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fartness
computersoc dot com
Premium
join:2003-03-25
Look Outside

Sewer flooding

Yesterday, we got the most rain in over 130 years. My basement flooded because the county's sewer system was overwhelmed. I called the county who maintains the sewer system and they came out today. They said there is no clog in my line to the street, and that their sewers aren't clogged either. They said yesterday all the rain caused it to back up and flood many basements around here. They said if there were any damages, they would pay. How about fixing your system instead!?

They recommended, on my own dime, installing a backflow preventer.

Opinions or ideas?

At least if tree roots were clogging my drain like two years ago, they only charge $25 to snake it. Better than me going to Home Depot and doing the dirty, or spending $200 for someone to come here. Either way, it doesn't matter today, since there are no tree root issues.



leibold
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET

said by fartness:

They recommended, on my own dime, installing a backflow preventer.

If it happened once, chances are it will happen again. I would install the backflow preventer. It is normal that the homeowner has to pay for it and as is often the case, retrofit can be significantly more expensive then installing it at the time the house is build.
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robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
reply to fartness

I'm surprised that they offered to pay for the flood damage. Here they would not.

If you don't want your basement to flood from the county sewer system, then yes I would recommend that you install one.



fartness
computersoc dot com
Premium
join:2003-03-25
Look Outside
reply to fartness

Approximate cost of one so I know I'm not getting taken?

Where does it get installed?

What do I ask plumbing companies for? Exactly that, a backflow preventer?


nonymous
Premium
join:2003-09-08
Glendale, AZ
reply to robbin

said by robbin:

I'm surprised that they offered to pay for the flood damage. Here they would not.

If you don't want your basement to flood from the county sewer system, then yes I would recommend that you install one.

Around here they most likely wouldn't offer either tell you to go after your flood insurance if you have any. Now if it was their mistake somehow maybe. Still wouldn't count on it without a fight. But rain/ flooding they would laugh at you if you asked them to pay.


leibold
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
reply to fartness

said by fartness:

What do I ask plumbing companies for? Exactly that, a backflow preventer?

you need to be specific and ask for a sewer backflow preventer, other kinds of backflow preventers exist for example for the incoming water line.

»www.sewersmart.org/devices.html
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fartness
computersoc dot com
Premium
join:2003-03-25
Look Outside
reply to nonymous

said by nonymous:

said by robbin:

I'm surprised that they offered to pay for the flood damage. Here they would not.

If you don't want your basement to flood from the county sewer system, then yes I would recommend that you install one.

Around here they most likely wouldn't offer either tell you to go after your flood insurance if you have any. Now if it was their mistake somehow maybe. Still wouldn't count on it without a fight. But rain/ flooding they would laugh at you if you asked them to pay.

It's their fault that their sewer system can't handle the water. Happens maybe once per year.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

said by fartness:

It's their fault that their sewer system can't handle the water. Happens maybe once per year.

I thought you were referring to the sanitary sewer. Is your basement connected into the storm water system?

said by fartness:

Yesterday, we got the most rain in over 130 years. My basement flooded because the county's sewer system was overwhelmed. I called the county who maintains the sewer system and they came out today. They said there is no clog in my line to the street, and that their sewers aren't clogged either.



fartness
computersoc dot com
Premium
join:2003-03-25
Look Outside

I have a main line from my house (starts in my basement) and it goes to the street.

When it rains in the street (rain water run-off?) and into the grates on the side of the road, it goes into the same "place" as when I flush the toilet and it leaves my property. I always thought it's the sewer. Here, they're both shared.



CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County

1 recommendation

reply to fartness

So you want them to design for - your words:
"Yesterday, we got the most rain in over 130 years. "

Good luck with that - will not happen in ANY municipality. Emphasis mine.
--
Brian

"It drops into your stomach like a Abrams's tank.... driven by Rosanne Barr..." A. Bourdain



Shadow01
Premium
join:2003-10-24
Wasteland
reply to fartness

Most communities have ordinances that require BFP to be installed by the property owner and absolve the town/city of liability for overflow.
--
»the53.tumblr.com/



ArgMeMatey

join:2001-08-09
Milwaukee, WI
kudos:2
Reviews:
·voip.ms
·AT&T Midwest
·Time Warner Cable
reply to fartness

Be advised that backwater valves are not always easy to install because of the strict vertical offset requirements. They are also best located somewhere easy to reach because they should be checked regularly to make sure debris is not jamming the valve open, which would prevent it closing in a "sewer surcharge" event.

