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Protect your home from basement flooding

Basement flooding protection subsidy program – Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

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No. Only residential buildings (single-family homes, duplexes, multi-family homes) that are connected to the City of Winnipeg’s wastewater sewers are eligible for the subsidy.

No. Only residential buildings are eligible for this subsidy.

All new homes built since 1979 were required to have an in-line backwater valve. However, some older homes may have had an in-line backwater valve installed after construction.

If you are unable to determine if you have an in-line backwater valve, a licensed plumber may be able to help you.

All new homes built since 1990 were required to have a sump pit drainage system. However, some older homes may have had a sump pit drainage system installed after construction.

If you are unable to determine if you have a sump pit drainage system, a licensed plumber may be able to help you.

We recommend that you have both of these devices to protect against basement flooding.

An in-line backwater valve is designed to prevent sewage in an overloaded main sewer line from backing up into your basement.

The sump pit, set into the basement floor, collects water from the weeping tiles around your basement. The pump pushes the water outside your house through the discharge pipe.

If you do not install a sump pit drainage system, weeping tiles connected to the sewer line can't drain when the in-line backwater valve closes, causing water from your weeping tiles to overflow into your basement from the floor drain.

A dedicated electrical circuit is required to reduce the chance of the circuit breaker tripping due to another device being placed on the same circuit and overloading it.

Examples of backflow devices that are installed in basement floor drains. These devices are not eligible for the subsidy.Backflow devices are not eligible for this subsidy program. A backflow device protects only the floor drain in the basement floor. It does not protect any other fixtures that are in the basement.

Yes. However, we recommend that you hire a plumber licensed by the City of Winnipeg because of the complexity of retrofitting this device into an existing home.

If you choose to install the in-line backwater valve yourself:

  • Only the material costs will be eligible for the subsidy. Under this subsidy you can claim only for labour performed by a plumber licensed by the City of Winnipeg.
  • You will still need to take out the necessary permits and have the work inspected by a City inspector.

Yes. However, we recommend that you hire a plumber licensed by the City of Winnipeg or a building contractor experienced in these installations because of the complexity of retrofitting this system into an existing home.

If you choose to install a sump pit drainage system yourself:

  • Only the material costs will be eligible for the subsidy. Under this subsidy you can claim only for labour performed by a plumber licensed by the City of Winnipeg or a building contractor.
  • You will still need to take out the necessary permits and have the work inspected by a City inspector.

Yes. You must ensure that appropriate permit(s) are obtained from the Planning, Property and Development Department, before work begin and arrange for the required inspection of the eligible installation. The person listed on the permit will be responsible for the quality of the work.

If you are claiming eligible labour costs, the contractor must take out the permit(s) and you must write the permit number(s) on your application form.

Contact the City of Winnipeg Permits Office at 204-986-5140 for more information.

The minimum cost of:

  • a plumbing permit would be $114.00
  • an electrical permit would be $114.00
  • a building permit would be $114.00
  • You apply after the final inspection is completed by the City inspector and the final payment has been made to the contractor (if applicable).
  • We recommend that you don’t make final payment to your contractor until the final inspection is completed.

No. We require all of the supporting documents to determine if you are eligible for the subsidy. You can mail or drop off your completed application form and documents to:

Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program
City of Winnipeg, Water and Waste Department
110 - 1199 Pacific Avenue
Winnipeg, MB   R3E 3S8
Monday to Friday (except holidays) from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

You have one year from the date of the final inspection.

Eligible costs are:

  • labour done by a contractor for the eligible installations,
  • materials required for the eligible installations,
  • equipment rental costs for eligible installations, and
  • permit fees and taxes for the eligible installations.

