Guide to preparing studies and plans

On this page

Standards, policies and guidelines

The following directory contains a broad collection of the standards, policies and guidelines used to prepare and review the studies and plans submitted in support of development applications. This directory is for information purposes only and should not be considered exhaustive. Additional development considerations and information may be required if a proposal is complex, controversial or uncommon.

If you are uncertain which studies and plans to submit with an application you are strongly encouraged to pre-consult with the Planning Services Branch. Pre-application consultation is mandatory for the following applications:

These pages are continually updated, please check back often. If you have questions about the directory, or require additional information please contact the Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development Department. available, you may also email staff directly by clicking on the contact name listed with the study.


Assessment of Adequacy of Public Services/Site Servicing Study

Community Transportation Study and/or Transportation Impact Study/Brief

Composite Utility Plan

Erosion and Sediment Control Plan

Geotechnical Study

For subdivision proposals, where sensitive marine clays exist, the following information must be provided to the City:·

  • A map that shows:
    • Location and depth of sensitive soils
    • Location of utilities
    • Location of proposed landscaping

Grade Control and Drainage Plan

Groundwater Impact Study

Hydraulic Watermain Analysis

  • New guidelines will be available in 2010

Hydrogeological and Terrain Analysis

Light Rail Transit

Low Impact Development 

Noise/Vibration Study

Servicing Options Report

Site Servicing Plan

If the proposal is less than 250 m2, landscaping can also be shown on the plan, refer to Landscape Plan for additional information.

Slope Stability Study

Stormwater Management Plan/Brief

Subdivision Engineering Drawings (sample)

Wellhead Protection Plan

Planning / Design / Survey

Airports Development considerations include:

Archaeological Assessment

Agrology and Soil Capability Study


Building Elevations

Plan must clearly show (in metric):

  • Elevations of all four sides of building identifying:
      1. All surface materials and treatments
      2. Areas of window, spandrel glass, glazing, etc.
      3. Location of doors
  • Location of building mounted signs, lighting, awnings, etc.

Concept Plan Showing Proposed Land Uses and Landscaping

Concept Plan Showing Proposed Land Uses and Landscaping requirements (information to be included on plan)

Plan of Condominium

The correct signature block must be incorporated on the final Plan of Condominium to be approved by the City for registration.

Cultural Heritage Impact Statement


Design Brief

Landscape Plan

Must be prepared and signed by a full member of the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects

Plan must clearly show:

  • Title, location and date of project
  • Name and address of :
    • Developer/owner and agent(s)
    • Designer(s), engineers(s) and surveyor(s)
  • Legend (including bar scale and written ratio scale in metric, and any graphic symbols used on the plan)
  • North arrow (oriented to top of page)
  • Existing plant material to be retained, removed or relocated on site and within the road allowance
    • In a table, include species type, size and condition of all existing plant material
    • Describe and/or illustrate the conservation methods during and after construction
  • Proposed vegetation – trees, shrubs, ground covers to be planted on site and within the road allowance
    • In a table, list each species including its common and botanical names, size, total quantity, and its condition or special requirements (example - bare root, 4" pot, 2-year old stock etc.)
  • Location of existing and proposed site features including, electrical transformer boxes, utility pedestals, light standards, overhead wires, or below grade services, mail boxes, bus stops, snow storage areas, waste management and recycling enclosure, or other features that may impact on the location of landscape elements.
  • Location, materials, dimensions and design details of existing and proposed landscape elements such as retaining walls, railings, site furniture, decorative and acoustical fencing, gateways features, signs, etc.
  • Location of buildings, site features and landscaping on adjacent land and in the public right-of ways
  • Note and/or dimension any offsets from site features and landscape elements required for technical reasons or zoning compliance
  • Turf areas noting seed, sod or other treatments
  • Pedestrian walking areas and surface treatment/materials

Refer to Planning Rationale and other documents required for submission, such as the Tree Conservation Report and Composite Utility Plan, for additional development considerations that may influence landscaping design

Mature Neighbourhoods Streetscape Character Analysis

Minimum Distance Separation (MDS)

Planning Rationale 

Plan of Subdivision

The correct signature block must be incorporated on the final Plan of Subdivision to be approved by the City for registration.

Plan of Survey

Plan must be signed by an Ontario Land Surveyor and include:

  • Up-to-date survey plan or reference plan related to geodetic survey control
  • Registered Deed or Offer of Purchase and Sale

Shadow Analysis

Site Plan

Plan must include:

  • Title, location and date of project
  • Name and address of:
    • Developer/owner and applicant
    • Architect(s), designer(s), engineer(s) and surveyor(s)
  • Legend (including bar scale and written ratio scale in metric, and any graphic symbols used on the plan)
  • North arrow (oriented to top of page)
  • Property Identification Number(s) (PINs) or legal description of property
  • Area of site, and bearings and lengths of all property lines
  • A statement of where the property boundary information was derived from
  • Clear delineation of limit of site development and existing features within 5 metres of limit
  • Location of buildings, site features and landscape elements on adjacent land and in the public right-of ways
  • Existing features to be retained, removed or relocated
  • Areas labelled by function or type (landscape areas, parking areas, access points, etc.)
  • Proposed fire route and fire route sign locations
  • Dimensions of all proposed buildings, roads, radii of turns, overhead clearances, parking areas with defined parking spaces, steps, terraces, fences, walks, aisles and private approaches (driveways)
  • Dimensions required for zoning compliance
  • Gross floor area of all buildings, including type of dwelling units and breakdown of other uses by floor area
  • Snow storage
  • Waste management and recycling enclosure location and design details
  • Bicycle parking location and design details
  • Pedestrian walking areas and surface treatment/materials

Urban Design Review Panel


Wind Analysis

Refer to Planning Rationale for additional development considerations that may influence site design


Assessment of Landform Features


Bird-Safe Design Guidelines


Bird-Safe Design Guidelines – Development Application Review Criteria

  • Environmental Impact Statements: Where an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required to support a development application, the EIS consultant will review and consider the Bird-Safe Design Guidelines in the preparation of the EIS and any associated recommendations. Staff will work with applicants to balance the Bird-Safe Design Guidelines with the urban design objectives of the project where necessary.
  • Site Plan Applications: Mid to high rise residential and medium to large scale commercial / industrial / institutional:
    • Bird-safe glass or integrated protection measures may be required through conditions of site plan approval for projects involving large expanses of glazing. However, it is important that the Bird-Safe Design Guidelines do not have a significant impact on the affordability or timelines of the respective project. Recognize that corporate standards or other design requirements may limit or preclude use of bird-safe glass or integrated protection measures in cases of small-scale commercial buildings (e.g. restaurant, retail pads).
  • Education and Awareness: The guidelines should be promoted and shared during pre-application consultations, to raise awareness of the risk factors (e.g., glass and related design traps such as corner glass and fly-through conditions, ventilation grates and open pipes, landscaping, light pollution).

Endangered Species Development considerations include:

  • Endangered and threatened species that are protected (contact for a list of locally occurring species)
  • Agreements and permits may be required from the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks

For additional development considerations refer to:


Environmental Impact Statement


Impact Assessment of Adjacent Waste Disposal / Former Landfill Site

Contact: Stream Shen at 613-580-2424, ext. 24488

Mine Hazard Study / Abandoned Pit or Quarry Study

Mineral Resource Impact Assessment


Phase 1 and Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment

Contact: Stream Shen at 613-580-2424, ext. 24488

Record of Site Condition

Contact: Stream Shen at 613-580-2424, ext. 24488

Significant Woodlands


Site Alteration By-law

Tree Conservation Report


Tree Information Report


Watercourses Development considerations include:

  • Watercourse protection from site alteration and development
  • Land use constraints within minimum setback
  • Fish habitat

Wellhead protection area plan for private communal wells

For additional development considerations refer to:




A guide to preparing cultural heritage impact statements

1.0 Introduction

This document has been prepared to provide clarity regarding the requirements of Cultural Heritage Impact Statements (CHIS) for those preparing them as a requirement of the City of Ottawa Official Plan. A Cultural Heritage Impact Statement is an arm's length, independent study to determine the impacts of proposed future development on cultural heritage resources.

2.0 When is a CHIS required?

Section 4.6.1 of the Official Plan has policies that outline when a Cultural Heritage Impact Statement (CHIS) is required. Generally speaking, the purpose of a cultural heritage impact statement is to evaluate the impact of a proposed intervention (alteration, addition, partial demolition, demolition, relocation or new construction) on cultural heritage resources when that intervention has the potential to:

  • Adversely impact the cultural heritage value of properties designated under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (OHA);
  • Adversely impact the cultural heritage value of districts designated under Part V of the OHA.

In addition:

  • A CHIS may also be required for development applications adjacent to or within 35 metres of, designated buildings and areas;
  • A CHIS may also be required for development applications adjacent to the Rideau Canal, the Central Experimental Farm, a national historic site, a federally designated (FHBRO) building, a building with a heritage easement, or a building on the heritage register.

3.0 Purpose of a CHIS

Section 4.6.1 of the Official Plan provides broad guidance regarding the content of Cultural Heritage Impact Statements, requiring that they:

  • describe the positive and adverse impacts on the heritage resource or heritage conservation district that may reasonably be expected to result from the proposed development;
  • describe the actions that may reasonably be required to prevent, minimize or mitigate the adverse impacts;
  • demonstrate that the proposal will not adversely impact the defined cultural heritage value of the property, Heritage Conservation District, and/or its streetscape/neighbourhood.

A CHIS is intended to provide an independent professional opinion regarding the impact of proposed developments on cultural heritage resources; it is not intended to form the City's professional opinion.

Land use planning policies, and guidelines, such as those contained within Secondary Plans, Community Design Plans, the Official Plan and documents such as infill guidelines etc. are not addressed in a CHIS. When a CHIS is prepared in response to an application under the Planning Act, the impact of the proposed application on cultural heritage resources will be addressed.

4.0 Contents of a CHIS

A Cultural Heritage Impact Statement will provide:

a. General Information

  • Address of current property;
  • Current owner contact information.

b. Current Conditions/ Introduction to Development Site

  • A location plan indicating subject property (map and aerial photo);
  • A concise written and visual description of the cultural heritage value of the development site and/or the cultural heritage value of adjacent sites, noting whether the site has: a heritage easement, designation under Part IV or V of the OHA, inclusion on the "Municipal Register," designation as a "Recognized" or "Classified" building by the Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, commemoration as a National Historic Site of Canada, or inclusion on the Canadian Register of Historic Places.

