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Backflow Prevention Program

Important Updates

Stakeholder Update, Spring 2017

Further to previous communications and consultations, this email serves to provide you with an overview of proposed program requirements for the City of Ottawa’s Backflow Prevention Program. This program is scheduled to be presented to the City’s Environment and Climate Protection Committee on Tuesday, June 20, 2017, and considered by the whole of Council on Wednesday, June 28, 2017.

The elements of the Program that will be discussed at Committee and Council include:

  • Program requirements, including roles and responsibilities for property owners, backflow device testers and the City of Ottawa
  • Implementation plan, including how City staff will continue to keep you informed and be available to address your questions
  • Qualifications for site surveyors, backflow device installers and backflow device testers
  • Program delivery model

Consultations have been an integral part of the program’s on-going development. We have reviewed your feedback and have made the following changes to the program proposal:

  1. We have extended the proposed implementation timeline from four to 10 years to allow property owners with sufficient time to budget for costs, complete necessary assessments and install devices.
  2. We will describe and provide clarification on the qualifications that site surveyors, backflow device installers and backflow device testers will need to deliver the City’s program (in relation to standards and requirements established by CSA, Ontario Buildings Code, etc.) within the report content.
  3. Although we will not maintain a list of qualified persons to conduct site surveys or install and test backflow devices, we are committed to directing property owners looking for qualified persons to associations, like the Ontario Water Works Association (OWWA), that maintain a list of certified testers.

These changes reflect the City of Ottawa’s on-going commitment to partnering with local businesses in order to invest in the long-term safety of our shared water resource and the wellbeing of all residents.

Following Committee and Council consideration of the proposed program, we will be reaching out to you again.

In the meantime, we will continue to provide you with up-to-date information on our Backflow Prevention Program webpage on the City of Ottawa’s website. If you have any questions, please direct them to

Thank you,

Kevin Wylie
General Manager, Public Works and Environmental Services Department

Backflow Prevention: Description and Objectives

A new Backflow Prevention Program is being developed to prevent the backflow of contaminated water from buildings connected to the City’s drinking water system. The intent of the program is to comply with the highest industry drinking water protection standards, ensure public safety, and address the last unmitigated risk to the drinking water system.

What is a backflow incident?

Backflow incidents happen when low water pressure causes contaminants to flow from buildings into the city drinking water system, potentially causing a public health risk. The City has a duty to comply with the highest industry drinking water protection standards and will work to prevent these incidents to ensure public safety and the long term safety of our shared water resource.

Backflow prevention programs are currently in place in numerous Ontario municipalities, including Toronto, Hamilton, London, Markham, Halton Region and Waterloo.

Implications for property owners

Approximately 14,000 institutional, commercial, industrial and multi-residential facilities across the city will need to be assessed to determine their level of risk. Once assessments are complete, severe and moderate risk buildings will be required to install a backflow prevention device.

NOTE: The majority of City drinking water customers (approximately 212,000 minor risk residential buildings) will not be impacted by this program.

If you have any questions or require further information, please send an email to and City staff will follow up with you.

Stakeholder Consultations: March 2016

 Stakeholder consultations took place in early March 2016 for building owners that could be impacted by the Program and professionals that may have a role in implementing the program.


The consultation sessions included a presentation on the proposed program.

The following sessions were held:

  • March 8: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Richelieu-Vanier Community Centre, 300 Pères-Blancs Ave. – Kiwanis Hall
  • March 10: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Dr. – Chamber Hall


Feedback on the proposed program was collected during the consultations and through an online survey in March 2016.

Results from these sessions and from the online survey will inform an upcoming report to City Council that will propose the approach for the Backflow Prevention Program. Implementation of the program is planned to begin in 2018.

If you have any questions or require further information, please send an email to and City staff will follow up with you.