Backflow Prevention Device is all part of the Protective Plumbing Program
featuring the
Full Port Back Water Valve


Protect your home from sewage backup in basement with a sewer backwater valve installation.

Backwater Valve

Many homeowners in Ottawa and Kanata have had the unfortunate experience of city sewage backup into their basements causing thousands in home damages (not to mention the disgusting clean up & smell).

What most homeowners in Ottawa and Kanata don’t know is that the city is now offering a Protective Plumbing Grant that covers 50% to 100% of the cost of having a Protective Plumbing Device (called: mainport back water valve or back flow valve or backflow preventer valve) installed in your home. (applications and City links at the bottom of this page)

Even if you don’t live in the area most heavily effected by sewage backup you could still qualify for a Grant (Residential Compassionate Grant) for homeowners who experience repetitive sewage backup in their homes.

We are writing to compliment your staff for their pleasant and professional demeanour when they did some work for us. This involved the installation of backwater valves to prevent future flooding of our home from city storm sewage backups.

The initial onsite inspection was done by Jamie, and he, along with Dan and one other person, did the installations. We found them to be competent, courteous and patient, and it seems the work was done well — no storm sewer backups this summer.

We also appreciated the prompt and friendly treatment we received whenever we had to call your office regarding the project. It was a pleasure to deal with all of you and we are certainly prepared to have you do other work for us if and when the occasion arises.

Dennis Gruending & Martha Wiebe

The following information has been provided by the City of Ottawa explaining what a plumbing protective device is, how it works, who these grants are for and how to go about applying for a protective plumbing device grant. Additional information provided by Francis Plumbing & Heating has been highlighted in green.  

Grants for Protective Plumbing Devices  

What is protective plumbing?
Is protective plumbing an effective means of preventing a basement flood?
Maintenance of Protective Plumbing Device
What is the Residential Protective Plumbing Grant?
Who is eligible for the grant program?
How can I apply for a grant?
Does anything need to be included with my application?
How much will the City pay?
When would I receive my money?

What if I live in a condominium?
The Application Process
Are there limits on the grant program’s availability?
What are the criteria considered?
Can I withdraw from the Program?
Why would an application not be considered?
Application forms
For more information

What is Protective Plumbing? 

Protective plumbing describes the devices and/or means used to protect homeowners against the entry of wastewater into basements resulting from a main sewer backup such as the main full-port back water valve or water flow valve (also called a backflow preventer valve, backwater check valve, and drain backflow preventer). When these devices are installed properly, in accordance with site-specific needs, they stop the back flow of waste-water and can significantly reduce the potential of sewage backup in basement causing flooding.

Protective plumbing methods can range from the installation of sump pumps and reconfiguration of footing drainage to the installation of an approved full-port backwater valve / backflow valves (backflow preventer valve, drain backflow preventer or backwater check valve) on the building’s sanitary drain connected to the main City sewer.

The proper fit of protective plumbing is determined through the careful investigation of site-specific needs, and requires building permits and plumbing inspections to ensure installation in accordance with building code requirements.

The improper use or installation of protective plumbing may only aggravate an existing problem. Please check with the City before undertaking these measures to ensure a full understanding of Bylaw and permit requirements, and to ensure that any proposed work will actually help resolve your problems.

The City of Ottawa’s “Residential Protective Plumbing Program” can provide financial assistance toward a portion of the costs of the installation of protective plumbing backwater valve for some eligible property owners.

Is protective plumbing an effective means of preventing a basement flood? 

Protective plumbing backwater valves (also called backflow preventer valves) helps to protect against sewer backups resulting from sewer surcharges and main sewer blockages. Sewer mains can’t always handle the extra water flow (sewage surcharge) caused by spring run-off and heavy rains. When these events occur suddenly, back-flow valves and drain backflow preventers help to prevent the entry of waste-water into the residential sewer lateral.

Protective plumbing offers little protection against flooding that results from the damage or blockage of a sewer lateral on the homeowner’s property where the waste-water flow from the residence is the source of the flooding.

Maintenance of Protective Plumbing Devices 

Protective Plumbing devices require periodic maintenance and should be kept free of debris to maintain operational efficiency. Regular maintenance of these devices is important to ensure that they continue to work as intended. Consult with the manufacturer’s recommendations and your installer for additional information on this topic. Francis Plumbing can help you with the ongoing maintenance of your backflow preventer valve on your home sewer system.


