Municipal system alterations

Learn when and how to submit an alteration application for drinking water, stormwater or sanitary systems. Sometimes all three applications are required to meet reconstruction, site alteration or development requirements.

On this page

  1. When to submit an application
  2. When not to submit an application
  3. Before you apply
  4. Prepare a drinking water system alteration application
  5. Prepare a wastewater or stormwater system alteration application (CLI-ECA)
  6. Include required documentation
  7. Submit application
  8. Pay fees
  9. Timeline for approval
  10. Understand pre-authorized approvals for system alterations

When to submit an application to the city

Most watermain alteration projects can be approved by the City of Waterloo, under the authority of the City of Waterloo's Drinking Water Works Permit (DWWP), including new developments. Only alterations that are pre-authorized in the city's DWWP can be approved by the city. Read more about the Form 1 process.

Most alterations to wastewater and stormwater infrastructure will meet preauthorized design criteria that fall under the Consolidated Linear Infrastructure Environmental Compliance Approval (CLI-ECA) process and will be reviewed and approved by the City. Read more about CLI-ECA approvals.

If you are a developer or prescribed person, you must determine whether your project meets the requirements for pre-authorized alterations under each CLI-ECA’s Schedule D conditions (which the city can review and approve) or if you are required to make a Schedule C amendment to the existing CLI-ECA or apply for a municipal sewage ECA from the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation Parks (MECP). 

For drinking water infrastructure alteration projects

All watermain alterations and water services connections as defined under the Drinking Water Works Permit (DWWP) 112-201 (PDF) require an application when:

  • adding new watermain service connections
  • changing, replacing or extending drinking water infrastructure including extensions into new residential developments

Go to the section for Drinking water system alteration applications

For wastewater infrastructure alteration projects

Wastewater collection system additions, modifications, replacements and extensions requiring an application as defined under the city’s CLI-ECA 112-W601 (PDF) are: 

  • new sanitary main installation – gravity or forcemain
  • sanitary main replacement – gravity or forcemain
  • installation of siphons
  • new or existing pumping stations (new stations to a max peak flow of 30 L/s)
  • real-time control systems
  • emergency power generators
  • odour control units
  • corrosion control units
  • where discharging a contaminant of concern to the atmosphere

Go the section for Wastewater system alteration approvals (CLI-ECA)

For stormwater infrastructure alteration projects

Stormwater management system additions, modifications, replacements and extensions requiring an application as defined under the city's CLI-ECA 112-S701 (PDF), are:

  • new stormwater main installation
  • stormwater main replacement
  • new or replaced ditches
  • new or replaced culverts
  • new or replaced oil grit separators
  • new or replaced low impact developments
  • new or replaced wet ponds
  • new or replaced dry ponds
  • new or replaced super pipe/storage facilities
  • new or replaced third pipe collection systems

Go the section for Stormwater system alteration approvals (CLI-ECA)


When not to submit an application to the city

For non-standard or complex changes which may require MECP approval

Non-standard or complex infrastructure changes to any of the three systems may still require Ontario MECP approval. The applicant must do their due diligence to ensure applications are prepared and submitted as required.

For non-city owned systems

The city does not have the authority to approve alterations for:

  • privately owned drinking water systems
  • privately owned, industrial and commercial sewage collection
  • privately owned, industrial and commercial stormwater management systems

Refer to the DWWP or corresponding CLI-ECA for more information.

For these projects, you may still need an individual ECA from the MECP, or a building permit.

If the work qualifies for direct submission to the MECP, refer to the Ministry’s Guide to applying for an environmental compliance approval.

Certain routine and lower-risk activities require applicants to register online in the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR). In these cases, an ECA is not required. Find out when to apply for an ECA and when to self-register for an EASR on the MECP website.

For watermain alteration projects

Exemptions from the watermain alteration application process include repairs and maintenance of existing infrastructure. The City Utilities Division must be notified once this work is complete. This includes:

  • watermain replacement without changes to size, material or location,
  • watermain lining replacement
  • hydrant replacement or head extension
  • watermain break
  • clamp installation
  • anode installations
  • stub removal
  • valves work

Before you apply

All development applications must first meet the requirements of the site plan approval process and this includes those applying directly to MECP. Begin the site plan approval process with the Development Planning division.

To help with final approval, we recommend that the requirements of the CLI ECA Wastewater and Stormwater applications are incorporated into the pre-submission consultation process for site plan approval.


Prepare a drinking water system alteration application

The MECP’s Record of Watermains Authorized as a Future Alteration (Form 1) is required for all watermain alterations and water services connections.

Applications must meet requirements outlined by the city's DWWP and the MECP design criteria. View the city Drinking Water Works Permit (PDF) and the MECP watermain design criteria for future alterations authorized under a drinking water works permit.

If the requirements are not met, an application must be made to the MECP.