Existing heritage descriptions should be included.

  • A concise written description of the context including adjacent heritage properties and their recognition (as above);
  • Digital images documenting all cultural heritage attributes;
  • Site Plan showing lot dimensions as well as the location/setbacks of all existing buildings;
  • Relevant information from Council-approved documents such as "Heritage District Plans" or "Heritage Guidelines." This information should include the guidelines contained within the "Heritage District Plans" and the "Heritage Guidelines" that apply to the proposed project.

c. Background Research and Analysis

  • Comprehensive written and visual research and analysis related to the cultural heritage value or interest of the site, including physical or design, historical or associative, and contextual value;
  • A development history of the site including original construction dates, additions and alterations;
  • Primary research material consulted may include relevant historic maps and atlases, drawings, photographs, sketches/renderings, permit records, land records, assessment rolls, city directories, etc.;
  • Secondary sources may include City of Ottawa Heritage Survey and Evaluation forms, FHBRO reports, Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada papers, Commemorative Integrity Statements, CHRP listing etc.;
  • Parks Canada's "Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada," as approved by City Council in 2008.

d. Statement of Significance

A Statement of Significance identifying the cultural heritage value and heritage attributes of the cultural heritage resource(s). In many cases, this statement will be the Statement of Reasons for Designation or the Statement of Cultural Heritage Value that forms part of the designation by-law (Part IV buildings) or the description of the attributes of the heritage conservation district (Part V districts). In cases where this information is deemed to be inadequate or outdated, heritage staff will prepare a Statement of Significance to guide the CHIS.

e. Description of the Proposed Development

A written and visual description of the proposed development.

f. Impact of Proposed Development

An assessment identifying any positive and adverse impacts the proposed development may have on the heritage value of cultural heritage resource(s), as listed in Section 2, above.

Positive impacts of a development on cultural heritage resources districts include, but are not limited to:

  • restoration of building, including replacement of missing attributes;
  • restoration of an historic streetscape or enhancement of the quality of the place;
  • adaptive re-use of a cultural heritage resource to ensure its ongoing viability;
  • access to new sources of funds to allow for the ongoing protection and restoration of the cultural heritage resource.

Adverse impacts include, but are not limited to:

  • Demolition of any, or part of any, heritage attributes or features;
  • Alteration that is not sympathetic, or is incompatible, with the historic fabric and appearance of a building;
  • Shadows created that obscure heritage attributes or change the viability of the associated cultural heritage landscape;
  • Isolation of a heritage resource or part thereof from its surrounding environment, context or a significant relationship;
  • Obstruction of significant identified views or vistas within, from heritage conservation districts;
  • Obstruction of significant identified views or vistas within, from individual cultural heritage resources;
  • A change in land use where the change affects the property's cultural heritage value;
  • Land disturbances such as a change in grade that alters soils, and drainage patterns that adversely affect a cultural heritage resource.

g. Alternatives and Mitigation Strategies

The CHIS must assess alternative development options and mitigation measures in order to avoid or limit the adverse impact on the heritage value of cultural heritage resources.

Methods of minimizing or avoiding an adverse impact on a cultural heritage resource(s) include but are not limited to:

  • Alternative development approaches that result in compatible development and limit adverse impacts;
  • Separating development from significant cultural heritage resources to protect their heritage attributes including, but not limited to, their settings and identified views and vistas;
  • Limiting height and density or locating higher/ denser portion of a development in an manner that respects the existing individual cultural heritage resources or the heritage conservation district;
  • Including reversible interventions to cultural heritage resources.

h. Other

  • The CHIS will include a bibliography and a list of people contacted during the study.

5.0 Conservation Plan

A Conservation Plan may be required. The applicant will be informed that a Conservation Plan is required early in the process. They may be required for projects involving complex sites with a number of cultural heritage resources.

Conservation Plans must:

  • Describe how the heritage value of a resource will be protected during the development process;
  • Include a summary of conservation principles and how they will be used must be included. Conservation principles may be found in publications such as Parks Canada's "Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada " and "Eight Guiding Principles in the Conservation of Historic Properties," published by the Ontario Ministry of Culture. (Both publications are available online.);
  • Recommend the conservation treatment category – preservation, rehabilitation, restoration - appropriate to each resource of heritage value within the property, including the landscape;
  • Outline how the cultural heritage resource[s] are to be managed after the completion of the project;
  • A Conservation Plan must contain current information on the condition of the building and recommendations on its ongoing maintenance. These recommendations will be based on the "Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada" as amended from time to time, and adopted City Council in 2008;
  • A Conservation Plan may also contain guidance on the following, were appropriate: public access, signage, lighting, interpretation, landscaping, heritage recording, use.

6.0 Process

Notice that a CHIS is required will be given at the pre-consultation stage and applicants should wait until they are notified that a CHIS is required before retaining a consultant. When a CHIS is required for an application under the Ontario Heritage Act, that application will not be considered complete if the CHIS does not accompany the application. When a CHIS is required for an application under the Planning Act, that application will not be considered complete if the CHIS does not accompany the application. Upon receipt of the CHIS, heritage staff will review the document in order to ascertain that it is complete. If the CHIS does not meet City requirements as described above, the application will not be processed until the CHIS meets City standards. City staff reserves the right to require further information and analysis and will return it to the author with clear instructions regarding necessary changes.

The CHIS is a public document and will be available for consultation.

7.0 Qualifications

A CHIS is intended to provide an independent professional opinion and thus CHISs are to be prepared by a heritage professional, who is not the applicant. The qualifications and background of the person(s) completing the CHIS will be included in the report. The author will be a member of the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals.

8.0 Glossary

For the purposes of this document, adjacent means contiguous to.

Adversely impact
A project has the potential to "adversely impact" the cultural heritage value of a project if it; requires the removal of heritage attributes, requires the destruction of a cultural heritage resource, obscures heritage attributes, is constructed in such a way that it does not respect the defined cultural heritage value of a resource.

Built Heritage
Includes buildings, structures and sites that contribute to an understanding of our heritage and are valued for their representation of that heritage. They may reveal architectural, cultural, or socio-political patterns of our history or may be associated with specific events or people who have shaped that history. Examples include buildings, groups of buildings, dams and bridges.

Cultural Heritage Resources
Includes four components: Built Heritage, Cultural Heritage Landscapes, Archaeological Resources, and documentary heritage left by people.

Cultural Heritage Landscape
Any geographic area that has been modified, influenced, or given special cultural meaning by people and that provides the contextual and spatial information necessary to preserve and interpret the understanding of important historical settings and changes to past patterns of land use. Examples include a burial ground, historical garden or a larger landscape reflecting human intervention.

Composite Utility Plan

The Composite Utility Plan must adhere to the City of Ottawa’s “Utility Cross Section Guidelines” and provide the following information:

  • The correct lotting is to be shown as per the draft plan.
  • All utility line locations including City sanitary sewer, storm sewer, rear yard catch basins, watermain and hydrant locations are to be identified.
  • All utility service drop locations are to be shown including sewer and water service laterals.
  • The complete street lighting system is to be identified.
  • The street furniture is to be indicated, i.e. pedestals, transformers.
  • A note stating that all utility boxes (i.e. pedestals and transformers) are to be installed in accordance with the City “Guidelines for Utility Pedestals Within The Road Right-Of-Way”
  • Canada Post Super mailboxes are to be located.
  • O.C. Transpo Bus Stop locations and asphalt pads are to be located.
  • Location of all proposed trees and landscaping on the subdivision road allowance are to be shown.
  • All driveways are to be indicated as well as clearances from transformers, fire hydrants and streetlights.
  • All sidewalks are to be located and their dimensions to be shown.
  • A typical utility road cross-section is to be shown including road width, utility depths, clearances between utilities and dimensions from utility plant to curbs and lot lines.
  • A typical lot servicing detail is to be shown for each type of proposed unit and the location of all utility services, driveways, transformers, pedestals, street lights, trees/landscaping shall be shown including dimensions for each from driveways and lot lines.
  • Typical utility trench details are to be shown including depth, layout and identification of each utilities ducts/cables within the trench when a joint use trench is used.
  • For particular minimum clearance requirements, a reference to each individual utilities specifications and standards will be made.
  • The Plan scale is to be 1:500 or 1:250 metric with details of particular areas of congestion as required.
  • All easements must be clearly identified and registration number indicated if available.
  • Symbol Legend to be provided in conformance with City utility/road cross section standards.
  • North arrow is to be shown.
  • A Key Plan provided.

Note: All off-site proposed utility plant and road modifications outside the Plan of Subdivision, i.e. on existing road allowances, do not have to be on the Composite Utility Plan and will be circulated and issued Municipal Consent separately by the Planning and Growth Management Department per the standard utility circulation process.

Concept plan showing proposed land uses and landscaping

Plan must clearly show (in metric):
  • The boundaries and dimensions of the subject land
  • The location, size and type of all existing and proposed buildings and structures on the subject land, indicating their distance from the front lot line, rear lot line and side lot lines
  • The approximate location of all natural and artificial features (for example, buildings, railways, roads, watercourses, drainage ditches, banks of rivers or streams, wetlands, trees, wooded areas, wells and septic tanks) that
    • Are located on the subject land and on land that is adjacent to it, and
    • In the applicant’s opinion, may affect the application
  • The current uses of land that is adjacent to the subject land
  • The location, width and name of any roads within or abutting the subject land, indicating whether it is an unopened road allowance, a public travelled road, a private road or a right of way
  • If access to the subject land will be by water only, the location of the parking and docking facilities to be used
  • The location and nature of any easement affecting the subject land.

Gravity pipe design guidelines

Ministry of Transportation

Gravity Pipe Design Guidelines

This document is available in English only and in pdf format [PDF 23.5 kb] as provided by the Province of Ontario. Should you have any questions, please contact Geraldine Johnston at 613-580-2424, ext. 27815.

Impact assessment of development on landform features

Impact assessment of development on landform features [pdf 145 kb]

Development applications affecting geomorphic, geological and landform features shown on Schedule K will require an Impact Assessment indicating that the feature will not be impaired. Development will be sympathetic to the unique characteristic of the resource. The assessment will indicate appropriate protective measures such as:

  • Selective grading to minimize topographic change
  • Orientation of buildings and roads parallel to topographic contours
  • Setting back development from the bottom and top of steep slopes
  • Use of alternative right-of-ways, setbacks or road layouts to preserve features

Mature Neighbourhoods Streetscape Character Analysis

In the Mature Neighbourhoods Overlay, "Your street gives you your rules". In addition to the regular zoning that applies to your residential property, certain rules are based on your streetscape. To determine all your zoning requirements and permissions, a Streetscape Character Analysis is required. An innovative way of thinking about what really matters in mature neighbourhoods, the planning focus is on the similarities between the many lots along the street and on methods to emphasize and reinforce those key attributes that give the street its sought-after look.

