Who should I contact in the City if I have any comments or questions concerning the proposed bylaw?
For technical questions regarding your facility survey, or Building Code concerns, contact:

Building Department
Phone: 519-759-4150
Fax: 519-752-1874

For questions/comments regarding compliance with the by-law, please contact

Compliance Department
Phone: 519-759-4222 Ext 5127
Fax: 519-752-6021

Or mail comments / inquiries to

City Hall
100 Wellington Square
P.O. Box 818
Brantford, Ontario N3T 5R7

ATTN: Selvi Kongara, P.Eng., Water & Wastewater Engineer.
What happens when a businesses is unable to comply with the bylaw in the timeframe given for whatever reason?
The General Manager may authorize that the timeframe for compliance be extended and the owner may be required to enter into a compliance program through a separate agreement.
Why are residential properties not required to be in compliance with this bylaw if such a risk of backflow exists?
As residential properties of 3 storeys or less are considered to be of the lowest risk for contamination of the municipal water supply, they are not being incorporated into the bylaw at this time.
Can I simply choose to install an RP device and avoid the requirement to submit a survey?
Yes. If you plan to install an RP, the requirement to perform a survey will be waived. Please notify the city of your decision by the applicable survey deadline. NOTE: Please be informed that this device will cause a drop in your usual water pressure by approximately 10 psi. In addition, RP devices may not be installed in a pit and require adequate drainage capacity. In order to make an informed decision about bypassing the requirement to perform a survey of your facility by automatically choosing to install an RP device, it is strongly recommended that you consult with a plumbing contractor or engineer with a tester’s license
Isn’t backflow protection required under the Ontario Building Code?
Yes. The Ontario Building Code (OBC) does require backflow protection to be in place wherever a potential cross-connection has been identified on a property. However, the OBC does not give authority to plumbing inspectors to re-enter a building for the purposes of inspecting their backflow prevention devices to ensure they are being tested annually. It also does not give them the authority to inspect existing buildings to ensure that adequate backflow protection is in place. The Backflow Prevention Bylaw will give the Inspectors this authority.
What is backflow?
A potable (drinking) water supply can become contaminated. It can happen by accident, through a hazardous connection to the piping system known as a cross connection. Water supply professionals, plumbing contractors, health agencies, and many laypersons know of such hazards - but many do not. Under certain conditions, the flow of water in a supply line can be reversed, and if this happens when connected to something containing non-potable water or chemical, contaminants can flow backwards into the drinking water supply line, usually unbeknownst to the user. Water can flow backwards, otherwise known as “BACKFLOW”, when the following conditions arise: 1. Water pressure on the supply side (street) drops, usually as a result of watermain repairs, a watermain break, or the use of hydrant water for fire fighting. Low water pressure can cause suction on the potable supply side, and without adequate protection, can actually siphon or pull contaminants back with it, otherwise known as “BACKSIPHONNAGE”. An example of this would be if a hose were sitting in a mop bucket during a main break, dirty water could be siphoned back into the potable water supply. 2. High pressure on the “non-potable” side could also force contaminants into the supply line if the pressure were greater than city water pressure, also known as “BACKPRESSURE”. An example of this would be if a pressure washer were connected to a water supply without an approved backflow prevention device installed, detergent laden water could be forced back into the potable water supply.
I already have an RP backflow prevention device installed, which gives the maximum protection. Due I still need to have a survey performed?
No. Since the device you have installed currently provides the highest level of protection, you can forgo the requirement to submit a survey. NOTE: You must submit a test report to prove that your RP device is in proper working condition after installation and annually there after.
We have our own in-house maintenance staff. Can they perform any of the functions required under this bylaw?
Yes. As long as your maintenance staff person has tester certification, they can test and repair your backflow prevention device as required under the bylaw. If they are an engineer or plumber by trade, they can also perform the survey.
Where can I find a copy of the bylaw, including forms for submission of surveys, test reports or tester certification?
The bylaw can be found on the City’s website and hard copies of the bylaw can be found at City Hall’s Environmental Services and Building Departments. Forms can be found in the Appendices of the draft bylaw.[ CLICK HERE ]
Will this bylaw require me to install backflow prevention devices anywhere a cross-connection is identified on my property or within my facility?
No. This bylaw stipulates that the property or building being serviced with a water connection be isolated from the municipal supply line with the appropriate backflow prevention device where the water line enters, ie. within 3 feet of the water meter.
What steps will be involved in order to comply with the bylaw?
The following 5 steps: 1. In order to determine the degree of hazard posed by a given facility, a qualified plumbing contractor, engineering consultant or in-house professional engineer in a related field must perform an initial cross-connection inspection or survey. This inspection is required to determine what level of protection is required to isolate the premises, (premises being at the location where a municipal water supply first enters the property or building, i.e. near water meter), in the form of a backflow prevention device. 2. Where the highest level of protection is already in place at the premises or if the owner chooses to install a Reduced Pressure Principle Assembly, (RP), backflow prevention device to isolate the premises, a cross-connection survey is not required. 3. Once surveys are completed, property owners will be required to install the appropriate backflow prevention device(s) to isolate the premises, as recommended by the results of the survey. A building permit would be required for this installation. 4. Once backflow prevention devices are installed and tested, they must continue to be tested on an annual basis to ensure compliance with the bylaw and test reports must be submitted to the Building Department. 5. Follow-up cross-connection surveys will be performed once every 5 years, unless the highest level of protection is already in place to isolate premises, or no process or operational changes were made.
Why is it necessary to have a Backflow Prevention Bylaw in place?
This bylaw is necessary to protect the potable water supply from incidences of cross-contamination due to backflow. The following example of a recent local occurrence illustrates the necessity of having a bylaw in place. On Monday, March 7th, 2005, the City of Stratford experienced an incidence of backflow from a local car wash that contaminated the City’s water supply. This required an Emergency Water Advisory to be issued by their Medical Officer of Health in which the residents were advised not to drink tap water. In addition, residents were advised not to use the water to bath, wash their hands or give to their pets. This car wash did have a backflow prevention device, however they had installed a bypass, which was connected to a booster pump. The water emergency lasted a total of 56 hours. City of Stratford staff has indicated that this water emergency cost the City approximately $100,000 in staff overtime alone. The car wash responsible for the incidence was fined $75,000 by the Ministry of the Environment in 2006. The overall cost surrounding this incident is not yet available as resolution of claims may take a significant period of time.
Who does this bylaw apply to?
This bylaw is applicable only to industrial, commercial and institutional property owners as well as owners of multi-residential high-rise buildings with 4 or more stories.
What happens when a businesses is unable to comply with the bylaw in the timeframe given for whatever reason?
The General Manager may authorize that the timeframe for compliance be extended and the owner may be required to enter into a compliance program through a separate agreement.