The only foolproof method is to put an overhead sewer in your basement, so any overflow would go out of the nearest upstream manhole. This of course means you need an ejector to pump any sewage from fixtures in your basement.

How much do you want to spend?

»cleancheck.rectorseal.com/menu.htm

»www.jrsmith.com/assets/documents···0216.pdf

»www.parksplumbingandsewer.com/Fl···rolVault

»www.floodexperts.com/
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MaynardKrebs
Heave Steve, for the good of the country
Premium
join:2009-06-17
kudos:4
reply to fartness

said by fartness:

They recommended, on my own dime, installing a backflow preventer.

Opinions or ideas?

»www.backwatervalve.com/
Get the fullport one.
Make sure that it meets plumbing code in your area - and note that it can be purchased in ABS or PVC models. Local code will dictate which is acceptable. Always use the correct solvents & glue (preferably bought new) when installing one of these. You DON'T want the glue joints to fail due to old or wrong type of glue.


fartness
computersoc dot com
Premium
join:2003-03-25
Look Outside
reply to fartness

If the backflow preventer is doing its job due to excess rainwater, I am guessing no water will be able to get out of the house, right?

said by CylonRed:

So you want them to design for - your words:
"Yesterday, we got the most rain in over 130 years. "

Good luck with that - will not happen in ANY municipality. Emphasis mine.

Happens once per year, at least. Never any record breaking rainfalls, just a decent amount of rain.


Juggernaut
Irreverent or irrelevant?
Premium
join:2006-09-05
Kelowna, BC
kudos:2

Who cares even if it does? It prevents wading in sewage (if that's what is backing up), and damage to your home.

Edit to add, if it's rain, it's a storm sewer and not sanitary.
--
Better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it.



KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK
reply to fartness

Here, the sanitary sewer system and storm water systems are separate for that very reason, but I've heard of places where they are connected together. Here it's a code violation to run any kind of water run off into the sanitary system (For example, you ran guttering downspouts into a pipe which you connected to your main sewer line.... violation)

Also, I'm surprised they offered to pay as well when it was an act of nature. There are different types of backflow preventers, some better then others. It also doesn't hurt to have a emergency sump pump to activate to pump water directly out of the basement if it is in danger of flooding.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini



CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County
reply to fartness

Except it is not what you said..... Do what is necessary to prevent it.



Archer0T8
aka UnrealArcher

join:2005-01-21
East York, ON
reply to Juggernaut

said by Juggernaut:

Edit to add, if it's rain, it's a storm sewer and not sanitary.

Not necessarily; a lot of places still have a single combined sewer that handles both sanitary and storm flows. Typically older areas, but they're still around.


leibold
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
reply to ArgMeMatey

said by ArgMeMatey:

Be advised that backwater valves are not always easy to install because of the strict vertical offset requirements.

This is correct (hence my comment regarding retrofit vs. new construction) but depends on the type of backflow preventer.
Some simple backflow preventers (inline, gravity or float valve) do require such a vertical offset. They block water coming in from the city sewer but as long as the pressure of your waste water is higher still allow your waste water to drain. They are great for new construction and simple tends to mean reliable.
Other models of backflow preventers are installed in place of the regular sewer cleanout and require little or no vertical offset (they are specifically designed as inexpensive retrofit). These models will flood excess sewage out into the open and are likely to be prohibited in some (perhaps many) places.
There are also inline backflow preventers with check valves that can be installed at any point of the sewer line by replacing a section of the existing sewer line. Those too are designed so that no extra vertical offset is required but are sometimes blamed for causing clogs.

Just make sure that the backflow preventer is installed correctly which means not just the flow direction but also the up and down orientation (especially important with gravity based or float valves).
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Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to Archer0T8

said by Archer0T8:

said by Juggernaut:

Edit to add, if it's rain, it's a storm sewer and not sanitary.

Not necessarily; a lot of places still have a single combined sewer that handles both sanitary and storm flows. Typically older areas, but they're still around.

The majority of American cities have "combined sewer". Can you imagine the cost to run separate piping for storm water now?

harald

join:2010-10-22
Columbus, OH
kudos:2

Yes, I can. I get a bill every three months.

The Sierra Club sued Columbus, Ohio and won, so the combined sewer overflows are being fixed by one of several ways. The most recent, and expensive, is boring some large tunnels to hold the sewage from high-rain events until it can be treated.

