Water & Sewer

Protective Plumbing Program

The Protective Plumbing Program was implemented in 2009 as part of the City’s strategy to deal with basement flooding. The Program is designed to provide guidance and financial assistance to homeowners who want to proactively protect their home from sewer backups caused by heavy storms. Installing a backwater valve is one of the best ways for homeowners to protect their basement against storm related sewer backups. 

Under the Program eligible homeowners can have an assessment done to determine if this solution is appropriate for their home, have the backwater valve installed and any downspouts disconnected. If done by one of the City’s pre-qualified contractors the cost is covered by the program grant which is funded through the City’s water rates.

A backwater valve is a mechanical device that only allows 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. A sewer backup could occur if the wastewater system becomes overwhelmed with stormwater during a heavy rain storm. Below is an illustration of how a backwater valve functions normally versus during a sewer backup.

Diagram of Backwater valveIllustration of backwater valve operation

Image of installed backwater valve installedImage 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.

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.

Hamilton Sewer and Water Services Inc.
[email protected]
Approved Amount: $1,296 + HST

Rooter Guys Inc.
[email protected]
Approved Amount: $1,342 + HST

Dave Stokoe Plumbing
[email protected]
Approved Amount: $1,369 + HST

The Plugged Piper Drain Service
[email protected]
Approved Amount: $1,432 + HST

Tomel Mechanical Contractors Ltd.
[email protected]
Approved Amount: $1,433 + HST

Property owners who do not use contractors from the pre-qualified contractors list for Program work will only be eligible for $500 for the installation of a backwater valve. The property owner shall be responsible for all costs incurred that are not eligible for reimbursement through the program. A loan is available if residents have costs that exceed the grant amount.

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.
  • You have NOT received a grant for a backwater valve in the past.
  • Your property taxes are up to date.
  • Your home was built before January 1, 2012.

To take part in the Program

  1. Call 905-546-2489 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 Program Assessment Form (PDF, 60 KB) or request a copy of the forms to be mailed to you from our Customer Service Representative at 905-546-2489.
  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 the Building Department 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

  • The City has pre-qualified 5 contractors to perform Program work. This means that they are properly licensed to do the work and they have agreed to do the work at a set price. This does not mean that they are “City” contractors. They are ultimately hired by you and are working for you.
  • Before agreeing to any work with a contractor you should check their references, meet with the contractor and ask questions so that you feel comfortable before hiring them to complete any work.
  • The grant is paid to the homeowner who is responsible for paying the contractor for the completed work.
  • Backwater valves help prevent flooding from sewer backups and do not protect your home from overland flooding or foundation leaks.
  • Backwater valves require regular cleaning and maintenance.
  • If you already have a contractor or wish to do the work yourself please download the Assessment form (PDF, 60 KB) or contact our Customer Service Representatives at 905-546-2489 for more information.
  • Check with your Home Insurance Company as some companies offer discounts when you have a backwater valve installed.
  • 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. This includes wastewater from your toilet, shower, sink, washing machine, dishwasher, etc.
  • Backwater valves normally only operate during major rain events. During these times avoid or limit your water usage until the storm subsides.
  • In some cases downspouts may be connected to your sewer system. Whenever possible they should be disconnected when installing a backwater valve.