Residential Protective Plumbing Program

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The Residential Protective Plumbing Program (RPPP) provides financial assistance to qualified City of Ottawa property owners for the installation of protective plumbing devices, such as sump pumps and storm and sanitary backwater valves to prevent water and sewage from flooding homes as a result of increased water level (surcharging) in the City’s sewer system.

Who is eligible for the program?

To be eligible for the Residential Protective Plumbing Program, the following must be satisfied:


Step 1: Submit Part 1 of Application

Download Part 1 of the application.

Discuss device options with a licensed plumber. Some backwater valves have been specifically designed and approved for retrofit installations to address potential issues such as pipe slope (drainage) and space limitations.

Ensure your completed application is signed and includes the following documentation:

  • Proof of ownership (copy of deed, land transfer or property tax bill), and

The following documents prepared by a licensed plumber:

  • Detailed listing of proposed work (included on application form)
  • Quote for the proposed work
  • Detailed diagram showing existing and proposed work (included on application form)

Applications can be sent via e-mail or mail to the Residential Protective Plumbing Program at or

Residential Protective Plumbing Program
Infrastructure and Water Services Department
City of Ottawa
951 Clyde Avenue
Ottawa, ON K1Z 5A6

Condominium Associations

To proceed with a Residential Protective Plumbing Program application, Condominium Associations must first obtain, in writing, permission from each property owner to act on their behalf.

Download the Homeowner Authorization form. The completed Homeowner Authorization forms should be submitted with the Part 1 Application form.

Step 2: Part 1 Application Review

The City will review your application and will contact you regarding the status of your application, next steps and assigned RPPP file number. Please refer to your RPPP file number when contacting the City regarding your application.

Step 3: CCTV Inspection

Once the application is approved, contact your contractor to arrange for a Closed-Circuit Television CCTV Inspection. The CCTV inspection reviews the sewer lateral from inside the home to the street (main City sewer).

The CCTV inspection and report must meet the City’s CCTV requirements for format, reporting and equipment. The contractor must submit an electronic copy of the CCTV inspection and the inspection report via DVD or to the City service provider’s FTP site.

Once complete, the City or its service provider will contact the applicant to arrange for a site visit.

Step 4: Site Visit

A site visit is required to confirm the protective plumbing work required. This may involve taking measurements and photographs of the existing plumbing. The site visit is free of charge.

Note: More than one site visit may be required.

Step 5: Site Visit Review

Once the site visit is complete, you will be contacted to confirm the status of the proposed work and next steps. To avoid unnecessary expenses, a Site Visit Review should be received by the applicant prior to applying for a building permit and undertaking any of the proposed work.

Step 6: Installation

Contact your contractor to arrange for the installation of the approved protective plumbing devices. The backwater valve and its installation must meet the current requirements of the Ontario Building Code, the current City of Ottawa By-laws, Sewer Design Guidelines and Standard Tender documents for Unit Price Contracts.

The applicant or the contractor must obtain a building permit prior to commencing the proposed work, and must arrange for inspections by the City’s Building Code Services Branch. The Building Inspector will need to review your project at several stages during construction – an inspection prior to covering underground plumbing, and a final inspection after the floor has been reinstated.

The building permit application must include copy of the approved Part 1 Application and Site Visit Review.

Sewer Design Guidelines

For more information on the Sewer Design Guidelines or to order a copy, please email the City of Ottawa at Fees do apply.

Note: The Sewer Design Guidelines contain applicable information regarding backwater valve installation, including but not limited to the following sections:

  • 4.4.5 – Sanitary Backwater Valves 
  • 5.7.5 - Service Connection Hydraulics
  • 5.7.7 – Storm Backwater Valves
Standard Tender documents for Unit Price Contracts

For more information on the City of Ottawa Standard Tender documents for Unit Price Contracts or to order a copy free of charge, please email the City of Ottawa at

Note: The City of Ottawa Standard Tender documents for Unit Price Contracts contain applicable drawings and material specifications, including but not limited to the following drawings:

  • S14 – Foundation Drain Backwater Valve Installation
  • S14.1 – Sanitary Backwater Valve Installation Type 1
  • S14.2 – Sanitary Backwater Valve Installation Type 2
  • S16 – Exterior Foundation Drain Backwater Valve Exterior Retrofit Applications (Exception Basis Only);
  • S18 – Typical Depressed Driveway Backwater Valve and Standpipe Detail
  • MS-22.15 - Approved Sewer and Miscellaneous Products Listing (S18.2-1 and S18.2-2).

Step 7: Submit Part 2 of Application

Download Part 2 of the application or obtain a form from your nearest City of Ottawa Client Service Centre.