The following terms are commonly referred to when talking about sewers:

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

*   Sanitary sewage – waste-water typically from toilets, showers and sink drains

*   Storm water run-off or drainage – wet weather run-off collected around roads, parks, rooftops, private property and building footing drains

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

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

*   Sewer mains, which are the public sewers on City property, can be three different types:

*  “Combined sewer” – a City sewer system that collects and sends municipal sewage (sanitary sewage), intercepted surface storm water runoff, and foundation drainage, all within a single pipe.

*  “Partially separated sewer” – a City sewer system that consists of a storm runoff drainage system that collects and conveys intercepted surface runoff, and a separate sanitary sewer system that receives and conveys municipal sewage as well as foundation drainage and some driveway and surface drainage.

*  “Separated sewer” – means a City sewer system in which municipal sewage is collected and conveyed through a sanitary sewer pipe network, and surface storm water runoff and foundation drainage is collected and conveyed through a separate storm runoff drainage system.

Grants for Protective Plumbing Devices 

The Residential Protective Plumbing Grant, what is it?  

The Residential Protective Plumbing Grant Program offers homeowners in flood prone areas, the opportunity to have their protective plumbing requirements evaluated by a City of Ottawa representative and obtain grants to offset the cost of protective measures required to prevent basement and cellar flooding.


Who is eligible for the grant program? 

You may be eligible for a grant to offset a portion of the cost necessary to install protective plumbing, if you:

*  are a homeowner living within the boundaries of the City of Ottawa,

*  have experienced basement or cellar flooding as a result of City sewage backup, live in an area that has previously flooded as a result of City Sewer back-up as recorded in City records, and

*  your property taxes have been paid and are up to date.

How can I apply for a grant? 

Homeowners who are eligible for the program, must submit an application to the City of Ottawa and obtain approval for the grant before undertaking any of the work. The application form can be downloaded online, picked up in person at a Client Service Centre or provided by a program representative. Refer to “For more information”.

NOTE: Francis Plumbing can provide you with a free* in-home quote (with existing drawings) and will connect you with the city officials who handle this program to simplify your application process.

* Please note that the quote is free but not the technicial drawings. If we have to create the technical drawing then there is a charge for the technicial drawings. 

Does anything have to be included with my application? 

Grant application will not be processed unless they contain the following information:

*  “Proof of ownership” such as, a copy of the registered deed or transfer of land or tax bill confirming the applicant as the registered owner of the property;

*  “Proof of flooding” such as a letter or statement from the Insurance Company to provide information regarding the date and extent of the basement or cellar flooding (if applicable).

*  The applicant’s signature to acknowledge the terms and conditions of the program and to provide permission for City of Ottawa Representatives to conduct inspections and investigations on the homeowner’s property.

How much will the City pay? 

The amount of a grant depends on the flood history for the property. In accordance with the City of Ottawa Protective Plumbing Bylaw 2005-209 / 2006-309, the allowable amount of reimbursement for applications received, after 3 July 2006, is described below.

The amount approved under the Bylaw for the installation of protective plumbing devices is;

*  100% of the cost of the work to a maximum of $4,000 (including taxes) where a basement or cellar has previously flooded resulting from a City Sewer Back-up; or

*  50% of the cost of the work to a maximum of $2,500 (including taxes) for a house that has not experienced flooding resulting from a City Sewer Back-up but is located in an area with a history of flooding.

The amount approved under the Bylaw for residential dwellings having to address drainage from a flat roof represents:

*  100% of the cost of the work to a maximum of $7,500 (including taxes) where a basement or cellar has previously flooded resulting from a City Sewer Back-up; or

*  50% of the cost of the work to a maximum of $3,750 (including taxes) for a house that has not experienced flooding resulting from a City Sewer Back-up but is located in an area with a history of flooding.

When would I receive my money? 

Payment of approved grants is made only after:

The work is complete; and

*  The applicant has submitted final accounts for the work, the acknowledgement and agreement required pursuant to the application form; and

*  Confirmation by staff that:

*  any necessary permits were obtained, and

*  the inspection and testing of the completed works has been carried out where required; and

*  the work completed was in accordance with the City proposal.