To determine all your zoning requirements and permissions, a Streetscape Character Analysis (SCA) is required. A Streetscape Character Analysis must be completed using a simple online form, and must be confirmed prior to any development application review process in the Mature Neighbourhoods. Only those proposed developments, which are compatible with and reinforce the look along the street, are permitted.

Highlights of the Mature Neighbourhoods By-law:

  • See the Mature Neighbourhoods Overlay zoning map for the area covered by the Mature Neighbourhoods Overlay. Properties within the Overlay are subject to the Streetscape Character Analysis process.
  • Applies to all residential uses located in a R1, R2, R3, or R4 zone.
  • Does not apply to non-residential development, nor to mid- or high-rise apartment buildings.

The Mature Neighbourhoods regulations, including the Streetscape Character Analysis, apply to the following types of development:

  • When developing a new dwelling on a new infill lot or on an existing lot
  • When building an addition ONLY to the front or corner side of an existing residential use dwelling
  • When creating a new driveway or widening an existing driveway
  • When building an addition or renovation that involves removing an existing front door that faces the street
  • To projects that require one or more of the following development approval processes:
    • Site plan control
    • Zoning by-law amendment
    • Consent to sever to the Committee of Adjustment
    • Minor variance to the Committee of Adjustment
    • Permission to expand legal non-conforming use, only if expansion includes alterations to the exterior of the dwelling that alters the front or corner side yard, the driveway, parking, or removing the front door from facing the street
    • Building Permit, for any development of, or additions to, a residential use building or part thereof that is visible from the street where no other development approval process is required,
    • Private Approach permit for a new, or the widening of a curb cut leading to a driveway or parking space from a public street

It does not apply to:

  • Mid-rise and High-rise Apartment Buildings, and non-residential buildings
  • A dwelling that does not contain on-site parking AND has its front door directly facing the street
  • Internal changes to a dwelling that do not result in exterior changes that are visible from the street
  • Dwellings that front on a private way and not on a public street
  • Additions that do not abut or extend into the front yard or corner side yard
  • Accessory buildings, such as sheds but not garages, located in the rear yard
  • A lot in a Plan of Subdivision that faces a new public street

The Zoning By-law (Section 140) requires:

  • Documentation of the look along your street, of lots on either side of, and opposite to, yours – usually of 21 lots (see SCA Manual if street has less than 21 lots) that looks at 3 land use factors: 1) the presence or absence of attached front-facing garages, 2) the presence and type of driveways; and 3) location of front doors.

Submission Process for Streetscape Character Analysis Form (SCA)

  • SCA Form must be submitted to the City for confirmation of the facts and the resulting Dominant Character of each land use factor
  • Photographs of the 21 lots included in your analysis are required, and
    • At least one photo must show an existing dwelling on one of the 21 lots with the street name sign(s) clearly visible
  • Strongly recommended to submit the SCA Form prior to your development application being submitted, to avoid delay in the development review process
  • SCA Form and photographs must be scanned and:
    • E-mailed to or
    • Submitted to the Building Code Services Desk at any Client Service Centre, or
    • Submitted to the planner assigned to your development application, or
    • Submitted to Committee of Adjustment at City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue

The SCA Manual and SCA Form are available here online. You can also contact a Development Information Officer (via 3-1-1) or alternatively email the SCA Mailbox at for further information.

Mineral Aggregate Resource Reference Manual

Ministry of Natural Resources

Mineral Aggregate Resource Reference Manual

This document is available in English only and in pdf format as provided by the Province of Ontario. Should you have any questions, please contact Robin van de Lande at 613-580-2424, ext. 43011.

The City requests Mineral Resource Impact Assessments (MRIAs) for planning applications- often severances. Severances shall follow policies 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14 of the Official Plan. Specific attention should be brought to the issue that MRIAs are to review the impact of the development upon the current mineral extraction or future expansion. Occasionally reports are prepared with an emphasis on the anticipated value of the sale of the aggregate and/or its quality and that is not the information requested. Occasionally reports are prepared with an emphasis on the impact of the aggregate extraction on development and, again, that is not the information requested. The information required is the possible limit imposed on the extraction from development.

Old Landfill Management Strategy

The Old Landfill Management Strategy (OLMS) was implemented by the City of Ottawa to protect public health and the environment, to assess and minimize possible liability of the municipality and individuals, and to provide information to the various stakeholders associated with old landfill sites in the amalgamated City of Ottawa.

The first phase of the OLMS initiative included a detailed inventory of old landfill sites within the City which was documented in the report entitled  Old Landfill Management Strategy, Phase 1 – Identification of Sites, City of Ottawa, Ontario” (Golder Associates, October 2004).  Electronic copies of this report are available upon request.  Inquiries such as whether a resident’s home was built on a former landfill can be directed to

Environmental Remediation Unit -

Kimberley Millar, Environmental Remediation and Leasing Program Manager 
613-580-2424, extension 23416

Erin Tait, Environmental Remediation Specialist
613-580-2424, extension 12958

Servicing and grading plan requirements

Information to be included on:

A. Site servicing plan B. Grade control and drainage plan

Minimum Drawing Requirements

All plans are to be submitted on standard A1 size (594mm x 841mm) or Arch D size (609.6 mm x 914.4 mm) sheets, dimensioned in metric and utilizing an appropriate Metric scale (1:200, 1:250, 1:300, 1:400, or 1:500) and are to contain the following:

A. and B. General Information

* To be included on both servicing plan and grade control and drainage plan
  • Title block (including name of Owner/Applicant, name and address of firm preparing the drawing, address/legal description of Site, project name, drawing title and number, scale, date of submission, and revision box with all revision dates.
  • Key plan showing site location in respect to the City street network
  • North arrow
  • The Plan should have a note that references the horizontal and vertical datums that were used and tied into to complete the project. The drawing should also make reference (on the face of the plan) to a site bench mark that can be used by anyone with a level to carry out checks on the particular project
  • Legend
  • Clear identification of property lines and ROW limits, including any proposed road widenings, sight triangles and reserves adjacent to the subject property
  • Any easement(s) and whom the easements are in favour of
  • Abutting roads including the location of all existing surface features (i.e. edges of pavement and shoulders, curbs, traffic islands, utility poles, hydrants, bus shelters, mail boxes, sidewalks, watercourses, ditches, culverts, catch basins)
  • All existing access/driveway entrances to the subject property and the adjacent properties, including those of properties on the opposite side of the road to the subject site
  • All drawings stamped, signed, and dated by a Professional Engineer, qualified in the Province of Ontario
  • An Ontario Land Surveyor (O.L.S.) should be engaged when reporting on or relating information to a property’s boundaries or existing conditions.

A. Information to be Included on Site Servicing Plan

  • Existing and proposed buildings, structures, and retaining walls
  • Existing and proposed above ground servicing features, including but not limited to the following: manholes, catch basins, ditches, embankments, hydrants, valve boxes and chambers, service posts, curbs, sidewalks and walkways, fences and handrails
  • Existing above ground features, including but not limited to light poles, hydro/Bell/cable poles, pedestals and transformers, trees and bush
  • Proposed above ground features including, but not limited to garbage storage areas and snow storage areas
  • Existing and proposed underground services including, but not limited to sanitary sewers, storm sewers, foundation drains, watermain and water services (domestic and fire lines), including identification of all pipe material and bedding, diameter, slopes, direction of flow, and invert elevations
  • The estimated service trench reinstatement limits within the pavement surface and, where required, the proposed area of resurfacing of the pavement (To determine if a resurfacing is required visit
  • Catch basins with inlet elevations
  • Locations of Siamese connections, water and remote meters
  • Details on proposed vehicular entrances to the site (widths and radii)
  • Proposed curb and sidewalk depression locations
  • Details of any service connections to City infrastructure including methods and materials.
  • Pavement designs (asphalt and granular thicknesses) for both light and heavy duty pavement areas

B. Information to be Included on Grade Control and Drainage Plan

  • Existing contours and/or spot elevations within the project site, along the property boundaries, on abutting public streets, and a minimum 10m within the adjacent properties
  • Identification of any existing swales, ditches, creeks, watercourses, ravines, and drainage easements/routes complete with elevations and arrows indicating the surface drainage direction
  • Arrows indicating the direction of surface drainage on all proposed paved, granular, and grassed areas
  • Proposed spot elevations and slope gradients at all critical locations, including but not limited to along the property boundaries; road centrelines; vehicle accesses and driveways; ramps; parking lots; edges of pavement, curb lines or sidewalks; swales; ditches; grassed areas; terraced areas and berms
  • Proposed spot elevations at all high/low points; top and bottom of ditches; top and bottom of slopes that are 4:1 or greater; all changes in gradient; top and bottom of retaining walls; top of grate elevations for catch basins and manholes; building corners
  • Finished floor elevation of the ground floor and entrances to all buildings plus the elevations of any underside of footings and top of foundation elevation
  • Limits of storm water retention/ponding with frequency
  • Proposed storm water management water quantity or quality techniques
  • Cross section details of swales
  • Location and details of all surface water outlets, including but not limited to catch basins, headwalls, riprap, and culverts (size, material and direction of flow)
  • Proposed roof downspout locations
  • Erosion and sediment control measures to be used during and after construction
  • Locations of any regulatory flood lines or development limit lines (i.e. setback and slope stability limits)
  • For rural sites: location of septic tanks, outline of tile beds, wells, and holding tanks for fire fighting
  • Road centreline elevations every 10m (subdivision)

Servicing study guidelines for development applications

1. Introduction

1.1 Purpose and Use of Servicing Study Guidelines

The purpose of the Servicing Study Guidelines for Development Applications is to describe the requirements and scope of the servicing studies prepared and submitted to the City of Ottawa (City) to support the eventual approval of the servicing of a particular development application. Development servicing studies define the water, sanitary, and stormwater services that a proposed development will require to be accepted for operation by the City.

Under the Ontario Planning Act, and in accordance with Bill 51, the City has the responsibility and authority to define what constitutes a complete development application. Sufficient information is required by the City to complete a review of the servicing implications of development. Accordingly, this document describes the content of the development servicing studies that define a complete development application under the Planning Act.