I was going to question your statement that the majority of American cities have combined systems, but it seems that you are absolutely right. One paper says that in the east where they are prevelant they service twice the area that separate systems do.


boombie

join:2000-12-01
Milwaukee, WI
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
reply to fartness

Here is another option
It is a plug you put in your floor drain.
It has a float that if the water rises in the floor drain it will seal the drain and will unseal when the water recedes.
»www.plumbingsupply.com/floodguard.html

I picked mine up at home depot.

I had 3" of sewage in my basement after a heavy rain about 8 years ago. MMSD told me to file a claim with my insurance, they weren't responsible. That claim was over $8000 I installed the float plug and have had rain similar to the one that flooded my basement,went into the basement and saw the float was up and sealing the drain. I have replaced it once as the metal parts do rust, and it's cheap insurance.

Paul


Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey
reply to Jack_in_VA

We have separate storm and sanitary sewer systems where I live. In fact, every place I've ever lived has had separate systems.



Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to boombie

said by boombie:

Here is another option
It is a plug you put in your floor drain.
It has a float that if the water rises in the floor drain it will seal the drain and will unseal when the water recedes.
»www.plumbingsupply.com/floodguard.html

I picked mine up at home depot.

I had 3" of sewage in my basement after a heavy rain about 8 years ago. MMSD told me to file a claim with my insurance, they weren't responsible. That claim was over $8000 I installed the float plug and have had rain similar to the one that flooded my basement,went into the basement and saw the float was up and sealing the drain. I have replaced it once as the metal parts do rust, and it's cheap insurance.

Paul

Here you can add a rider to your homeowners insurance for sewer back up.


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1

said by Jack_in_VA:

Here you can add a rider to your homeowners insurance for sewer back up.

I'd rather pay a little bit extra and assure myself it will not happen.
I mean... ewwww you know?


Ken
Premium,MVM
join:2003-06-16
Markle, IN

1 recommendation

reply to Jack_in_VA

said by Jack_in_VA:

The majority of American cities have "combined sewer". Can you imagine the cost to run separate piping for storm water now?

Certainly many older cities have combined systems, but I don't think they are in the majority any more. Anything new today uses a separate storm and sanitary sewer. I think if you factor in all the costs long term 2 separate systems isn't as expensive as it seems.

Unlike a combined sewer that is a complete network of pipes and lift stations all leading back to a single point, with a storm sewer you can dump it out at various convenient locations into streams, rivers and lakes. Also since you are dumping it out in various places you can use gravity a lot more to do the work and you wouldn't need nearly as many or possibly zero lift stations for the storm sewer. So while it obviously cost more than just not having it in the first place, it's not as expensive as just taking the entire existing combined system and duplicating it.

The cost savings comes in when you look at the sewage treatment plant. With a combined system you have to either have an enormous treatment plant capable of holding every gallon of water from a heavy storm, or a smaller treatment plant that dumps raw sewage into the rivers and streams during heavy storms. Those places that dump sewage during storms are now all trying to build larger treatment plants or larger holding capacity. With a separate system all of the rainwater is going through the storm sewer and being dumped out, and only the sanitary sewer is being treated. I think once you factor in the cost savings of treatment vs the cost of the storm sewer over the long term, the difference isn't nearly as expensive as you might think.

Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
reply to Jack_in_VA

said by Jack_in_VA:

Here you can add a rider to your homeowners insurance for sewer back up.

My insurance company adds that as standard to all policies for homes. You can remove it if you want a few bucks back.
quote:
HO-95X Water Back-up Coverage - The standard policy does not provide coverage for any loss caused by water which backs up through sewers or drains. However, the HO-95X endorsement provides up to $5,000 for this type of loss. The maximum benefit limit is concurrent with your other coverage amounts; it does not increase the total limit of Coverage A (Dwelling) for HO-2, HO-3 and HO-6 or Building Additions and Alterations for HO-4, B (Other Structures), C (Personal Property) or D (Loss of Use) stated in your policy declarations.


BillRoland
Premium
join:2001-01-21
Ocala, FL
kudos:3
reply to fartness

Stories like this make me glad I have a septic tank. Yes I know, they have their own set of issues, but having sewage flooding into my house during a rainstorm isn't one of them.



Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to alkizmo

said by alkizmo:

said by Jack_in_VA:

Here you can add a rider to your homeowners insurance for sewer back up.

I'd rather pay a little bit extra and assure myself it will not happen.
I mean... ewwww you know?

So would I but even back-flow devices can fail with disastrous results. That's just like those here who don't think they need flood insurance and guess what.


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1

said by Jack_in_VA:

So would I but even back-flow devices can fail with disastrous results. That's just like those here who don't think they need flood insurance and guess what.

Some people think they don't need volcano insurance and guess what.