Drinking water system alterations requiring an application are:

  • new watermain installation
  • service installation if the diameter is equal to or greater than 100 mm (effective date March 1 2022)
  • watermain replacement that changes size, material or location
  • connection of two drinking water systems
  • alterations to dual watermains
  • lowering of a watermain to beneath existing infrastructure
  • hydrant addition or relocation
  • watermain pipe replacement of greater then 6.1 m
Service connections application instructions are divided into 2 types by size

Large service connections of 100 mm or greater require approval — follow the instructions below. (Service connections less than 100 mm do not require this process.)

To use the MECP Form 1, right click on the link, save the document and then open it in Adobe Reader (free) or Adobe Acrobat to edit it.

Instructions for 100 mm (4 inch)  service connections:
  1. Fill out the form Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) Form 1 - Record of Watermains Authorized as a Future Alteration (PDF) parts 1, 2, and 3. 
  2. No other letters, forms or checklists are required.
Instructions for 150 mm (6 inch) or greater service connections:
  1. Fill out the form MECP Form 1 (PDF)
  2. Include the following supporting documentation:
Links to supporting information:
Watermain alteration application instructions

To use the MECP Form 1, right click on the link, save the document and then open it in Adobe Reader (free) or Adobe Acrobat to edit it.

  1. Complete parts 1, 2 and 3 of the following forms: 
  2. Provide the following supporting documentation:

Submit the completed application package to:

Upon approval, applicants will be provided with a response letter and an approval signed by the City of Waterloo. 


Prepare a wastewater or stormwater system alteration application (CLI-ECA)

The city’s CLI-ECA approval process covers most alterations that meet the preauthorized MECP requirements for the entire municipal sewage collection system and stormwater management system owned and operated by the City of Waterloo.

All submissions must:

  • follow the current MECP Design Criteria for Sanitary Sewers, Storm Sewers and Forcemains , for alterations authorized under the Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA)
  • meet the requirements as defined in the corresponding CLI-ECA for wastewater or stormwater system alterations
  • satisfy other regulatory agencies and, provincial and municipal approved conditions

Any project alterations not designed in accordance with or not satisfying the conditions of the MECP Design Criteria (examples are non-standard or complex infrastructure changes), may still be approved but will require a direct submission to the MECP.

Depending on your project, you may also need to apply for an individual ECA from the MECP or submit an application for a CLI-ECA alteration with the Region of Waterloo.


Prepare a wastewater infrastructure system alteration application

To make sure an application is required, review the alterations requiring a wastewater infrastructure system application.

Applications must meet requirements outlined by the MECP-provided ECA and MECP design criteria. View the Wastewater Management System ECA 112-W601 (PDF). View the MECP Design Criteria document (PDF).

Application submission requirements
  1. Fill out parts 1, 2 and 3 of the following forms (PDF):
    • Form SS1 for alterations to sanitary sewers such as gravity sanitary collection and forcemains, including maintenance holes, service laterals and drop structures, siphons (inverted or other)
    • Form SS2 for alterations to components of the collection system such as pumping stations, real time control systems, emergency power generators, odour control units, corrosion control units
    • Form A1 for discharging a contaminant of concern to the atmosphere
  2. Provide all supporting documentation as listed in the CLI-ECA Wastewater Applicant Submission Checklist form SAA-F1 (fillable PDF), including:

Prepare a stormwater management system alteration application

To make sure an application is required, review the alterations requiring a stormwater management system application.

Applications must meet requirements outlined by the MECP provided ECA and MECP design criteria. View the Stormwater Management System ECA 112-S701 (PDF). View the MECP Design Criteria document (PDF).

Application submission requirements
  1. Fill out the current version of applicable MECP forms (PDF):
    • Form SW1 for alterations to storm mains, ditches or culverts including catchbasins, maintenance holes, and grates
    • Form SW2 for alterations to stormwater management facilities such as oil grit separators, low impact development, wet ponds, dry ponds, superpipe/storage facilities  
    • Form SW3 for alteration of of a third pipe collection system
  2. Provide all supporting documentation as listed in the CLI-ECA Stormwater Applicant Submission Checklist SAA-F2 (fillable PDF), including:

Include required documentation for wastewater and stormwater alterations applications

The application review process will be initiated following reception of the complete submission application package and the fee has been processed.

Submissions are to be submitted in their entirety by one agent of the owner in one complete package as outlined in the corresponding applicant submission checklist(s) referenced in the instructions.

Submissions must include:

  • digital copies or links to digital copies of the applicable forms and documents
  • searchable PDF files are required for forms and reports
  • design drawings that are to-scale and stamped by a Licensed Engineering Practitioner.