These guidelines are intended to be used by City staff, developers, and consultants to clearly understand and communicate information required to bring about consistency, thoroughness, and sufficient content of development submissions.

These guidelines serve to define the content of servicing studies to enable City review staff to understand the constraints, servicing approach and implications of the servicing of new development. They are not intended to replace or supersede design guidelines and design criteria that are already in use. The guidelines will assist proponents in the preparation of development applications in applying consistent approaches to issues, thorough design, sound engineering principles, and the protection of natural and human environment in the City of Ottawa.

1.2 Types of Development Applications

Servicing studies are prepared for individual development applications. They are used to link higher level studies such as Master Servicing Studies to the individual development application. Servicing studies are required to justify and establish planning conditions for development related servicing. They define the scope of the detailed design of the development servicing, and apply to a variety of application types from re-zoning to subdivision and site plan applications.

1.3 Organization of the Guidelines Document

These guidelines are structured to provide the user a quick reference as to the expectations for the servicing studies as they apply to various types of development applications in the City. Section 1 provides an overview of the purpose and background of the development review process and the role of the Servicing Study. Section 2 describes the pre-consultation process between the developer, City reviewers, and approval agencies, and what kind of information is needed for the preparation of servicing studies. Section 3 describes the scope of the Servicing Study. Section 4 provides a checklist of items and their application to sanitary, water and stormwater servicing and the types of development applications. It will be the proponent’s responsibility to ensure that the checklists are followed. It will be the City that will determine if the Servicing Study is sufficient for the application to be deemed complete for the purposes of initiating the review process.

1.4 Development Review Process

The submission and review of development servicing studies are part of the City’s overall development review process, as described in Section 4 of the City of Ottawa Official Plan. This submission and review process will be subject to revision from time to time as the Official Plan is updated.

Under recent changes to the Planning Act in Bill 51, it was proposed that the definition of a "complete application" required under the Planning Act would include a planning justification report demonstrating that the application:

  1. Is consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement, 2005 (“PPS”);
  2. Conforms to or does not conflict with the applicable provincial plan or plans;
  3. Conforms to municipal Official Plans (“OPs”) as well as any technical reports or studies needed to meet the PPS or provincial plan(s) requirements; and
  4. Conforms to reports or studies related to the adequacy of infrastructure and noise attenuation and the identification of related planning applications.

It is the technical studies on the adequacy of infrastructure (4) that is the main subject of these guidelines.

Development Servicing Studies are submitted for review to the Development Review Branch of the Planning and Growth Management Department of the Infrastructure Services and Community Sustainability Portfolio. A pre-consultation meeting is required in order to identify issues and constraints that would have impact on the development. The Planning Act allows for a municipality to make pre-consultation mandatory and the City has adopted mandatory pre-consultation to make pre-consultation compulsory for applicants. In order for the pre-consultation to have maximum benefit to the applicant, adequate time is required in advance of the meeting to allow for City staff to research background information necessary to address questions on infrastructure. More detail concerning the information requirements and description of the pre-consultation meeting are provided in Section 2.

Based on the information provided by the proponent and the response received by the approval agencies and the City, the proponent proceeds to prepare the Development Servicing Study for review and approval. Review of applications for approval by the City requires the submission of a complete application that will address all relevant issues regarding the adequacy of water, sewer, and storm water services for the proposed development. Applications, including the Development Servicing Study, will undergo a preliminary review to ensure that the submission is complete. Applications deemed incomplete are not circulated and the development review process is not initiated.

These guidelines and the development review process include the internal review process within the City, and the review by external agencies such as the Ministry of Environment and Conservation Authorities. The onus is on the developer to meet the requirements of both the City and the agencies external to the City. The City of Ottawa has adopted legislation to make pre-consultation a mandatory requirement of development applications.

Planning applications are required to be circulated to external agencies for comments, which are included in the conditions of approval for the development. The conditions of approval may include provisions that external agencies be satisfied with the resolution of issues under their jurisdiction. As part of the development review process, the City requires that clearance letters be issued by external agencies to ensure that the conditions have been addressed.

1.5 Roles and Responsibilities

The proponent of a development application is either the owner of the property or an agent of the owner. It is the responsibility of the development proponent to determine the potential servicing issues, confirm with City staff, and submit all necessary information for a complete development application. The proponent must identify all of the applicable permits and approvals that must be obtained to proceed with development.

Other engineers and designers may be involved in sub-disciplines working for the project applicant or the proponent. It is the responsibility of the proponent to provide engineering opinion and analysis for review by the City.

The City will appoint a project manager who will be responsible for communication with the proponent and who will coordinate the various departments and staff that will be involved in the review of the application. The City project manager will be requested to provide available information and data to the proponent for the preparation of the development Servicing Study, supporting analysis, and examination of servicing issues. Engineering plans and information on services in the location of the proposed development is subject to a fee in accordance to the Information Centre fee schedule. In cases where the information may not be available or does not exist, or if an approved Master Servicing Study is not available, it is the proponent’s responsibility to identify and address gaps in available information or data.

1.6 Applicable Technical Guidelines

There are several technical guidelines available related to the design of water, sewer, and stormwater services for new development.

The following references can be consulted in the preparation of development servicing studies:

City of Ottawa Official Plan – Section 4 – Review of Development Applications

Geotechnical and Reporting Guidelines for Development Applications in the City of Ottawa

  • City of Ottawa Sewer Design Guidelines
  • Chapter 8 of the City of Ottawa Sewer Design Guidelines (Stormwater guidelines)
  • City of Ottawa Stormwater Management Policies
  • City of Ottawa Water Design Guidelines
  • City of Ottawa Design Specifications
  • Ministry of Environment (MOE) Guidelines for the Design of Water Distribution Systems and Design of Sanitary Sewage Systems
  • Ministry of Natural Resources requirements for wetland and forestry protection or other designated protected areas
  • Conservation Authority (CA) guidelines for the approval of the development and site alteration on lands that are subject to CA regulations made under the Section 28 of the Conservation Authorities Act
  • Specific Conservation Authority guidelines
  • Guidelines related to rural and private services
  • Official Plan policies regarding protection of natural features and preservation of watercourses
  • MOE Procedure D-5 Planning for Sewage and Water Services
  • MOE Procedure D-5-1 Calculating and Reporting Uncommitted Reserve Capacity at Sewage and Water Treatment Plants, Servicing Options Statement
  • Stormwater Management Planning and Design Manual 2003
  • Ontario MOE: Understanding Stormwater Management: An Introduction to Stormwater Management Planning and Design
  • Ontario Building Code
  • MOE Procedures D-5-3, D-5-4 and D-5-5
  • Applicable Watershed and Subwatershed Studies

These references are subject to revisions; Servicing Studies must make reference to the latest version available at the time.

2. Preliminary Investigation

The preliminary investigation stage allows the proponent to collect information and data for the preparation of the development servicing report. The onus is on the proponent to investigate potential constraints and opportunities or unique design challenges related to a particular development proposal before a development application is prepared and submitted to the City. To facilitate this, a pre-consultation session between the proponent and City staff must take place prior to the initiation of the application and the application review process. The process is particularly important prior to any proposed rezoning of properties because of the broad nature of issues that may have impact on a re-zoning decision.

The purpose for the pre-consultation is to share important and relevant information concerning the proposed development. This fosters a common understanding of the key servicing issues, available information, and constraints between the proponent, the City, and relevant review agencies. This assists the City staff and other agencies to develop comments on the application, and it serves to inform the applicant on particular areas of concern and potential constraints on the development proposal, at a point in time before significant investment is made in formulating the servicing approach and decisions. A summary of the pre-consultation is to be prepared and included in any subsequent submission of the Servicing Study.

Part of the responsibility of the proponent is to identify all of the necessary permits and approvals required to facilitate the development. Information concerning required approvals can be obtained from direct consultation with City staff and other agencies such as the MOE and CA through pre-consultation.

Studies that may have relevance or impact on development servicing decisions may be in progress at the time of the development Servicing Study. There needs to be a reference made to any studies that may be in progress by the City or others that affect servicing of the particular property in question.

The proponent shall prepare information for the City at least two weeks prior to the pre-consultation meeting, which shall include a high level description of the site including the development proposal. This pre-application form will include among other things the size of the property, a proposed layout and uses of the development, as well as the proximity of the site to existing infrastructure. A summary of the pre-consultation is to be prepared by the proponent and included in the Servicing Study submission.

A separate guideline for pre-consultation including the pre-application form is being developed by the City and will be available for review and comment to the development industry in the near future. The proponent is to refer to the pre-consultation guidelines when they are finalized.

Although the pre-consultation is intended to be comprehensive, information gaps may present themselves and as the approvals process proceeds, other items not noted at the pre consultation meeting, may be requested as the development design progresses and more information becomes available.

3. Description of Development Servicing Studies

3.1 Introduction

Development Servicing Studies provide information on the considerations and approach by which a development can be adequately serviced with water, sanitary sewer, and stormwater management. The servicing must meet City requirements and all other relevant regulations, as well as demonstrate good engineering practice for the protection of public safety, the environment, and sustainable operation.

Frequently, higher level studies such as Master Servicing Studies, Subwatershed Plans, Watershed Plans, Environment Assessments, and Community Design Plans provide the servicing context to which individual developments must be consistent with. It is the purpose of the Servicing Study to link the requirements outlined in the higher level servicing plans with an individual development applications and provide a greater level of detail on the servicing to guide the final design and the review and acceptance of the final design.

The scope of servicing studies is to be defined at the start of the project, in accordance with a reasonable approach to the issues that are relevant to the development application. In circumstances where higher level studies are not available, the scope may be required to include planning for servicing lands outside of the boundary of the development application. This would include issues such as downstream capacity requirements, facilities required for the development that may be required to service more than one development, the provision of interim facilities and the financing and implementation of the ultimate servicing scheme.

Transportation corridors also provide the links and rights of way for utility services. Therefore the Development Servicing Study will need to be integrated with the transportation aspects of the development, which will be covered under a separate study. This includes addressing implications of changes to the road network, minimizing crossings of watercourses, as well as other utility issues such as rights of way for access to utilities. The scope of this will depend on the existence of a Master Servicing Study for Official Plan Amendments, which will have addressed integration of transportation and utility needs.

3.2 Servicing Study Content

A Servicing Study shall contain sufficient information to inform the City on the overall requirements to provide acceptable municipal or private services for the proposed development. The content must provide information that can define the course of the subsequent detailed design of the development services. All technical analyses and results must be clearly summarized in the main body of the report with reference to supporting detailed information in the appendices.

