewer backups

What is sewer surcharging?

Sewer surcharging is the rise in water levels in sewer mains caused by overloading (i.e. too much rain or snowmelt) or a blockage in the City sewer system. If the water level in the sewer rises above the height of the floor drains and plumbing fixtures in your basement or cellar, you may experience a backup of water and sewage into your home.

What is protective plumbing?

Protective plumbing describes the methods used to prevent water and sewage from entering your home through sewer service connections during a surcharge event of the City sewer system. These methods can range from installing a sump pump and changing the footing drains around your foundation to installing an approved backwater valve on the sewer pipes connecting your sanitary sewer to the City sewers.

Do I have to maintain my protective plumbing devices?

Protective plumbing must be checked and maintained periodically to ensure it is free of debris and continues to work properly and that cleanout caps and access covers are firmly secured. Contact a plumber or check with your installer or manufacturers recommendations.

Will protective plumbing keep water out of my basement?

Protective plumbing prevents basement backups of water and wastewater caused by the blockage or surcharging of City sewers.

Protective plumbing will not prevent water from entering your basement due to:

  • The entry of water through window wells or cracks in your walls
  • Failure of foundation drains, or sump pumps
  • Overflowing eaves troughs and plugged downspouts
  • Poor foundation drainage
  • Poor lot drainage
  • Water sources from inside the house

What about backups caused by water from inside the house?

Protective plumbing will not prevent backups caused by water from inside your house.

Sewer Diagrams

How do the sewer systems work?

Sewer Diagrams: How do the sewer systems work?

How does water enter your home?

In some homes, water entered through cleanout caps or backwater valves on storm systems.

How does water enter your home?
In some homes, water entered through cleanout caps or backwater valves on storm systems.

  • In some homes, water enters through window wells or cracks in the foundation, walls or floors
  • In other homes, water backs up through plumbing features that aren’t properly installed or through cleanout caps that are not properly secured on backwater valves and sewer cleanouts
  • In homes without backwater valves, water can backup through the floor drain.

Glossary

Backwater valve - a valve that permits flow in one direction but prevents a return of flow in the opposing direction.

Foundation drainage or footing drainage - describes the underground and surface water (groundwater) that makes its way to a building’s foundation and footings, which is collected and drained away from the building to the City’s drainage and sewer networks.

Protective Plumbing – refers to the means and devices used to prevent water and sewage from the City sewer system from back flowing through household sewer connections and overflowing inside basements and cellars.

Sanitary sewage - is wastewater containing a mixture of solid and liquid household waste, suspended in water, that is discharged from household items such as : basement floor drains, bathtubs, dishwashers, sinks, showers, washing machines, and water closets (toilets).

Stormwater runoff – stormwater and wet weather run-off (land drainage or surface runoff) collected around roads, parks, rooftops, and private property and building footing drains.

Sewer cleanout – an access fitting with an air-tight closure that is installed in sewer drainage systems to provide readily accessible access for cleaning, inspection and maintenance. Cleanouts are generally located inside the house where sewer plumbing exits the building.

Sewer mains – the public sewers on City property, including:

  • Combined sewer - a City sewer system that collects and sends municipal sewage (sanitary sewage), intercepted surface storm water runoff, and foundation drainage, all within a single pipe.
  • Partially separated sewer - a City sewer system that consists of a storm runoff drainage system that collects and conveys intercepted surface runoff, and a separate sanitary sewer system that receives and conveys municipal sewage as well as foundation drainage and some driveway and surface drainage.
  • Separated sewer - a City sewer system in which municipal sewage is collected and conveyed through a sanitary sewer pipe network, and surface storm water runoff and foundation drainage is collected and conveyed through a separate storm runoff drainage system.

Sewer surcharging (sewer) –refers to water levels in sewers rising above their design capacity caused by overloading from too much water flow or a blockage/interruption that restricts the flow of water inside a City sewer.

Sump pump – a device located in a pit in your basement to pump water from your foundation drainage system to the surface or the City’s storm sewer main.

For more information

If you are interested in this program, it is important to contact the City to discuss your requirements and the circumstances pertaining to your home before undertaking any work.

Homeowner application forms and condominium owner authorization forms can be downloaded electronically from ottawa.ca. Forms can also be obtained from the City of Ottawa Client Service Centres and the Residential Protective Plumbing Program office.

For additional information please contact:

Residential Protective Plumbing Program
Environmental Services Department
Customer Service Branch
City of Ottawa
951 Clyde Avenue
Ottawa, ON K1Z 5A6

Tel: 3-1-1
Fax: 613-728-6928
TTY: 613-580-2401

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