Sewer backups can cause costly repairs not to mention the messy cleanup. Most basements are susceptible to this type of flooding because they are below ground level. Sewer lines backup from clogs caused by excessive grease, waste, tree roots or breaks in the sewer line. When the sewer line backs up, it comes through floor drains and toilets at the lowest point in your home or business. Your home or building may be susceptible to sewage backups if the lowest drain is less than 24” above the nearest upstream manhole. When the pipes are filled the water has to flow backwards therefore entering the home or business.
Homeowners are responsible for the sewer lines connected from their home to the main sewer line. The city is responsible for backups caused by structural defects such as cracked pipe and blockages located in the right-of-way. Most blockages are the homeowner’s responsibility.
One way to prevent sewage backup into your home or business is to install a “back-flow valve” on the lowest drain or ground line. This is the best protection against sewer backups.
A “back-flow valve” is required by IPC and UPC plumbing codes, as well as by many state and local plumbing codes, when the cover of the nearest upstream manhole is above the flood rim of the lowest fixture in the building.
A “back-flow valve” is a mechanism that prevents sewer backups by providing a physical barrier to sewerage backflow. A “back-flow valve” is designed most commonly with a flapper that swings open to allow flow through the line exiting your home but closes to form a tight seal in the event of back up by preventing wastewater from flowing in the opposite direction and entering the home. If a clog occurs the backflow valve will stop the sewage from entering your home.
“Back flow valves” should be cleaned and inspected once a year. Talk to your plumber about cleaning and installing a new valve if necessary. With some “back flow valves” this requires a concrete manhole or vault to allow access, and is expensive. An extendable backwater valve is available by RectorSeal called “Clean Check®”, the flapper can be brought to ground level for inspection and/or replacement. The unique design allows accessibility at any burial depth, thus eliminating the need for manholes and vaults; it is buried using a riser pipe and standard cleanout plug.
For more information on the Clean Check extendable backwater valve, click here