The content of the development Servicing Study needs to address all relevant guidelines. However, there may be circumstances or situations where one or more relevant guidelines are either in conflict with each other, or cannot be met by the proposed development. In this case, the development Servicing Study will clearly identify and justify the exceptions or the consideration for review by City of Ottawa staff.

The content must generally include the following:

  • Identify the area under consideration including existing land use and adjacent land uses. This can be addressed by a current zoning map showing the location and extent of the application site and surrounding area.
  • Establish the objectives of the Servicing Study.
  • Provide a list of background studies referenced in the preparation of the Servicing Study including studies in progress by the City or others, and confirmation of their status.
  • References and statement of conformance to higher level studies such as Environmental Assessments, Master Servicing Studies, and Community Design Plans). If no higher level study exists, the proponent shall develop, document and justify a defendable design criteria and servicing approach.
  • Demonstration and documentation that requirements from the Environmental Assessment Process have been addressed, if applicable.
  • Impacts analysis of the proposed servicing on the watershed environment, groundwater regime, and surface water features located in the vicinity of the services. This impact analysis can be based on the information taken from higher level studies if these studies have addressed these potential impacts.
  • Identify any development constraints resulting from any studies e.g. poor soils, contamination, water quality, slope stability, fish habitat and any other relevant issue of interest.
  • Plan of proposed development concept, description and adequacy of existing sanitary, water and storm services, if not already approved under a Master Servicing Plan.
  • Summary of servicing design criteria and considerations.
  • A summation of the information from pre-consultation with the City and relevant review agencies (i.e. City, MOE, CA, etc.) including permit and approval requirements. This includes issues, constraints and information gaps identified.
  • Establishment of receiving stream criteria for water quality and quantity.
  • If necessary, presentation and discussion of servicing proposals that may be deviating from the higher level studies or standard design approaches and methods.
  • If deviating from higher level studies, the proponent is expected to provide justification, including requirements to update the higher level studies accordingly for future reference.
  • If deviating from standards or policies, the proponent shall provide detailed description of methodologies and why alternative methods are necessary. The acceptance of methods deemed non-standard will be at the discretion of the City on a case-by-case basis.
  • A justification and description of any proposed interim works to facilitate servicing including how the ultimate works will be provided, and what will trigger the provision of the ultimate works.
  • Discussion and evaluation of servicing options, if not already completed under an OPA, Class Environmental Assessment, or Master Servicing Study. Any private services are to be flagged with justification as to why private services are the most appropriate option.

3.2.1 Capacity Analysis

One key element of the development Servicing Study is the analysis and demonstration that there is sufficient capacity in the wastewater and stormwater system to accommodate flows from the proposed development.

If a Master Servicing Plan has been previously completed to support the proposed land use relevant to the proposed application, then the capacity analysis must confirm that the development specifics are consistent with the Master Servicing Study.

In the case where there is insufficient existing capacity available in the existing wastewater or stormwater system, the report must outline what specific system upgrades are required to service the development.

The triggering mechanism for a capacity analysis downstream would depend on the size of the development, the proposed change in land use or site characteristics, and the known sensitivity of the downstream system to changes in discharge. The City does not have capacity data for all systems throughout the City. It is the responsibility of the applicant to demonstrate that the downstream system has the capacity to accommodate the future flows from the proposed development. The analysis of servicing requirements for the development shall include the following data and information with respect to the analysis of available capacity to serve the proposed development:

  • Calculations of the peak wastewater flows generated by the development including land use and population, and employment statistics, if applicable, including the source of the data.
  • Comparison of peak flows with the capacity of existing sewers and pumping stations.
  • Interpretation of analyses.
  • All technical analyses and results should be summarized clearly in the main body of the report – proponent to provide interpretation of results for City review.
  • Appendices are intended to include supporting/detailed information that is referenced in the report.
  • State explicitly that the design adheres to all City Guidelines/Policies and provide explanation and justification in the event of a deviation for the City’s consideration.
    • If exempt from the requirements for a MOE Certificate of Approval, provide a detailed rationale.
    • Define the triggers for the provision of off-site infrastructure.
    • Distinction between operational requirements and growth related requirements. This relates to recommendations to improve the reliability of the existing system that could be achieved effectively in conjunction with required increase in capacity. (For example, upgrades to existing sanitary lift stations can include operational improvements, as well as additional pumping and conveyance capacity).

3.3 Phasing and Financing of Infrastructure

Most services required to service an individual development application are to be financed and implemented by the proponent to City standards and approvals. In some cases, the optimal servicing scheme will involve off-site infrastructure or infrastructure within the development that will be needed to serve more than one development.

In these latter cases, the Servicing Study will need to provide a discussion on the phasing of the infrastructure, what the triggers are for the infrastructure, as well as any required interim works. This is required to answer the fundamental questions as to what services are required, where it is required, when it will be required, and who is responsible for implementing the services.

Interim works are proposed where the provision of the ultimate servicing works is not currently feasible. In this case, the proponent is responsible to finance any required interim works as well as the operational costs associated with the interim works while they are in operation.

Another issue is the financing of infrastructure that is either servicing more than one development application, or is identified as an item to be financed under the development charge by-law. In this case, the financing of the infrastructure needs to be defined as to how and who pays for the planning, design and construction of the facility. This generally applies to major infrastructure such as trunk sewers and major collector sewers, transmission and feeder water-mains, pumping stations, stormwater control facilities, and reservoirs.

The City may not be in a position to construct infrastructure that is planned for in the Long Range Financial Plan (LRFP). In this case, the developer may need to consider other options for servicing and financing.

3.3.1 Regulatory Approvals

There are a number of external agencies that issue permits and approvals that are necessary for a given development application to proceed. This includes certificates of approval for development and site alteration of lands that are subject to the CA regulations made under Section 28 of the Conservation Authorities Act, Ministry of Environment approval and issuance of certificates of authorization for water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure, in addition to permits under the Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act, Permit to take water, and review and approval from Department of Fisheries and Oceans for works that could create a Harmful Alteration Disruption or Destruction (HADD) of fish habitat.

In cases of development and site alteration on lands that are outside of regulated areas, Conservation Authority involvement in the development and approval process can be advisory in nature. When performing their review and advisory role, Conservation Authorities will make reference to technical guidelines for development that are published by the Province or the municipality in which the development is occurring, or that have been recommended in approved subwatershed or watershed studies for use in specifically defined areas.

Interpretation of the Provincial Policy Statement is reflected in the Official Plan. Provincial guidelines such as Natural Hazards Guidelines, Ministry of Environment D-5-3, D-5-4, and D-5-5 can be utilized and referenced by the applicant.

3.4 Rural Development Requirements

In order for the City to be able to support an application on private services, an adequate Hydrogeological Investigation and Terrain Analysis as well as a Servicing Options Report must be completed. Development proposals within the City are defined as “rural developments” when they are not planned to be connected to the urban services of the City. Therefore, there is a need for the applicant to complete a Servicing Options Report in accordance with Bill 51, the City's Official Plan and other provincial requirements. This will include reviewing options for provision of water, stormwater, and sanitary servicing, as well as completing a Hydrogeological Investigation and Terrain Analysis. The applicant can also refer to Ministry of the Environment Procedure D-5-3 for guidance. The Servicing Options Report shall include the Hydrogeological Investigation and Terrain Analysis as well as make reference to a number of important issues and considerations such as geotechnical considerations, water quality issues (ODWQS), Best Management Practices, Stormwater Management considerations, Wellhead protection issues, impacts on or from adjacent land uses (for example: local wells, agricultural uses, etc.). Also, the applicant must refer to the Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE) Procedures D-5-4 and D-5-5.

4. Development Servicing Study Checklist

The following section describes the checklist of the required content of servicing studies. It is expected that the proponent will address each one of the following items for the study to be deemed complete and ready for review by City of Ottawa Infrastructure Approvals staff.

Development Servicing Study Checklist [ PDF 245 KB ]

The level of required detail in the Servicing Study will increase depending on the type of application. For example, for Official Plan amendments and re-zoning applications, the main issues will be to determine the capacity requirements for the proposed change in land use and confirm this against the existing capacity constraint, and to define the solutions, phasing of works and the financing of works to address the capacity constraint. For subdivisions and site plans, the above will be required with additional detailed information supporting the servicing within the development boundary.

4.1 General Content

  • Executive Summary (for larger reports only).
  • Date and revision number of the report.
  • Location map and plan showing municipal address, boundary, and layout of proposed development.
  • Plan showing the site and location of all existing services.
  • Development statistics, land use, density, adherence to zoning and official plan, and reference to applicable subwatershed and watershed plans that provide context to which individual developments must adhere.
  • Summary of Pre-consultation Meetings with City and other approval agencies.
  • Reference and confirm conformance to higher level studies and reports (Master Servicing Studies, Environmental Assessments, Community Design Plans), or in the case where it is not in conformance, the proponent must provide justification and develop a defendable design criteria.
  • Statement of objectives and servicing criteria.
  • Identification of existing and proposed infrastructure available in the immediate area.
  • Identification of Environmentally Significant Areas, watercourses and Municipal Drains potentially impacted by the proposed development (Reference can be made to the Natural Heritage Studies, if available).
  • Concept level master grading plan to confirm existing and proposed grades in the development. This is required to confirm the feasibility of proposed stormwater management and drainage, soil removal and fill constraints, and potential impacts to neighbouring properties. This is also required to confirm that the proposed grading will not impede existing major system flow paths.
  • Identification of potential impacts of proposed piped services on private services (such as wells and septic fields on adjacent lands) and mitigation required to address potential impacts.
  • Proposed phasing of the development, if applicable.
  • Reference to geotechnical studies and recommendations concerning servicing.
  • All preliminary and formal site plan submissions should have the following information:
    • Metric scale
    • North arrow (including construction North)
    • Key plan
    • Name and contact information of applicant and property owner
    • Property limits including bearings and dimensions
    • Existing and proposed structures and parking areas
    • Easements, road widening and rights-of-way
    • Adjacent street names

4.2 Development Servicing Report: Water

  • Confirm consistency with Master Servicing Study, if available
  • Availability of public infrastructure to service proposed development
  • Identification of system constraints
  • Identify boundary conditions
  • Confirmation of adequate domestic supply and pressure
  • Confirmation of adequate fire flow protection and confirmation that fire flow is calculated as per the Fire Underwriter’s Survey. Output should show available fire flow at locations throughout the development.
  • Provide a check of high pressures. If pressure is found to be high, an assessment is required to confirm the application of pressure reducing valves.
  • Definition of phasing constraints. Hydraulic modeling is required to confirm servicing for all defined phases of the project including the ultimate design
  • Address reliability requirements such as appropriate location of shut-off valves
  • Check on the necessity of a pressure zone boundary modification.
  • Reference to water supply analysis to show that major infrastructure is capable of delivering sufficient water for the proposed land use. This includes data that shows that the expected demands under average day, peak hour and fire flow conditions provide water within the required pressure range
  • Description of the proposed water distribution network, including locations of proposed connections to the existing system, provisions for necessary looping, and appurtenances (valves, pressure reducing valves, valve chambers, and fire hydrants) including special metering provisions.
  • Description of off-site required feeder mains, booster pumping stations, and other water infrastructure that will be ultimately required to service proposed development, including financing, interim facilities, and timing of implementation.
  • Confirmation that water demands are calculated based on the City of Ottawa Design Guidelines.
  • Provision of a model schematic showing the boundary conditions locations, streets, parcels, and building locations for reference.

