Water & Sewer

Protective Plumbing Program

During heavy rain storms, the sewer system can reach capacity and become overloaded. This increases the risk of basement flooding caused by sewer surcharge. The Protective Plumbing Program is part of the City’s strategy to help residential property owners mitigate basement flooding.

The City of Hamilton offers property owners of single-family residential homes a grant (subsidy) of up to $2000 for the installation of a backwater valve and other eligible works that help to reduce the risk of basement flooding.

Eligible work includes:

  • Installation of a backwater valve (including assessment)
  • Disconnection of downspouts
  • Installation of a sump pump in conjunction with the installation of a backwater valve

For property owners to be eligible for the maximum grant amount, they will be required to select a contractor from the list of the City’s pre-qualified contractors. Property owners who choose a contractor outside of the list will only be eligible for a maximum of $500 for the installation of a backwater valve.

Basement flooding as a result of a sewer backup could occur if the sewer system becomes overwhelmed with stormwater during a heavy rain storm. By installing a backwater valve, property owners can effectively reduce the risk of basement flooding due to storm related sewer backups. 

Backwater valves are designed to only allow wastewater to flow in one direction, from your home to the city sewer. In the event of a sewer backup, the backwater valve flap closes, preventing anything from flowing in or out of your sewer until the sewer backup subsides and the flap reopens.

When a backwater valve is working during a sewer backup, wastewater is prevented from backing up into your basement. This also means that wastewater from your home cannot leave through the sewer while the valve is closed.

Below is an illustration of how a backwater valve functions normally versus during a sewer backup.

Diagram of Backwater valve
Illustration of backwater valve operation

Image of installed backwater valve installed
Image of backwater valve installation

If your sewer is located more than 2 feet below the floor of the basement an Adapt-a-Valve will need to be installed. It functions like the standard backwater valve, but is made for homes where access to the sewer pipe is at a greater depth. The valve has a long access pipe which allows you to easily access the valve to clean and maintain it.

Types of backwater valves covered by the Protective Plumbing Program:

Mainline Fullport – The Mainline Fullport backwater valve is the standard backwater valve as shown in the pictures above. This valve is typically installed in basements where the sewer is less than 2 feet in depth and is located in an area that is accessible for servicing.

Adapt-a-Valve – The Adapt-a-Valve backwater valve was designed for homes where access to the sewer pipe is greater than 2 feet. It functions the same as the standard Mainline Fullport backwater valve but has a long access pipe which allows for easy access for cleaning and maintenance.

Adaptavalve backwater valve
Image of the Adapt-a-Valve backwater valve 

Backwater Valve Maintenance

Backwater valves require regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure that the valve continues to function properly. You should check your backwater valve every 2 -3 months or before a heavy rain storm.

How to clean your backwater valve:

  • Wear protective gloves and eye protection.
  • Open the cap on the backwater valve and check for any debris. 
  • Flush the valve with a bucket of water or a garden hose to remove the debris.
  • If deposits of grease or other debris remain, scrubbing may be required.
  • When completed, ensure that the cap is placed back on the backwater valve and that it is tightly secured.

Downspout Disconnection 

During heavy rain storms, sewer systems are at risk of reaching capacity and becoming overwhelmed, which poses a risk to flooding basements and overflows into the environment with untreated stormwater and wastewater. Disconnecting downspouts that are connected to the sewer system and land applying rain water reduces the amount of stormwater in the sewer system which decreases the chance of an overflow event and basement flooding. Whenever possible downspouts should be disconnected from the City sewer system when installing a backwater valve.

A downspout disconnection is the process by which your downspout is cut approximately 9 inches above the standpipe and then the standpipe is then capped. An elbow and downspout extension of at least 48 inches in length is installed to redirect the discharge water to ensure that it does not create standing water, erosion, or other damage on the property or an adjoining property.

If downspout disconnections are completed by one of the pre-qualified contractors, either in conjunction with the installation of a backwater valve or not, the property owner will be eligible for a reimbursement of $75 per downspout. The grant maximum is $2000 for any of the combined eligible works under the Program.