NOTE: Francis Plumbing will work with you and the City inspector so that the work can be completed quickly and exactly to the strict requirements that the City of Ottawa demands in order to qualify for this Protective Plumbing Grant. Our backwater valve installation is typically completed within 1 day to minimize disrupting your personal schedule.

What if I live in a Condominium?

If a homeowner applies for a protective plumbing grant then the homeowner applies for the program and makes arrangements for a Contractor (Francis Plumbing) to install the protective plumbing devices (also called a backflow preventer valve or drain backflow preventer). However if a condominium applies on behalf of several homeowners then the condominium applies for the program and provides a letter of permission from each homeowner participating in the program. The condominium coordinates the protective plumbing installation and processes the plumbing grants on behalf of the homeowners. Please contact your Condominium Representative for additional information.

NOTE: Francis Plumbing is a licensed contractor able to provide both homeowners and condominium associations with both the backwater valve installation and on going services and assistance they need to qualify for these grants.

The Application Process 

Applications are processed as follows:

Step 1 – Review of Application  

The homeowner’s application is reviewed to ensure that the homeowner is eligible, the application is complete and to verify that the property taxes are paid. Eligible homeowners will receive a receipt of application letter. Homeowners who are not eligible or who submitted an incomplete application are sent an explanation letter. If there is a balance owing on their taxes they will be requested to settle their account and call back when it is paid.

Note: If a Condominium Corporation submits applications on behalf of more than one homeowner then the protective plumbing grants will be processed under one application administered by the condominium and a letter of authorization from each homeowner represented by the condominium must be attached to the application.

Step 2 – Review of Protective Plumbing requirements  

A consultant working on behalf of the City of Ottawa (City representative) will contact the homeowner to make arrangements for a site visit (usually within two weeks).

The City representative will conduct an investigation to determine the extent of the protective plumbing works required to fully protect your property. This will involve taking measurements and photographs of the plumbing and asking questions to determine the nature and extent of previous flooding. In some cases more than one visit may be required.

A closed circuit television inspection (CCTV) of the sanitary sewer lateral connections will also be conducted. The purpose of the sewer inspection is to determine the condition of the sanitary sewer lateral servicing the home and identify other problems that may contribute to a sewage back-up. There is no cost to the resident for this inspection.

City representatives or their designates will display photo identification from the City of Ottawa or their respective companies.

Step 3 – An Investigation report is sent to the homeowner  

Once the investigation has been completed, the representative will send the homeowner a report of the findings with a letter of explanation and detailed information regarding the protective plumbing requirements.

The representative requests the homeowner to contact a private contractor to obtain at least one quotation for the proposed work. Work must not proceed until the quotation has been approved by the City representative.

Step 4 – The homeowner arranges for contractor quotes 

The homeowner reviews the report and contacts a private contractor to provide quotes for the work and sends a copy of the quotation to the City representative.

The representative reviews the quote(s) to determine whether the price(s) are reasonable for the scope of the proposed work. The quotations must include any miscellaneous items such as taxes, permit, fees etc.

If the price is reasonable then the homeowner will be informed that they may proceed. Upon request a letter of confirmation is sent to the homeowner.

If the quotation is higher than expected then the representative will request the homeowner to provide another quotation. Under the by-law the homeowner may be requested to submit up to three (3) separate quotations for the proposed work.

Note: You can simplify the previous 4 steps by calling Francis Plumbing 613-224-0041 to arrange for your free in home quote of a backflow preventer valve (or backwater check valve). Our licensed plumber will contact the City to arrange for your inspection; setting you up personally with everything you need to move forward with this protective plumbing grant.

Step 5 – Protective Plumbing is installed 

The homeowner arranges for the performance of the work. The contractor installs the protective plumbing devices (backflow preventer / backwater valve installation) and the contractor or homeowner makes arrangements for a plumbing inspection by a City of Ottawa inspector. The inspector approves the plumbing and the work is completed.

Step 6 – Payment of contractor 

The homeowner pays the contractor for the performance of the work, making sure to retain copies of all invoices and proof of payment.

Note: Francis Plumbing also provides the home owner with a one year written guaranty on all labour & materials so not only can you rest assured the work is done according to City requirements but the work is guaranteed. This is in addition to our 100% Customer Satisfaction Guaranty in writing found on the back of every invoice and work order.