4.3 Development Servicing Report: Wastewater

  • Summary of proposed design criteria (Note: Wet-weather flow criteria should not deviate from the City of Ottawa Sewer Design Guidelines. Monitored flow data from relatively new infrastructure cannot be used to justify capacity requirements for proposed infrastructure).
  • Confirm consistency with Master Servicing Study and/or justifications for deviations.
  • Consideration of local conditions that may contribute to extraneous flows that are higher than the recommended flows in the guidelines. This includes groundwater and soil conditions, and age and condition of sewers.
  • Description of existing sanitary sewer available for discharge of wastewater from proposed development.
  • Verify available capacity in downstream sanitary sewer and/or identification of upgrades necessary to service the proposed development. (Reference can be made to previously completed Master Servicing Study if applicable)
  • Calculations related to dry-weather and wet-weather flow rates from the development in standard MOE sanitary sewer design table (Appendix ‘C’) format.
  • Description of proposed sewer network including sewers, pumping stations, and forcemains.
  • Discussion of previously identified environmental constraints and impact on servicing (environmental constraints are related to limitations imposed on the development in order to preserve the physical condition of watercourses, vegetation, soil cover, as well as protecting against water quantity and quality).
  • Pumping stations: impacts of proposed development on existing pumping stations or requirements for new pumping station to service development.
  • Forcemain capacity in terms of operational redundancy, surge pressure and maximum flow velocity.
  • Identification and implementation of the emergency overflow from sanitary pumping stations in relation to the hydraulic grade line to protect against basement flooding.
  • Special considerations such as contamination, corrosive environment etc.

4.4 Development Servicing Report: Stormwater Checklist

  • Description of drainage outlets and downstream constraints including legality of outlets (i.e. municipal drain, right-of-way, watercourse, or private property)
  • Analysis of available capacity in existing public infrastructure.
  • A drawing showing the subject lands, its surroundings, the receiving watercourse, existing drainage patterns, and proposed drainage pattern.
  • Water quantity control objective (e.g. controlling post-development peak flows to pre-development level for storm events ranging from the 2 or 5 year event (dependent on the receiving sewer design) to 100 year return period); if other objectives are being applied, a rationale must be included with reference to hydrologic analyses of the potentially affected subwatersheds, taking into account long-term cumulative effects.
  • Water Quality control objective (basic, normal or enhanced level of protection based on the sensitivities of the receiving watercourse) and storage requirements.
  • Description of the stormwater management concept with facility locations and descriptions with references and supporting information.
  • Set-back from private sewage disposal systems.
  • Watercourse and hazard lands setbacks.
  • Record of pre-consultation with the Ontario Ministry of Environment and the Conservation Authority that has jurisdiction on the affected watershed.
  • Confirm consistency with sub-watershed and Master Servicing Study, if applicable study exists.
  • Storage requirements (complete with calculations) and conveyance capacity for minor events (1:5 year return period) and major events (1:100 year return period).
  • Identification of watercourses within the proposed development and how watercourses will be protected, or, if necessary, altered by the proposed development with applicable approvals.
  • Calculate pre and post development peak flow rates including a description of existing site conditions and proposed impervious areas and drainage catchments in comparison to existing conditions.
  • Any proposed diversion of drainage catchment areas from one outlet to another.
  • Proposed minor and major systems including locations and sizes of stormwater trunk sewers, and stormwater management facilities.
  • If quantity control is not proposed, demonstration that downstream system has adequate capacity for the post-development flows up to and including the 100 year return period storm event.
  • Identification of potential impacts to receiving watercourses
  • Identification of municipal drains and related approval requirements.
  • Descriptions of how the conveyance and storage capacity will be achieved for the development.
  • 100 year flood levels and major flow routing to protect proposed development from flooding for establishing minimum building elevations (MBE) and overall grading.
  • Inclusion of hydraulic analysis including hydraulic grade line elevations.
  • Description of approach to erosion and sediment control during construction for the protection of receiving watercourse or drainage corridors.
  • Identification of floodplains – proponent to obtain relevant floodplain information from the appropriate Conservation Authority. The proponent may be required to delineate floodplain elevations to the satisfaction of the Conservation Authority if such information is not available or if information does not match current conditions.
  • Identification of fill constraints related to floodplain and geotechnical investigation.

4.5 Approval and Permit Requirements: Checklist

The Servicing Study shall provide a list of applicable permits and regulatory approvals necessary for the proposed development as well as the relevant issues affecting each approval. The approval and permitting shall include but not be limited to the following:

  • Conservation Authority as the designated approval agency for modification of floodplain, potential impact on fish habitat, proposed works in or adjacent to a watercourse, cut/fill permits and Approval under Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act. The Conservation Authority is not the approval authority for the Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act. Where there are Conservation Authority regulations in place, approval under the Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act is not required, except in cases of dams as defined in the Act.
  • Application for Certificate of Approval (CofA) under the Ontario Water Resources Act.
  • Changes to Municipal Drains.
  • Other permits (National Capital Commission, Parks Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada, Ministry of Transportation etc.)

4.6 Conclusion Checklist

  • Clearly stated conclusions and recommendations
  • Comments received from review agencies including the City of Ottawa and information on how the comments were addressed. Final sign-off from the responsible reviewing agency.
  • All draft and final reports shall be signed and stamped by a professional Engineer registered in Ontario

Site Alteration By-law

The Site Alteration By-law was approved by Ottawa City Council on May 9, 2018, in order to regulate site alteration activities such as placing or dumping fill, removing  topsoil, clearing or stripping vegetation, and altering the grade of land.  In general, all lands within the City of Ottawa are subject to the by-law, except for lands that are already regulated by a Conservation Authority (e.g., floodplains, rivers and creeks, or in and around significant wetlands). 

The by-law is intended to:

  • Prevent drainage problems
  • Protect the productivity of soils in areas designated in Ottawa’s Official Plan as Agricultural Resource Areas
  • Protect designated natural areas and other natural heritage features (such as significant woodlands and valleylands) identified in Ottawa’s Official Plan in and around the urban area from negative impacts
  • Establish basic rules and practices to avoid impacts to neighbours and the environment during site alteration

In most cases, residents do not need the City’s approval before beginning site alteration, but they must follow the rules in the by-law.  Ottawa’s basic rules for site alteration can be summarised as follows:

  1. Do not work on someone else’s property without their permission.
  2. Do not cause drainage problems for your neighbours.
  3. Follow all other applicable municipal, provincial and federal rules.
  4. Do not damage the productivity of soils in areas designated for agricultural use.
  5. Get City approval before working in or within 30 m of significant natural areas in the area shown on Schedule B in the by-law.
  6. Notify your neighbour(s) if you will be working within 10 metres of your property boundary.
  7. Notify your City planner before working on a site during the development review process.
  8. Control sediment and erosion, where necessary.
  9. Fence off or otherwise limit your work area, where necessary, to prevent accidental damage to nearby trees, structures or properties.
  10. Use clean fill.

Rules 1, 2 and 3 apply to everyone.  There are exceptions to several of the other rules for yard maintenance, landscaping, farming, woodlot management, and approved developments.  Additional information is provided below to help residents understand how the by-law affects them. 

Please call or click before you dig!  Contact Ontario One Call at 1-800-400-2255 or to find out where underground utilities such as water or sewer pipes, gas or power lines, and communications cables are on your property.    It’s free, and could save you from costly or dangerous mistakes.

Understanding the Rules for Site Alteration

Rule #1: Do not work on someone else’s property without their permission.

If you are not sure where your property line is, refer to your property survey or contact a professional surveyor.

Rule #2: Do not cause drainage problems for your neighbours.

All residents need to be aware that changes to the surface of a property can affect the way water drains across it.  It’s important to be aware of local drainage patterns around your home, your property and your neighbourhood.  For example, installing a patio, a pool or even a garden bed may change the way rainwater moves across your land and your neighbour’s.  Under the by-law, if your project affects the movement of water so that your neighbour’s property no longer drains properly, then you may be required to fix the problem. 

Roadside ditches and municipal drains are vital parts of the City’s infrastructure and should not be altered, except through the appropriate process (see Ditch Alteration Policy or Ditches and Drains for more information).  Rivers, creeks and many other watercourses are regulated by the Conservation Authorities and cannot be altered without a permit.  Contact your local Conservation Authority for advice before beginning any work near a watercourse.

Rule #3: Follow all other applicable municipal, provincial and federal rules.

Here is a list of commonly applicable rules that you should be aware of:


Building By-law (enables the City to administer and enforce the provincial Building Code Act; includes specifications for construction fencing where required)

Fence By-law (regulates the erection, maintenance, and repair of fences)

Tree Protection By-law (protects City-owned trees and natural areas – written approval is required prior to working within the critical root zone of City-owned trees)

Noise By-law (regulates noise levels, including limits on timing of work with power tools)

Pool Enclosure By-law (regulates fencing requirements for swimming pools)

Private Approach By-law (regulates construction of private driveways or access lanes connecting to City roads)

Sewer Use By-law (limits what is allowed into City sewers or ditch systems)

Use and Care of Roads By-law (regulates use of City roads, including use and maintenance of boulevards by adjacent landowners)

Zoning By-law (establishes specific land uses, as well as yard setbacks for structures and permitted lot coverage)


Building Code Act (administered by the City; regulates the design and construction of buildings, additions, decks, septic systems)

Conservation Authorities Act (regulates work near water or wetlands – you may need a permit to work in these areas, check with your local Conservation Authority)

Drainage Act (regulates municipal drains)

Endangered Species Act (protects endangered or threatened species and their habitat)

Environmental Protection Act (regulates waste disposal and protects quality of air, water, and soil)

Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act (regulates hunting and fishing, protects wildlife)

Ontario Heritage Act (protects heritage properties and archaeological resources)

Public Lands Act (regulates work in or along shorelines of lakes, rivers and streams owned by the Crown, other than the federally regulated Rideau Canal waterway)


Department of Transport Act – Historic Canals Regulations (regulate works in or along shoreline of Rideau Canal waterway)

Fisheries Act (protects fish and fish habitat)

Migratory Birds Convention Act (protects migratory birds and their nests)

Navigation Protection Act (protects navigable waterways)

Rule #4: Do not damage the productivity of soils in areas designated for agricultural use.