Ensure your completed application is signed and includes the following documentation:

  • Copy of Building Permit, including receipt(s)
  • Original contractor invoice marked paid in full
  • Copy of Building Code Services inspection report

Prior to the expiration of the one-year deadline (as indicated on the initial approval), you must complete Part 2 Application and submit to the Residential Protective Plumbing Program.

Step 8: Part 2 Application Review and Rebate Processing

The City will review the application and notify the applicant(s) of the status of the rebate. Processing time depends on the volume of applications received. Once approved, a rebate cheque will be issued and mailed to the applicant(s) within eight to 10 weeks.

Rebate payment and limits

How much are the rebates?

Item Maximum Rebate Amount
Permit $80
Closed-circuit television video (CCTV) – Sanitary $100
Closed-circuit television video (CCTV) – Storm $100
Indoor sanitary backwater valve only $700
Indoor storm backwater valve only $500
Indoor sanitary and storm backwater valves $1,000
Outdoor storm backwater valve only $1,750
Sump with battery backup power (high gradient or flat roof) $1,250

The City will rebate up to a maximum of each of the individual rebates available at the time of the submission of Part 1 of the application form. Should the cost of the work be less than the amount of the available rebate, the City shall rebate the lesser of the two amounts.

Prior application(s) specific to the property, including those by previous owners, may limit eligibility for specific rebates.

Are there limits to the rebate availability?

Funding is limited. Applications will be processed on a first come, first served basis. If an application is not fully processed due to insufficient funds, the applicant(s) will be notified and the application will be closed. Applicants may submit a new application once funding becomes available.

Can I withdraw from the program?

The RPPP is a voluntary program and you may withdraw at any time.

Protective plumbing: Frequently asked questions

What is protective plumbing?

Protective plumbing prevents water and sewage from entering your home during a backup. 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 sewer system.

Function of protective plumbing in a sewer system

What is a sewer lateral?

A sewer lateral is the pipe that connects your home or business to the main sewer in the street. The property owner is responsible for the portion from the property line to the home or business. The City is responsible for the portion from the property line to the main sewer.

How does a sewer backup occur?

Excess rain or snowmelt or a blockage in the sewer system can cause an increase in water level or surcharge. A backup occurs when the increased water level (surcharge) pushes water backwards through the service lateral into the home through floor drains, sinks and toilets.

How can water enter my home?

Identifying the locations where water may enter the home

How do I know if I have a backwater valve installed on my property?

Backwater valves were mandatory in new homes after 2004 (stormwater) and 2012 (sanitary), but some older homes have had them installed retroactively.

If you are unsure of if you have a valve installed on your property, check between the last branch of your sewer line and where the pipe exits your foundation. It may look like a Y-shaped (wye) fitting with the wye branch plugged and pointing upward. If it’s in your yard, it is most likely buried and could be several feet deep.

A backwater valve located in the floor

Why do I hear an alarm near the backwater valve?

An alarm may be added to a backwater valve to alert you that the valve has been engaged and is restricting flow back toward your basement. When you hear the alarm and when you see that the valve is engaged, it means that the backwater valve is working as it should. Do not shower, flush toilets or wash clothing until the system has returned to routine functioning, as additional water will not flow out of the residence when the valve is engaged. You can resume routine use when the alarm and the backwater valve are no longer engaged.

Do I have to maintain my protective plumbing devices?

Yes, the property owner is responsible for maintaining protective plumbing devices according to the manufacturer’s direction. A protective plumbing device should be maintained periodically or before a forecasted heavy rainfall to ensure it is free of debris, functioning properly, and that cleanout caps and access covers are firmly secured. If you are unsure about the condition of the valve or are not able to complete the required maintenance, a licensed plumber can perform an inspection.

For more tips on backwater valve maintenance, refer to a video on Backwater Valve Maintenance from the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction.

Will protective plumbing keep water out of my basement?

If properly installed and maintained, protective plumbing devices will prevent water and wastewater from a surcharging event from entering the home.

Protective plumbing devices will not stop water from entering through:

  • Cracks in walls or window wells,
  • Failed foundation drains or sump pumps,
  • Overflowing eaves troughs and plugged downspouts,
  • Poor foundation drainage,
  • Poor lot drainage, or
  • Water sources inside the house.

Where can I find further resources on protective plumbing?

Contact information

For more information on the Residential Protective Plumbing Program, please contact the City of Ottawa at 3-1-1 or by email at or by mail at:

Residential Protective Plumbing Program
Infrastructure and Water Services Department
City of Ottawa
951 Clyde Avenue
Ottawa, ON K1Z 5A6