Downspout disconnection

The installation of a sump pump may be beneficial in preventing basement flooding as the sump pump will transfer water from the basement to the ground surface outside the home. Where a new sump pump and pit along with a backwater valve is installed a total grant amount of $2,000 will be made available to property owners. This does not refer to, or include, the replacement of existing sump pumps or pits.

Please note, the City offers a Residential Protective Plumbing Loan Program up to a maximum of $2000 to assist with eligible costs, including the installation of a sump pump in conjunction with the installation of a backwater valve, that exceed the Protective Plumbing Program grant.

Pre-qualified contractors

In order to ensure that the Program work is being delivered by contractors who are qualified and offer value for service, the City has compiled a list of 5 contractors that have been pre-qualified.

Contractor Assessment and Mainline BWV installation Assessment and Adapt-a-Valve BWV installation * Building Permit (required for BWV installation Downspout Disconnection (cost per downspout)
Stokoe Plumbing Inc.
Phone 905-961-6180
Email [email protected]
$1228 + HST $1228 + HST $259 $75 + HST per
Hamilton Sewer and Water Services Inc.
Phone 1-877-33-SEWER
Email [email protected]
$1319.97 + HST $1319.97 + HST $259 $75 + HST per
Orella Group Inc.
Phone 905-331-9090
Email [email protected]
$1420 + HST $1820 + HST $259 $75 + HST per
Rooter Guys Inc.
Phone 905-549-0200
Email [email protected]
$1476.01 + HST $1476 + HST $259 $75 + HST per
The Plugged Piper Drain Service Inc.
Phone 905-308-9346
Email [email protected]
$1508 + HST $2420 + HST $259 $75 + HST per
* requires City pre-approval for the Adapt-a-Valve

Please note, there is no contract between a contractor and the City of Hamilton for the work under the Protective Plumbing Program. Any agreements made between contractor and property owner for work under the Program are made under a private contract. Concern or disputes shall be immediately brought to the attention of the contractor for resolution.

Property owners who choose a contractor outside of the list will only be eligible for a maximum of $500 for the installation of a backwater valve. If you already have a contractor or wish to do the work yourself please download the assessment form (PDF, 161 KB) or contact our Customer Service Representatives at 905-546-2489 (CITY) for more information.

If your total eligible works exceed the total grant amount of $2000, please note that the City offers a Residential Protective Plumbing Loan Program up to a maximum of $2000 to assist with eligible costs. Note, the grant is paid to the property owner who is responsible for paying the contractor for the completed work.

Do you qualify for the Protective Plumbing Program?

To participate in the Program all of the below statements need to be true:

  • You own a single family residential home.
  • Your home has a basement.
  • Your home is connected to the City of Hamilton sewer system.
  • Your property taxes are up to date.
  • Your home was built before January 1, 2012.
  • If you have received a grant for a backwater valve in the past and any of the $2,000 grant money remains for this property, it can still be used toward disconnecting your downspouts.

To take part in the Program

  1. Call 905-546-2489 (CITY) and speak to a Customer Service Representative to review your eligibility and to obtain a confirmation number. Confirmation numbers are valid for 6 months.
  2. Download the Protective Plumbing Program assessment form (PDF, 60 KB) or request a copy of the form to be mailed to you from our Customer Service Representative at 905-546-2489 (CITY).
  3. Choose your contractor from the pre-qualified contractors list as shown above.
  4. Schedule a time to have your contractor perform the assessment and review their recommendations with you.
  5. If you’re comfortable with the contractor and their recommendations, you can advise them to begin the work. If you’re not comfortable with the contractor or their recommendations, you are not obligated to proceed with them.   
  6. The contractor will submit the information required to Building Services to obtain the necessary permit before beginning the work.
  7. Contractor completes the work.
  8. The Building Inspector inspects the contractors work.

Once completed please submit the completed information package to:
Protective Plumbing Program
City of Hamilton
330 Wentworth Street North
Hamilton, ON L8L 5W2