Certain lands in the rural area and in the Greenbelt have been designated as Agricultural Resource Areas on Schedules B, C11 and C12 of the Official Plan.  These lands have productive soils and are intended for farming. To help protect these soils, the by-law prohibits the removal of topsoil or any other activities that would reduce their agricultural productivity.  Exceptions are provided for normal activities in these areas such as farming, approved developments and yard maintenance.

Rule #5: Get City approval before working in or within 30 m of significant natural areas in the area shown on Schedule B of the by-law.

This rule only applies to part of the City, shown on a map in the by-law (Schedule B).  Certain woodlands and other natural areas within the City have been identified as provincially or locally significant.  Many of these areas are designated as Natural Environment Areas, Urban Natural Features, or Rural Natural Features on Schedules A or B of the Official Plan.  Other areas have been identified as part of the Natural Heritage System Overlay (Schedules C11A, C11B and C11C in the Official Plan).  To avoid or reduce negative impacts on these environmentally sensitive areas, the by-law requires landowners to consult with the City’s Planning staff and obtain the City’s approval before undertaking site alteration in or within 30 m of these areas.  Exceptions are provided for approved developments, yard maintenance, farming and woodlot management in accordance with good forestry practices.

In some cases, the City may require an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) to be prepared in order to demonstrate how the proposed work can be completed without causing negative impacts to the natural feature or its ecological functions.  The need for an EIS will be determined on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the City’s Environmental Impact Study Guidelines.  City staff can waive the EIS requirement where minor projects are unlikely to cause negative impacts.

The by-law does not prevent landowners from cutting trees or removing woodlots that have not been identified as significant natural features in the City’s Official Plan.  Tree cutting is controlled under the Urban Tree Conservation By-law for privately owned trees in the urban and future urban expansion areas, and for City-owned trees throughout the City.

Not sure if this rule applies to you?  Contact a Development Information Officer at one of the City’s Client Service Centres to determine if your property is located within 30 m of a significant natural area.

Rule #6: Notify your neighbour(s) if you will be working within 10 metres of your property boundary.

If your proposed site alteration will occur within 10 m of your property boundary, you may need to notify the adjacent private neighbour(s) along that boundary before starting work.  Notification is not required for minor landscaping or yard maintenance, farming, or woodlot management.  It is also not required in cases where site alteration is urgently required to deal with events such as flooding or failures of private wells or septic facilities.

Where notification is required, it may be done in writing or by posting a sign at the entrance(s) to your property.  The notice must include the following information:

  • A clear description of the nature and purpose of the work (e.g., putting in a new swimming pool, patio and landscaping)
  • The location and extent of the area to be affected (e.g., approximately 30m2 in the back yard of 123 Any Street)
  • The anticipated duration of the work (e.g., five days, beginning on Date)
  • Contact information for the person or company doing the work (e.g., name and phone number for your contractor)

Notifying your neighbours does not give them the right to object to your plans.  It simply ensures that they know what is going on, how long it will take, and who to call if they have any questions or concerns.

Rule #7: Notify your City planner before working on a site during the development review process.

If a developer wants to start working on a site before receiving approval from the City on their Planning Act application (e.g., Plan of Subdivision, Zoning By-law Amendment, etc.), they need to notify the City’s lead planner for the file.  This allows the City planner to notify the local Councillor or community association where appropriate, and enables them to better respond to any questions or concerns from the public.  Notification is not required for minor landscaping or yard maintenance, farming, or woodlot management.  It is also not required in cases where site alteration is urgently required to deal with events such as flooding or failures of private wells or septic facilities.

Rule #8: Use sediment and erosion control, where necessary.

Soil that has been exposed or disturbed by site alteration activities is vulnerable to erosion by wind or water.  Soil erosion is a loss for the landowner, and can also cause negative environmental impacts to local air conditions, water quality, and natural areas.  Sediment and erosion control measures may be needed to keep the soil in place until the site stabilizes.  For small projects on relatively flat properties, this may simply mean avoiding work during times when heavy rains or high winds are forecast.  Maintaining an undisturbed buffer zone of grass or other vegetation around the work area is also helpful.  For projects on slopes or near watercourses, more advanced measures such as silt fencing or straw bale check dams may be needed.   

Rule #9: Fence off or otherwise limit your work area, where necessary, to prevent accidental damage to nearby trees, structures or property during the work.

The use of construction fencing to ensure public safety around building sites is regulated under the Building By-law.  For site alteration activities, it is also good practice to fence off or otherwise mark the limits of the work area to reduce the risk of accidental damage to nearby trees, natural areas, neighbouring properties, or infrastructure.  If the work area is in the middle of an open field, with nothing nearby that could be damaged, this rule would not apply.

Rule #10: Use clean fill.

Soil or other fill used at a site must be clean.  Provincial regulations establish limits for various contaminants.  Residents should take care to obtain topsoil and other fill from reputable suppliers. 

Exceptions to the Rules

The Site Alteration By-law does not apply to lands that are regulated by any of the local Conservation Authorities under the Conservation Authorities Act.  This includes floodplains and significant wetlands throughout the City, as well as most other wetlands in the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority’s jurisdiction.  Lands adjacent to wetlands and along watercourses are also regulated.  Maps showing the regulation limits are available on geoOttawa, but this information should be confirmed with your local Conservation Authority.

The by-law also does not apply to several activities that are regulated and approved under provincial legislation, such as:

  • Construction or maintenance of transmission or distribution systems under the Electricity Act
  • Aggregate extraction in pits and quarries licensed under the Aggregate Resources Act
  • Construction, maintenance or repair of drainage works under the Drainage Act or Tile Drainage Act
  • Construction and operation of waste disposal sites or waste management systems under the Environmental Protection Act

Exceptions from many of the by-law’s rules have been provided for several common activities such as farming, woodlot management, implementation of approved developments, landscaping and yard maintenance.  More information on these exceptions is provided below.


Under the Farming and Food Production Protection Act, municipal by-laws cannot restrict normal farming practices carried out as part of an agricultural operation.  Therefore, farmers are exempt from many of the rules in the by-law.  Farmers need to ensure that they are not working on someone else’s land without permission, and that they do not interfere with anyone else’s drainage.  They do not need to notify anyone or ask for the City’s approval before carrying out normal farming practices, but they do need to follow rules 8 to 10 (use sediment and erosion control where necessary, protect the work area where necessary, and use clean fill).  Most farmers already follow these practices in their daily work, as responsible stewards of their land.

Normal farming practices include a broad range of activities such as cultivating fields, spreading manure, harvesting crops, installing and maintaining fences, planting or removing hedgerows and windbreaks, and maintaining drainage or irrigation systems.  The construction, maintenance and repair of drains under the Tile Drainage Act is exempt from the Site Alteration By-law.  The incidental removal of topsoil as part of sod farming, greenhouse operations and horticultural nursery production is also legally exempt.  The removal of topsoil (including peat) for sale or other disposition is not exempt, and is not allowed in designated Agricultural Resource Areas under the by-law.

Woodlot Management

Woodlot owners do not need to notify anyone or ask for the City’s approval to manage their woodlot.  They need to ensure that they are not working on someone else’s land without permission, and that they do not interfere with anyone else’s drainage.  They also need to follow rules 8 to 10 (use sediment and erosion control where necessary, protect the work area where necessary, and use clean fill).  Provincial and federal regulations may apply in some cases (e.g., Endangered Species Act, Migratory Birds Convention Act).


Developments that have already received approval from the City under the Planning Act or Building Code Act are subject to rules 1 to 3 and must follow any applicable conditions of approval. If you will be working within 10 metres of your property boundary, you will need to notify your neighbours before starting work. If you want to start work on a site before receiving City approvals, you must notify the City planner overseeing your application and follow rules 8 to 10.  Other rules in the by-law may apply depending on the location and context of the site; the City planner can assist in determining which rules apply. 

Landscaping and Yard Maintenance

Landscaping and yard maintenance are exempt from several of the rules in the by-law.  Landscaping refers to any activity that changes the visible features of an area of land. Landscaping may include planting, grading, patios, fences, pools or water features, and structures such as gazebos.  Yard maintenance may include activities such as top-dressing lawns or filling in potholes in a private laneway.

Minor landscaping activities are exempt from most of the rules in the by-law.  Residents do not need the City’s approval or to notify anyone to top-dress a lawn, put in a new garden bed or plant new trees or shrubs.  However, they  need to follow rules 1 to 3, as well as rules 8 to 10 where appropriate.  For most home gardening projects, meeting rules 8 to 10 is not difficult – do not work during extreme rain events, be careful, and use topsoil from reputable suppliers.

Major landscaping or yard maintenance projects, such as the installation of an in-ground pool or the replacement of a septic field, are not exempt from the notification requirement – if the work area is within 10 m of your property boundary, notify your neighbours. Check to see if the project would affect the critical root zone of any tree protected under the City’s Tree Protection By-law, and get any necessary approvals. Other regulations may apply to such projects. Contact the Ottawa Septic System Office for more information about septic fields or your local Client Service Centre for information about the City’s Pool Enclosure By-law.

Contact Information

For more information about your property, or to determine if you are located within 30 m of a significant natural area, contact a Development Information Officer at one of the City’s Client Service Centres.

To consult the City’s Planning staff regarding a proposed site alteration in or within 30 m of a significant natural area located in the area shown on Schedule B of the by-law, email us at

For general inquiries about the by-law and its rules, email us at

If you would like to report a potential by-law violation, call 3-1-1.