We also insure our work for up to 5 million dollars so our customers can rest assured that the work is done right the first time, every time and their home is protected.

Step 7 – Follow-up inspection  

The homeowner notifies the City Representative when the work is completed and makes arrangements for an inspection. The backwater valve installation is reviewed and photographs of the work are taken. Copies of the plumbing inspection, invoices and proof of payment for the work are provided to the representative.

Note: Francis Plumbing will notify the City Representative for you arranging for the final inspection usually on the same day the work is completed to minimize inconveniences for you the homeowner.

Step 8 – The representative submits information to the City of Ottawa 

The consultant submits copies of all paperwork to the City of Ottawa, including bills, invoices etc. along with confirmation that the work has been performed and that all possible protective plumbing devices have been installed.

Step 9 – Rebates are processed by the City of Ottawa 

The City of Ottawa reviews the information and processes the rebate cheque. A letter is sent to the homeowner to advise them that the rebate cheque will be issued. A rebate cheque is mailed to the homeowner/condominium corporation.

Are there limits on the City’s grant program availability? 

Grant allocations are considered on a first-come, first-served basis depending on the City’s annual budget allocation for the program year. Applicants who do not receive a grant because of insufficient program funds for a given year, will be notified and considered the following year.

What are the criteria considered? 

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

The flooding of a basement or cellar must have been formerly reported to the City prior to the application for a grant, or;

  • Documents or records of other properties that experienced basement or cellar flooding must be on record with the City, and;
  • The basement or cellar flooding resulted from a City sewage backup and;
  • The installation of protective plumbing has the potential to reduce basement or cellar flooding from City sewage backup for that property.

Can I withdraw from the Program?  

The Protective Plumbing Program is a voluntary program and a homeowner can withdraw at any time, however in order to receive a grant the applicant agrees:

*   That all protective plumbing requirements will be determined by the City and evaluated to include all requirements deemed necessary;

*   To undertake all the work defined by the City as necessary in accordance with Building Code and Bylaw requirements;

*   To secure all necessary permits and approvals prior to the performance of the work.

Note: To avoid unnecessary expense, the homeowner should confirm that they are eligible and approved for the program prior to obtaining the requisite building permits.

Why would an application not be considered?  

Protective Plumbing Grants will not be considered in cases where:

*   The installation of protective plumbing is reviewed and determined not to be the most effective means of preventing a sewer-back up in view of other City of Ottawa initiatives such as maintenance, repair, rehabilitation, replacement and new construction, or

*   The applicant is not the registered owner of the land for which the application is made and/or the property taxes are in arrears.

In addition, grants will not be considered in instances where:

*   Properties do not have foundation drainage or building sewers installed in accordance with City Bylaws, or

*   Properties direct non-permitted drainage or storm runoff to the sanitary sewer, partially separated sewer or combined sewer systems, or

*   Properties contravene the Building Code or existing Bylaws which were in effect at the time of the building construction, or

*   The applicant does not secure requisite building permit(s) in advance of the work being undertaken.


Application forms 

If you are interested in this program, it is important to contact the City to discuss your requirements and the circumstances pertaining to your home before undertaking any work. Application forms can be obtained from:

The City’s Web site, electronic Homeowner application form (fillable PDF) and electronic condominium owner authorization form (fillable PDF)

City of Ottawa Client Service Centres

Online Application

The Residential Protective Plumbing Program office

For more information from the City of Ottawa 

For additional information regarding the Residential Protective Plumbing Program, please contact our
Water and Waste Water Information Line at 613-580-2424, ext. 22300 or contact the City at:

For more information from Francis Plumbing & Heating or to book your free in home quote simply call 613-224-0041. Please note that although the quote is free if we have to provide technicial drawings there is a charge to create technical drawings.

Francis Plumbing and Heating ClimateCare takes pride in offering Ottawa home plumbing services including: backflow preventer valve, backwater valve installation, backwater check valve, drain backflow preventer, sewer backwater valve installation – protecting your home sewer system from sewage backup in basement! All work guaranteed, fast, dependable, licensed and insured.

Residential Protective Plumbing Program
Environmental Services
Customer Services Division
City of Ottawa
951 Clyde Avenue
Ottawa, ON K1Z 5A6
Tel: 3-1-1
Fax: 613-728-6928
TTY: 613-580-2401