Sewage Water Alleviation Program (SWAP)

Welland offers residents a sewage water alleviation program (SWAP), providing funding to install devices that protect against basement flooding.

A funding allocation to a maximum of $6,000 is available to assist homeowners with the improvements. The work is between the homeowner and their contractor, with the homeowner responsible for the ongoing operation and maintenance of the devices.

Every homeowner seeking funding must understand the extent and requirements of the program thoroughly, including the condition to sign a statement releasing the City from all claims resulting from works carried out under this grant program.

Please note that existing foundation drains/weeping tiles and sewer laterals that are plugged or blocked may contribute to basement flooding, unrelated to sewage backup. If plugged drains/tiles or sewer laterals are discovered upon excavation for disconnection, or at any time, the homeowner will decide if repairs or new pipes are necessary and be responsible for the cost of the related work.

The works listed below and those considered at the discretion of infrastructure and development services are eligible for submission of a grant request:

  1. Installation of a suitably sized, normally open, backwater valve (with clear cover, if available) inside the residence to prevent sewage flows from backing up into a basement. The backwater valve by Mainline Backflow Products Inc. is currently one of the only backwater valves that comply with Article of the Building Code and are approved for installation in a mainline sewer or building drain. The company is based in Edmonton and can be reached online at or toll-free at 1-877-734-8691. The product is distributed locally by most plumbing supply companies.
  2. Installation of a sump basin complete with sump pump* and discharge piping* must be installed per Article
    • The discharge pipe from every pumped storm sewage sump will be equipped with:
      1. a union and a check valve installed in that sequence in the direction of discharge and pumped to above grade level, or
      2. a union, a check valve, and a shut-off valve installed in that sequence in the direction of discharge.
  3. The electrical connections* (including electrical permit and inspections, if necessary) and battery backup power* (*materials must be CSA approved). Please note a battery charger is not required under this program, and if a homeowner chooses to install one, the homeowner is fully responsible for ensuring correct installation and suitability for interior use. Certain battery chargers have been reported to emit carbon monoxide fumes.
    Sump pump discharge must be in accordance with Article
    • Where gravity drainage is not practical, a covered sump with an automatic pump will be installed to discharge the water into a sewer, drainage ditch, or dry well.
    • Covers for sump pits will be:
      1. designed to resist removal by children, and
      2. sealed in accordance with Sentence (16).
    • Sump pit covers will be sealed to maintain the continuity of the air barrier system.
  4. Disconnection of pipe connections from the foundation drain/weeping tile to the sanitary drainage system, which aggravates basement flooding (program prerequisite).
  5. Disconnection of downspouts to prevent direct or indirect discharge to the sanitary sewer, if so connected (program prerequisite).
  6. Sewer lateral/weeping tile connection tracing by camera or other means.
  7. Installation of a clean-out, if required (one should be present in each household).
  8. Associated excavation, saw cutting, backfilling, and basement concrete floor reinstatement are necessary for installing the program elements. The program may also include other reasonable associated restoration costs such as interior finishes (drywall, paint, and finish flooring) and exterior repairs (landscaping, flowerbeds, seeding, sodding, trees, porches, decks, driveways, sidewalks, concrete, or asphalt reinstatement).

City sketch X-08 and Mainline drawings 1 to 5 show a typical sump pump and backwater valve installation.

The maximum funding allocation of up to $6,000 is to assist homeowners with installing backwater valves and specified other equipment and work required for a proper installation. This would also include a sump pump with battery backup, and disconnection of the foundation drains from the sanitary drainage system. The upset value of $6,000 was based on contact with local contractors and homeowners who have already done the work.

  1. Contact infrastructure and development services to discuss the program with the SWAP project coordinator. They will review your situation and advise if you are eligible for the SWAP program.
  2. If it is determined that you are eligible, the application form must be completed and submitted. The project coordinator will arrange a time to view your property for a pre-work site inspection, if necessary.
  3. At the pre-work site inspection, City representatives will review the general installation and advise what work is eligible for funding under the program. There may be a video inspection provided by the City. This information is indicated on the application form, and a copy is left in your possession. The form will list the eligible works for the contractor’s use to help itemize costs.
  4. You will need to obtain written quotations from two contractors you are prepared to hire. It is your responsibility to find a suitable contractor. Only works identified in the pre-work inspection are eligible; the contractor must not quote on restoration items not covered in the program. Two quotes from two different contractors must be submitted to the project coordinator for review.
  5. The coordinator will then discuss available options with you. If you intend on working with a contractor to reduce costs, the contractor must price the complete job as if you are employed by them. The program only provides funds based on the lowest quotation submitted. If you prefer the contractor with the higher quotation, you are required to fund the difference.
  6. Once you and the project coordinator establish the most acceptable approach and costs, permission is given to proceed, but only after the appropriate plumbing permit has been issued.
  7. The municipality will not supervise or be responsible for the work other than to inspect the plumbing and related works to ensure that they are installed in accordance with the Building Code. You will oversee the work and are responsible for its satisfactory completion. The project coordinator and building/plumbing inspectors are available for consultation on technical concerns.
  8. Required inspections include pre-work, backwater valve, weeping tile disconnection, sump pump connection, and final. It is the responsibility of you or your contractor to schedule the inspections with the City in advance of the intention to backfill or cover.
  9. Once all of the program work is finished, and you are content that your contractor has completed everything to your satisfaction, you must submit the completed application form along with all other relevant documentation (original quotations, bills, and invoices) to the project coordinator. Please note that you must sign the release portion of the application form before your grant will be processed, so be sure you read it carefully in advance of proceeding with the program.
  10. This information is reviewed to ensure that only costs associated with the eligible works are funded. A grant will then be issued to you in the form of payment for all costs deemed eligible to a maximum of $6,000 per home. The goal is to evaluate these forms and issue cheques promptly. You will then pay the contractor.
  11. If the work cost exceeds the maximum allotted funding of $6,000, you are responsible for funding the excess amount.

