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Inflow & Infiltration

The City's wastewater treatment plant is being overloaded and it’s costing you money! Tax payers are paying a lot of extra money to treat already clean water.

Inflow is the flow of storm water into the sanitary sewer system from sources such as downspouts and illegal sump pump connections. Infiltration is the gradual downward flow of water from the ground surface into the soil and into the wastewater collection system.

Best Management Practices

Disconnect to protect: Help keep clean water out of the sanitary sewer and reduce the treatment costs! Ensure your sump pump and downspout water is directed to your lawn, garden or rain barrel. Ensuring these connections are directed to the right place helps protect the environment. Rebates may be available.

Water less: Most lawns only need to be watered once a week. Overwatering wastes water and can lead to flooding and weakened grass roots. Visit Water Conservaton for more maintenance tips.

Build a slope around your house: Ensure the grading around your home diverts water away from the foundation of your house where it may otherwise cause damage and get into your basement.

Create a rain garden: Rain gardens are a beautiful way to use excess rainwater that would otherwise cause flooding, and are very easy to maintain.

Rebate Program: Sanitary Sewer Inflow Reduction Rebate

Current Program Status: ACTIVE
Rebates Available (check here for updates prior to applying)

The Sanitary Sewer Inflow Reduction Rebate (SSIRR) program provides rebates to qualifying Barrie residents for disconnecting illegal downspout and sump pump/foundation drain connections to the sanitary sewer system:

  • Up to $70 to disconnect downspouts (downspouts directed onto driveways do not qualify and are discouraged).
  • 75% of the costs to permanently redirect an existing sump pump discharge away from discharging to a laundry tub or floor drain to a surface discharge (to your lawn or rain garden) to a maximum of $200. 
  • 75% of the cost to disconnect your foundation drain from your sanitary lateral and construct a new sump and pump with surface discharge (to your lawn or rain garden) to a maximum of $2000. A Building Permit will be required for this work.
  • 75% of the cost of capping an existing sanitary drain and installing a sump pump with surface discharge (to your lawn or rain garden) to a maximum of $300. If a sump pit is required, the maximum rebate increases to $675. A Building Permit will be required for this work.

If you need a Building Permit to do your project, permit costs will be included in the rebate (applicable to plumbing related and building permit costs only).

Rebate Process
Downspout Disconnection View process

Current Program Status: Active
Rebates Available (Check here for updates prior to applying)

  1. Review the Downspout Disconnection Information Sheet and ensure that disconnection is the correct option. If you are unsure, seek professional advice from an experienced contractor, foundation specialist, plumber or civil engineer
  2. Download and review the Rebate Application Form or pick up a form at City Hall, 6th Floor reception.  
  3. Call the City of Barrie to arrange for a staff member to visit your home and ensure you are eligible for the program: 705-739-4220, ext. 4463. Rebate application forms will not be accepted until the City has verified your eligibility. Rebates will not be given in instances where the work was done prior to an eligibility review by the City.

    Please note: The City cannot provide professional advice to homeowners on how to complete the work, but they can provide general information on typical project goals and review hazards to avoid, such as directing flows too close to your home, your neighbours or over driveways/ sidewalks/roads.
  4. If disconnecting your downspout is a viable option and the City has determined you are eligible through a site visit; complete the work.  A helpful resource: Guide to Disconnecting Downspouts
  5. Complete the Rebate Application Form (Parts A and B), including “before” and “after” photos and original materials receipts (if completed yourself) or an itemized invoice that is clearly stamped “paid in full” from your contractor.

    Bring the documentation to City Hall (6th floor) with government-issued photo ID and a water bill or municipal tax bill. Retain copies of receipts and invoices for your personal records. City Staff will verify your application and process it for payment. A copy of the approved application, along with a rebate cheque, will be mailed to property owner at the municipal address indicated on the application.
Foundation Drain/Sump Pump Modification (Disconnection) View process

Note: This rebate may only be claimed by the property’s registered owner(s)

  1. Carefully review the Sump Pump Information Sheet and ensure you have a suitable location for your sump pump discharge. If you are unsure, seek professional advice from an experienced plumber or civil engineer.  
  2. Call the City of Barrie to arrange for a staff member to visit your home and ensure you are eligible for the program: 705-739-4220, ext. 4463. Rebate application forms will not be accepted until a site visit to verify eligibility has been completed. Rebates will not be given in instances where the work was done prior to an eligibility review by the City. 

    Please note: The City cannot provide professional advice to homeowners on how to complete the work, but they can provide general information on typical project goals and review hazards to avoid, such  as directing flows too close to your home, your neighbour’s or over driveways/sidewalks/roads. 
  3. Download the Rebate Application Form. Forms can also be picked up at City Hall, 6th Floor reception.  
  4. Download a Building Permit Application Form via www.barrie.ca/BuildingPermits. Building Permit Application Forms can also be picked up at Building Services, City Hall, 8th Floor reception.  
  5. Complete Part A of the Rebate Application Form and the Building Permit Application Form and submit it to City Hall, 6th Floor. The applicant must show government issued photo ID and a copy of their municipal tax bill.
     
    Staff will review your application for completeness and inform you of any deficiencies requiring correction. Some homeowners may prefer to hire a contractor or licensed plumber to complete the work (at the homeowner’s cost). It is generally recommended that if you intend on having a professional complete the work; that professional should apply for the Building Permit.
     
    If a contractor or licensed plumber is completing the work, please note that a minimum of three quotations are required to be eligible for the rebate and all three must be submitted with Part B of your application. The homeowner may choose any of the three contractors, but the City will base the grant on the lowest quotation received. 
  6. Once Building Services issues your Building Permit, you (or your contractor) may complete your work.  
     
