The single most effective measure for a homeowner to utilize in the prevention of a basement sewage flood is the backwater valve. Installed on the main sewer line of a home, this device is a one-way valve that will prevent water from flowing back into the house through the sewer line.
A backwater valve is a free-floating door that works with the weight of sewage water traveling out of the home and into the municipal sanitary line. When water flowing through the sewage line reverses direction, the door closes, preventing water from backing up into the basement.
If a homeowner does not have a backwater valve installed, then there is nothing preventing sewage water from entering the basement through the mainline. In the event of a sewage backup, the home has no protection. And although the Insurance Bureau of Canada endorses the installation of a backwater valve “as a valuable mitigation technique,” the valve itself is useless if not maintained at regular intervals.
As the sewage passes through the valve, it leaves residual oil, feces, hair, toilet paper, chemicals, and paint–anything you would flush or drain out of your home. In a matter of months, this waste residue will build up in and around the valve door, and sticking the door to housing preventing it from functioning properly. It is inevitable. And if the municipal system should back up, and the backwater valve fails, then the owner of a flooded home may look to blame you, the municipality, and seek compensation. It is far better to educate and motivate homeowners within your riding to participate in a regular maintenance program that will ensure their backwater valves work as they should.
You can think of a backwater valve as having two parts: the valve unit, and the mandatory maintenance required to keep it functioning. When providing homeowners with information on backwater valves, it is very important that you emphasize the importance of having their backwater valves maintained and inspected bi-annually.
Homeowners at Risk
Three factors put the homeowners in your community at risk of a sewage backup flood:
- First, they may not be aware that climate change has led to a rise in precipitation events that substantially increase the risk of flooding. Everyone is now at risk whether you live in a flood zone or not!
- Secondly, they may not have a backwater valve installed on their mainline. Without this device, they are at risk of a sewage flood.
- And last, they may have a backwater valve installed but are not participating in a regular program of inspection and maintenance. Without regular maintenance, every backwater valve will eventually cease to function properly. Not only is the homeowner once again at risk, but they believe they are protected by a functioning backwater valve when that may no longer be the case.
How You Can Help
How can you, the municipality, best help your communities prevent sewer backup flooding?
- Educate and encourage your communities about the dangers of sewer backup floods and teach them how to protect their homes with a backwater valve.
- Disseminate useful tips and information on flood protection to all households within your municipality.
- Encourage and promote valve installation and programs of regular maintenance and inspection by qualified professionals.
- Create a grant or incentive program (or promote an existing one) that will help the homeowners within your municipality bear the installation costs of a backwater valve.
- Book a FREE online presentation at the top of this page so that Backwater Solutions Canada can show you how to reduce Insurance payouts to improve services for clients.
Book a BSC training seminar for you and your staff. Learn a critical base of knowledge that will help your representatives provide the most accurate and relevant information to those within your community.
Backwater Solutions Canada
Backwater Solutions Canada (BSC) is a unique company with a singular focus on the most effective solution to basement floods; backwater valve inspection and maintenance. We are passionate about educating Canadians on the dangers that flood waters pose and the mounting problem it has become in just the past few years and, as part of the solution, offer courtesy flood inspection services to homeowners. Our goal is to ensure that every at-risk home is equipped with a backwater valve and is part of an adequate program of regular maintenance and inspection. We provide peace-of-mind to you and the people within your municipality that when the rains come, they will not have to worry about the possibility of a sewer backup.