Backwater valve maintenance and inspection: You are responsible for preventative maintenance, including regular inspection to ensure proper operation and maintenance for the backwater valve and sump pump. Please refer to manufacturers' recommendations. Regular inspection of the mainline valve is facilitated with a clear cover.

A grant will not exceed $6,000 per residence. A grant is only awarded for the amount outlined on the application form and the documentation, such as bills for the contractor’s work, labour, and materials used. Two contractor quotations form the basis of evaluation even if the work is carried out by the homeowner.

Both the disconnection of foundation drains with sump discharge to the surface (if required), and the installation of backwater valves must be completed before the grant is released. The application does not necessarily have to cover both works since one or the other items may have been previously installed or may not be required.

Downspouts must also be disconnected from below-ground discharge as appropriate to the individual situation.

The work provides a degree of protection to the homeowner; however, there are no guarantees that basement flooding will never occur.

Homeowners should refrain from using water and plumbing fixtures during severe rainstorms since these flows may not be able to enter the sanitary sewer and may back up in the basement through floor drains, showers, and other low-elevation openings. The Mainline fullport backwater valve is available with a clear cover which may be used to inspect sewer drain performance during such rainstorms.

  • preliminary contact with the project coordinator
  • application submitted
  • pre-work inspection with the City
  • review application/inspection report
  • search out prospective contractors
  • obtain and submit two quotations on eligible works
  • select approach and agree on the cost
  • receive permission to proceed under the program
  • discuss and agree on work with a contractor
  • obtain plumbing permit
  • begin work
  • schedule inspections with the City
  • work completed
  • submit documentation for grant processing
  • grant awarded to the homeowner
  • payment to the contractor by the homeowner
  • maintain equipment (responsibility of the homeowner)

Work completed before the program

In some cases, the homeowners may have completed the installation of a Mainline fullport backwater valve before the finalization of this program. While it is not the intention of the City to disqualify such homeowners from the program, documentation must be supplied by the homeowner and sufficient inspections performed to satisfy the City. The required work has been completed satisfactorily, and reasonable costs were incurred.

Homeowners are asked to complete an application form, and the process proceeds as closely as possible in accordance with procedures established for work that has not already been completed. If a required sump pump has not been installed or if the weeping tile has not been disconnected from the sanitary drainage piping, such work must be done and inspected to qualify for any funding under the program.

NOTE: The list below includes contractors interested in the program. The City of Welland does not recommend any one contractor over another, nor does the City guarantee the work of any contractor listed. Homeowners may use the contractor of their choice.

  • Bernier Excavating and Haulage (Reg)
  • 108 Commercial Street, Welland, ON
  • 905-735-1205
  • Foundation Waterproofing (Moe)
  • 566 Webber Road, Welland, ON
  • 905-892-2953
  • Fralick Construction (Chuck)
  • 364 Chantler Road, R. R. #5, Welland, ON
  • 905-734-4697
  • Go Green Plumbing (Jordan)
  • Unit #44, 8 Lakelawn Road, Grimsby, ON
  • 289-244-9843
  • Ideal Plumbing & Heating (Mark)
  • 8 Clairmont Street, Unit 8, Thorold, ON
  • 905-680-1851
  • Pro-Seal Waterproofing (Trevor)
  • 749 Foss Road, Fenwick, ON
  • 905-380-7122
  • RAM Construction (Paul)
  • 263 Harriet Street, Welland, ON
  • 905-658-3201
  • Thos. R. Birnie & Sons Ltd. (James)
  • 390 Lake Avenue N, Hamilton, ON
  • 905-578-4659
  • Wet and Humid No More (Eric)
  • 8390 Willoughby Drive, Niagara Falls, ON
  • 905-329-8766
  • City Wide Group Inc. (Casey)
  • 68 Dexter Drive, Welland, ON
  • 905-735-7738
  • Marlee Niagara Contractors (Andrew)
  • 14 Springhead Gardens, Welland, ON
  • 905-734-6955
  • Niagara Foundations and Sewers
  • 14 Pine Street, Welland, ON
  • 905-658-3201
  • RL Xcavators (Rick)
  • 50882 O'Reilly's Rd. South, Wainfleet, ON
  • 905-321-5513