    Once work is complete and Building Services completes a final inspection and closes your Building Permit, submit Part B of the Rebate Application Form to City Hall, 6th Floor. Include a copy of your final inspection certificate, original materials receipts (if completed yourself) or an itemized invoice that is clearly stamped “paid in full” from your contractor.
     
    Staff will verify your application and process it for payment. A copy of the approved application, along with a rebate cheque will be mailed to the property owner at the municipal address indicated on the application.
Please read the fine print.

This program is only open to residents located within the City of Barrie municipal boundary. This program will be offered at the current amounts until the existing funding allocation is depleted. This program is on a first come, first served basis for qualifying property owners. Program and funding renewal will be at the discretion of City Council.  Homeowners are eligible for both a downspout disconnection and sump pump/foundation drain rebate per address (rebate dependent on type of work completed).  Rebates only apply to downspouts and sump pump/foundation drain discharges redirected to pervious areas such as lawns, gardens and rain gardens.  It is the homeowner’s responsibility to ensure that downspout flows are properly disconnected and redirected without creating safety hazards and with no chance of adverse impacts to buildings or properties. You can find information in this brochure and by consulting a qualified home contractor, foundation specialist, plumber or civil engineer.

Disclaimer
The City of Barrie cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information or its application to any particular property. Readers should, where possible, verify the information before acting on it.  Where appropriate, professional advice and service should be sought from a knowledgeable and licensed contractor or civil engineer. In no event will the City of Barrie be liable to you or anyone else for any decision made or action taken by you or anyone else in reliance on this information. The City does not accept and specifically disclaims any and all liability for any injury, loss or damage whatsoever incurred as a result of the use of, reliance on, the information provided by the City and in no event will the City, its Councillors, officers, directors, employees or contractors be liable to you or to any third party for any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special or exemplary damages or lost profit, including any property damage or loss or personal injury, associated with, resulting from or arising out of any use or misuse of this information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is inflow & infiltration?

Inflow: The flow of storm water into the sanitary sewer system from sources such as downspouts and illegal sump pump connections through direct or indirect connections.

Infiltration: The flow of water into the sanitary sewer system through aged or defective pipes and/or maintenance chambers (i.e. cracks, defective joints, etc.) through soil (both groundwater and rainwater).

What is a downspout?

Downspouts are pipes that connect with a home’s eavestrough system and carry rainwater and snowmelt from the roof to the ground providing protection for the exterior of your home and foundation. A functional downspout protects the home’s roof, siding and foundation from water damage and helps prevent flooding of the home’s basement.

Do I have an illegal downspout connection?

If your downspout is connected to the sanitary sewer (either directly or indirectly) it is illegal and is in contravention of the City’s Sewer Use By-law and the Ontario Building Code.

Illegal connections can overwhelm the City’s sanitary sewer infrastructure and can result in basement flooding and increases the risk of wastewater spills into the Lake. It also leads to substantial amounts of clean water entering the sanitary sewer, which requires unnecessary treatment at the wastewater treatment plant; costing tax payers a lot of extra money to treat already clean water.

If you suspect you have an illegal downspout connection contact your local plumber to have it disconnected and properly re-directed on to your lawn or other pervious area, allowing rainwater to naturally soak into the ground.

What are the benefits to disconnecting illegal downspout and sump pump/foundation drain connections?

There are many environmental and economic benefits to disconnecting, including:

  • It is the simplest and cheapest way to help restore the natural water cycle.
  • Downspouts and sump pumps that discharge to grassed areas helps replenish and protect the groundwater table as well as reduce instances of flash flooding in creeks by keeping rainwater on your property and out of sewers.
  • By directing your downspout into a rain barrel, natural and unchlorinated rainwater is available for watering gardens and lawns.
  • It reduces the risk of basement flooding caused by stormwater inundating the sanitary sewer system from illegal sanitary connections.
  • Disconnecting stops substantial amounts of clean water from entering the sanitary sewer and being directed to the wastewater treatment plant for unnecessary treatment. This reduces stress on the overall sanitary sewer system, lowers energy costs and increases the effectiveness of our wastewater treatment facilities.
What is a sump pump?

Sump pumps are installed in the basement of homes to collect water from the foundation drain surrounding the home and pump it out onto the lawn to prevent basement flooding.

Do I have an illegal sump pump connection?

If your sump pump or foundation drain is connected to the sanitary sewer via a floor drain, laundry tub, sanitary cleanout or other direct or indirect connection, it is illegal and is in contravention of the City’s Sewer Use By-law and the Ontario Building Code.

Illegal connections can overwhelm the City’s sanitary sewer infrastructure and can result in basement flooding and increases the risk of wastewater spills into the Lake. It also leads to substantial amounts of clean water entering the sanitary sewer, which requires unnecessary treatment at the wastewater treatment plant; costing tax payers a lot of extra money to treat already clean water.

If you suspect you have an illegal sump pump connection, contact your local plumber to have it disconnected and properly re-directed on to your lawn or other pervious area, thereby allowing rainwater to naturally soak into the ground.

Some older homes have foundation drains directly connected to the sanitary sewer and do not have an internal sump or sump pump. There is also a possibility that your home may not have a foundation drain at all. To verify if you are in compliance with the Sewer Use By-law and do not have an illegal connection, contact a local plumber to complete an investigation. If an illegal connection exists, your local plumber will be able to advise you on the best approach to make your home compliant with the Sewer Use By-Law.


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