Wellhead protection area plan for private communal wells

Wellhead protection area plan for private communal wells [pdf 54 kb]

Terms Of Reference, October 2002

1.0 Objectives

The quality of groundwater from any water well is dependant on the natural quality of the groundwater in the supply aquifer, and impacts due to human activities (anthropogenic impacts) that alter the quality of the groundwater from its natural state within the capture zone of the well. Future well water quality cannot be predicted by looking at current well water quality alone. In order to predict future well water quality, including possible future anthropogenic impacts, it is necessary to understand the following:

  • The source(s) of groundwater supplying the well (where does the water come from?)
  • The sources of contamination that could potentially impact the well water quality
  • The degree of risk posed by the potential sources of groundwater contamination.

The City of Ottawa will not enter into a Responsibility Agreement or agree to municipal ownership for a water works to be supplied by a proposed communal well or well field, unless the proponent can demonstrate an understanding of the above issues, and that the proponent can clearly demonstrate that the source of the groundwater supplying the communal well or well field will be protected by means of a Wellhead Protection Area Plan (WHPAP).

To ensure that the City of Ottawa is provided with sufficient information regarding the aquifer/groundwater within the capture zone of a proposed communal well or well field, proponents of private communal well systems must complete a WHPAP according to this Terms of Reference (ToR). This ToR requires the proponent to prepare a WHPAP Report, consisting of :

  1. The determination of the source of recharge to the aquifer(s) from which the well or well field obtains its water
  2. Numerical modeling of groundwater flow including calculation of well or well field capture zones
  3. Compilation of an inventory of contaminant sources within the Wellhead Protection Area (WHPA)
  4. An assessment of the risk of contamination of aquifer groundwater for each contaminant source
  5. A proposed well or well field WHPAP.

It will be the responsibility of the proponent to fulfil the WHPAP and to undertake all steps necessary to protect the aquifer groundwater within the WHPA.

2.0 Pre-submission Consultation

Pre-submission consultation is a dialogue between the proponent and the City of Ottawa prior to submission of a WHPAP for private communal wells. Pre-submission consultation is meant to assist proponents in defining the objectives of the WHPAP.

In the pre-submission consultation with the City, the proponent must be prepared to present and discuss a preliminary conceptual model of the hydrogeological system of the region surrounding the well or well field. To define a WHPA based on the capture zone of a well or well field with a high degree of confidence requires a good understanding of the hydrogeological system within which the communal wells would operate (the conceptual model). The hydrogeological conceptual model will include, as a minimum, a description of recharge and discharge areas, general groundwater flow directions, groundwater use, and the characteristics of aquifers/aquitards in the region surrounding the well or well field. Also, as part of pre-submission consultation, the proponent must present and discuss a preliminary contaminant source inventory (see Section 4.3) and inventory of agricultural land use (see Section 4.4) for the area within a five kilometre radius of the well or well field.

3.0 General Requirements

The definition of the WHPA will be based on calculated groundwater capture zone(s). The City accepts the methodologies for mapping of WHPAs, and requirements for WHPA Studies as provided in Section 3.0 of the Ministry of the Environment’s (MOE) Technical Terms of Reference (TToR) for Groundwater Studies, dated November, 2001. The methodologies and requirements of Section 3.0, and the data standards specified in Section 4.2 of the MOE TToR that relate to WHPA Studies, are to be considered applicable unless specified otherwise in this ToR. Additional WHPA Study requirements are provided herein. Further requirements may be imposed on a site-specific basis.

The MOE TToR is available via the internet from the MOE web site at:

The proponent will make use of available maps, air photos, water well record data, relevant hydrogeological and environmental reports, published databases of potential contaminant sources (MOE data bases and others) and pumping test data. Where required in order to properly characterize the hydrogeological system, the collection of additional groundwater quality, geophysical (down-hole or surface surveys), downhole hydrogeophysical, downhole packer test, environmental isotope, or other types of data may be necessary in order to successfully complete the WHPAP. While the need to collect additional data will be determined by the proponent, the City will apply a very high standard of care in its confirmation of the successful completion of the WHPAP by the proponent.

All WHPAP reports must be peer reviewed prior to submission to the City. A report on the peer review would be submitted to the City at the same time as the WHPAP report. The peer reviewer would be retained by the proponent. The City will provide the proponent with a list of acceptable peer reviewers.

4.0 WHPA Study Methodology and Report Components

4.1 Aquifer and Aquitard Parameter Characterization

Aquifer and aquitard parameters such as thickness, hydraulic conductivity and effective porosity must be determined, either from reliable existing information or through collection of new data. The hydrogeological system, as described in the conceptual model, must be considered in order to determine the appropriate aquifer and aquitard parameter data requirements.

A minimum of one properly completed pump test at each well is required. The type and duration of the pumping test will also be based on the hydrogeological system and need to determine aquifer and aquitard parameters. A properly completed pump test utilizes a drilled observation well(s), and if possible, the acquisition of data concerning the vertical position and yield of individual water bearing zones within the aquifer formation(s) (bedrock or overburden). Downhole hydrogeophysical logging, downhole packer testing, and the installation of multilevel monitoring wells for the determination of site-specific vertically referenced data may be required in order to successfully complete the WHPAP.

4.2 Capture Zone Calculation

The preferred method for capture zone delineation methodology specified in the MOE TToR involves the use of a 3 dimensional (3D) steady state numerical model. The City requires that a 3D steady-state numerical model must be used for delineation of capture zones. MODFLOW/MODPATH or similar programs are acceptable for this purpose.

The 3D numerical model is to be constructed using parameters and information that are specific to the study area in which the well or well field is situated (e.g., surficial geology, bedrock geology, topography, surface water/hydrographic data, infiltration estimates) and calibrated using representative groundwater levels within the various hydrostratigraphic units. Boundary conditions and aquifer/aquitard parameters must be reasonable and defensible. Surface water/groundwater interactions must also be considered during model calibration. Following calibration, the 3D model will be used to delineate the four time-related capture zones listed in the MOE TToR (i.e., 0 to 50 day Time of Travel [ToT]; 50 day to 2 year ToT; 2 to 10 year ToT; and 10 to 25 year ToT). A fifth capture zone (25 yrs to the capture zone limit) will also to be determined. Uncertainty in the aquifer parameters or conceptualization of the flow system must be addressed with respect to the determination of the five capture zones.

Capture zones are to be determined using the calibrated model and appropriate future well or well field pumping rates. When applicable, the vertical ToT through the aquitard(s) to the aquifer(s) is to be determined throughout the WHPA. The WHPA Plan will be based on the limits of largest determined capture zone.

4.3 Contaminant Source Inventory

A detailed contaminant source assessment must be conducted for the properties within the WHPA, in accordance with the MOE TToR. The objective of this assessment is to identify past, present and possible future activities that are current, or potential future, point, and non-point sources of groundwater contamination (including, for example, road salting, subsurface disposal sewage systems and landfills).

The information for this review is to be obtained from, but not necessarily limited to, the MOE Inventory of PCB sites, MOE Inventory of Waste Generators, Land Use Schedules, Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) fuel sites, land assessment maps, business directories and city directories. If available, historical insurers' underwriter maps should be reviewed.

Interviews with officials from the District Office and Approvals Branch of the MOE, the Ottawa Septic Office and the City of Ottawa (Environmental Management Division, Planning, Environment and Infrastructure Policy Branch, Developments Services Department) will be conducted in order to identify any known issues of environmental concern. Historical air photographs will be reviewed and detailed field surveys will be conducted in order to confirm information provided by others, and to identify other or new potential sources of groundwater contamination. Industrial, commercial and institutional facilities within the WHPA must be visited and asked to complete the questionnaire included in the MOE TToR (Schedule E).

The WHPAP Report will include a discussion on the likelihood that improperly abandoned wells are present within the WHPA and the potential impact of improperly abandoned wells within the WHPA.

4.4 Inventory of Agricultural Land Use

Potential risks associated with existing or potential future agricultural activities within the capture zones will be discussed in the WHPAP Report.

Data from the Census of Agriculture (CoA) Enumeration Area database will be used to identify any areas of high intensity agriculture, including high animal density (manure production) and high nitrogen fertilizer use. Specific operations that may be potential sources of groundwater contamination should be determined from air photographs, through site visits or questionnaires. Each identified agricultural operation is to be characterized in terms of manure storage facilities, pesticide and fertilizer storage, bulk fuel storage, and pesticide mixing and filling of sprayers. A survey/questionnaire will be sent to all farm sites that fall within the 10 year ToT capture zone, inquiring about the intensity of farming, manure storage facilities, abandoned wells, etc.

4.5 Risk Assessment of Contaminant Sources and Agricultural Activities

Following identification and compilation of the potential contaminant sources and agricultural activities, a risk assessment is to be conducted. Each potential contaminant source (current or potential future source) within the WHPA must be categorized according the risk to cause contamination of the aquifer groundwater and impact on the groundwater supply at the wellhead .

The relative risk of causing aquifer contamination within the WHPA, and contamination of groundwater supplied from the well or well field, is to be determined for each identified historical, existing or potential future source of contamination. The relative risk determined for each potential source will be based on hydrogeological setting, aquifer vulnerability and ToT to the wellhead. The vertical ToT through the aquitard(s) to the aquifer(s) should be considered (where applicable) in addition to the overall ToT from the potential sources to the wellhead.

Potential sources of contamination that could theoretically affect the groundwater supply at the wellhead within 10 years are to be considered as “high risk”. Potential sources of contamination, located anywhere within the WHPA that could theoretically cause potentially long term aquifer contamination (e.g. dense non-aqueous phase liquids) are also to be considered as “high risk”. Other potential contaminant sources, or potential sources located at distances greater than the 10 year travel time (from the contaminant source to the wellhead) are to be considered as lower risk.

4.6 Wellhead Protection Area Plan

Prior to developing a WHPAP, the proponent must review relevant City policies, by-laws and programs concerning rural development, environmental protection, etc. The WHPAP must include specific actions to be undertaken by the proponent to address problems identified by the risk assessment. The need for the proponent to undertake additional groundwater investigations or establish a groundwater monitoring program must be addressed in the WHPAP. If necessary, the City may require land securement by the proponent in order to address issues related to potential sources of contamination.

5.0 Submission Requirements for the WHPAP Report

The WHPAP will be compiled into a report which references all historical data sources and contains all relevant original data. The WHPAP and the peer review report must be submitted together by the proponent to the City. Following acceptance of the WHPAP by the City, all data must be submitted to the City in accordance with the data standards described in Section 4.2 of the MOE TToR.

The WHPAP must be prepared and signed by Professional Engineer, or Professional Geoscientist, licensed for practice in the Province of Ontario, and qualified in the specialized field of Hydrogeology.