Application packages will be screened for completeness for:

  • cover letter, ensure minimum requirements are included
  • complete MECP Forms (as applicable)
  • supporting documents
  • completed Permit application fee form SAA-F3 (PDF)
  • corresponding applicant submission checklist(s) that must be completed and submitted with all applications

The applicant must:

  1. Ensure that the most recent version of the MECP’s Record of Future Alteration Authorized form(s) is used.
  2. Ensure all applicable guidelines, design standards, and specifications available at the time of design of an alteration are utilized to demonstrate compliance.
  3. Ensure Source Protection conditions, outlined in the Design Criteria and the City of Waterloo Significant Drinking Water Threat Assessment Report for Proposed Alterations (PDF), are satisfied
  4. All drawings and form(s) must be signed, (electronic signatures are accepted and preferred), dated and sealed by the licensed Engineering Practitioner responsible for the alteration.

Notification of Application(s) and related inquiries must be submitted by email to wsreg_approval@waterloo.ca. Please note the City’s email is capped at 10 MB if sharing information via email. For larger files contact wsreg_approval@waterloo.ca to get a link where documents can be shared to staff.


Submit your application

The application review process cannot begin until a complete application package is received and the fee has been processed.Submit the completed application package to:

Upon approval, applicants will be provided with a response letter and an approval signed by the City of Waterloo. 


Pay the fees

The Permit Application Fee Form SAA-F3 (PDF) is used to calculate and summarize the application fees for the project. Only 1 form is required per project. This form includes payment information and it must be completed and submitted with all applications. The fees cover the CLI-ECA’s review and permitting process. These fees have been approved under the Fees and Charges Bylaw.

Confirmation of the fees required to be paid will be provided to the applicant after a review of the application for completeness.

Pay fees by:

  • making cheques payable to The Corporation of the City of Waterloo 
  • including the project name, property address, and/or owner’s name
  • deliver the cheque by hand or mail to:

City of Waterloo Service Centre

Attention: Compliance - City Utilities
265 Lexington Court
PO Box 337, STN Waterloo
Waterloo, ON N2J 4A8

Fees and charges for municipal system alterations
System being alteredCurrent municipal fee
 Watermain/drinking water system  $999
Sanitary sewers

$3075

Sanitary appurtenances (each appurtenance) $3075
Sewage pumping station/Forcemain (each facility/forcemain) $6150
Storm sewers $3075
Storm appurtenances (each appurtenance) $3075
Stormwater management facilities (each facility) $6150
Alteration application expedited review (each system) 50% of total submission
Review of CLI ECA Amendment Application for MECP submission (each system) $1025

Timeline to get approval

Processing times will vary based on the type of application submitted, if the application is complete and when the fee is received.

The estimated time to process a complete ECA application is 4 to 12 weeks, depending on the complexity. Processing times may increase during the peak construction season.

Contact City Utilities by email at WSreg_approval@waterloo.ca for support with an application.


Understand pre-authorized approvals for system alterations

Drinking water system alterations

The city has the authority to approve alterations to the drinking water system in accordance with the applicable conditions of the Drinking Water Works Permit (DWWP) under the preauthorized requirements it defines. Most drinking water alteration projects can be approved through the Form 1 process.

Wastewater and stormwater system alterations

A CLI-ECA permit is required if the project includes changes to the city’s wastewater and/or stormwater infrastructure under certain conditions. Types of changes included are: additions, modifications, replacements, and/or extensions.

The two types of alterations that require CLI-ECA applications to the city are:

  1. Wastewater (sanitary sewage) collection system changes. This includes all connected sewage collection works within the City of Waterloo that are owned and/or operated by the City of Waterloo including pumping stations and pipes.
  2. Stormwater management system changes. This includes all connected stormwater management works within the City of Waterloo that are owned and/or operated by the City of Waterloo, including pipes, stormwater management facilities, and Low Impact Development (LID) infrastructure.

CLI-ECA requirements can be found under the Wastewater and Stormwater System Alteration Approvals (CLI-ECA) section.

Learn more by:

  • viewing the MECP information regarding the program
  • reviewing the approval conditions and exemptions listed in the corresponding CLI-ECA Agreement (Schedule D)

The CLI-ECA process

The sanitary and stormwater approvals process is referred to as the Consolidated Linear Infrastructure Environmental Compliance Approval (CLI-ECA). The CLI-ECA approval process covers most alterations that meet the preauthorized Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) requirements for the entire municipal wastewater collection system and stormwater management system owned and operated by the City of Waterloo.

The Transfer of Review (ToR) ECA process has been retired by the MECP.

Development projects no longer need to submit individual pipe-by-pipe applications to the MECP for future alterations but alterations must:

Requests for exceptions to the MECP design criteria may still be approved but require a direct submission to MECP. The applicant must do their due diligence to ensure applications are prepared and submitted as required.
The city's CLI-ECA includes: (PDFs)

If you have questions about CLI-ECA alterations, email WSreg_approval@waterloo.ca