Ineligible costs are:

  • labour by the homeowner,
  • maintenance or replacement of an existing installation (e.g., replacing a non-functioning sump pump),
  • associated interior restorations or improvements (e.g., drywall, paint, cosmetic flooring),
  • associated exterior restorations or improvements (e.g., landscaping, gardening, sod, trees, porches, decks, concrete, asphalt), and
  • installation of a backflow device in a floor drain that is not an eligible in-line backwater valve as defined in the Basement Flood Protection Subsidy Program By-law.

No. The subsidy is not available to any homes that were required by the Building Code to have a backwater valve and/or sump pit drainage system installed at the time of construction, namely:

  • homes built since 1979, which were required to have backwater valves, and
  • homes built since 1990, which were required to have sump pits with pumps.

Every installation is different, so we recommend that you contact a plumbing contractor licensed by the City of Winnipeg for an estimate.

Every installation is different, so we recommend that you contact a plumbing contractor licensed by the City of Winnipeg or a building contractor experienced in these installations for an estimate.

We recommend that all properties have an in-line backwater valve and sump pit drainage system. No matter where you live in Winnipeg, your home is at risk of basement flooding. Heavy rainstorms that fall over short periods of time can overwhelm City sewer systems. Overloaded sewers can back up through house sewer lines and flow into basements that aren't protected. Even if you have never had any basement flooding before, severe weather (e.g., heavy rain, high river levels) can cause basement flooding in unprotected homes.

Ask your plumber for their licence number. If you are unsure, please contact City of Winnipeg Planning, Property and Development Department by phone at 204-986-5140 or by email. A permit will not be issued to an unlicensed plumber.

Ask your electrician for their licence number. If you are unsure, please contact City of Winnipeg Planning, Property and Development Department by phone at 204-986-5140 or by email. A permit will not be issued to an unlicensed electrician.

No. If you are hiring a building contractor to install your sump pit drainage system, we recommend that you:

  • get at least three estimates (ask friends and neighbours for referrals),
  • ask for and check contractor references, and
  • call the Better Business Bureau Icon indicating a link that will open up a new browser window and take you to a Web site outside of the City of Winnipeg's Web site. Close the new window to return to this page. for a reliability report on contractors.

We cannot process any applications without all of the bills or invoices.

Ask your contractor to give you a copy of the permit(s). You will need to write the permit number(s) on your application form. If you still have concerns, please contact Planning, Property and Development by phone at 204-986-5140 or by email.

Check out the sump pump discharge information on our website.

Sewer and water contractors are licensed:

  • by the City of Winnipeg Water and Waste Department,
  • to perform work on City water and sewer mains and private water and sewer pipes that connect a building to the City's water and sewer mains.

Plumbers are licensed:

  • by the City of Winnipeg Planning, Property and Development Department,
  • to perform work on the pipes and plumbing fixtures inside a building.

We will check our billing systems for your current financial status (e.g., property taxes, water utility bill).

We will hold on to the applications in the order we receive them and process them in the next year that funding for the program is approved by Council.




For more information

  • See the Basement Flood Protection Subsidy Program By-law
  • Contact 311
  • Email us. Include your contact information (e.g., telephone number, address) in the body of your message. You can expect a reply from us within two business days.
  • Sump pits and pumps Icon indicating a pdf file which will open up a new browser window. (pdf - 401kb)
    - Summary of the subsurface drainage section of building by-law 4555/87.
  • Sump pit requirements Icon indicating a pdf file which will open up a new browser window. (pdf - 733kb) Selecting this link will open the french version of this pdf file in a new browser window. Close the new window to return to this page. Icon indicating a pdf file which will open up a new browser window. (pdf - 435kb)
    - Guidelines for the installation of sump pits and pumps in an existing single-family dwelling.
  • Plumbing installations Icon indicating a pdf file which will open up a new browser window. (pdf - 1,208kb) Selecting this link will open the french version of this pdf file in a new browser window. Close the new window to return to this page. Icon indicating a pdf file which will open up a new browser window. (pdf - 1,503kb)
    - A homeowners guide that includes backwater valve information on page 12.

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Last updated: April 27, 2012

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