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harald

join:2010-10-22
Columbus, OH
kudos:2
reply to Jack_in_VA

Re: Sewer flooding

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.


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

said by alkizmo:

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.

You may think you're being cute and catty. Guess what you aren't. People whose homes get flooded in 100 year or 500 year events suffer catastrophic loses and is not something to deride. Low cost flood insurance is worth the investment.

Bob4
Account deleted

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

said by alkizmo:

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

My homeowners insurance here in New Jersey includes coverage for volcanic eruption. It's listed in the policy. Really. (But earth movement as a result of volcanic eruption is not covered.)

itguy05

join:2005-06-17
Carlisle, PA
reply to fartness

We had 3 sewer backups at our old house last year due to all the rain. Never had any in the 12 years we lived there but we also had the 100 year event last year.

It cost us about $1200 for the plumber to install the valve. The valve (RectorSeal) was provided by the sewage authority as a means of helping us out so I don't know what that cost.

What I was told (and passed on to the new homeowners) was lift it out and check it every 6 months and replace it if it looked bad (cracked, etc).

I know it worked as after we had it installed a week later we got 4 inches of rain and it stopped it from flooding the basement. When it trips no sewage can get out of the house so you do have to plan for that. Small price to pay not to have your neighbors crap in your basement!


8744675

join:2000-10-10
Decatur, GA
reply to fartness

Storm water should not be coming in through your sanitary sewer. Many cities had combined sewer/storm water systems, but the EPA mandated that sanitary and storm water sewer systems had to be separated, so that storm water won't back up into homes or overwhelm the sewage treatment plants and cause raw sewage to overflow and discharge into the waterways.

The deadline to separate the systems was several years ago, but not every city completed the job. Atlanta was fined thousands of dollars a day by the EPA for every day they were non-compliant after the deadline. They finally finished in the last couple years.



Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1

duplicate



Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to 8744675

Sorry to inform you but that is incorrect. Cities were required to stop dumping untreated sewage in the waterways during high rainfall events. There is a difference. Some cities like Richmond, VA built holding basins to collect it for later treatment.

To separate it would require every street to be torn up and new lines run and connected to every drain on the street. A cost no city is able to bear.



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

said by Jack_in_VA:

To separate it would require every street to be torn up and new lines run and connected to every drain on the street. A cost no city is able to bear.

In some parts of the country that may be true (especially in less densely populated areas where a temporary holding tank or pond is feasible). As far as I can tell all the cities around here have opted for the dual pipelines (sewer drain to the water treatment plants and storm drains to the nearest creek or directly into the bay) since land is a precious commodity and hard to come by.

From what I heard over the years that separation project wasn't done all at once and isn't complete either. There doesn't have to be 100% separation as long as enough storm water is kept out of the sewers to prevent overflow conditions at the treatment plant.

There are 3 scenarios where there are still significant amounts of storm water enter the sewer system:
- old parts of the combined storm / sewer system still in place because the condition of the pipes hasn't justified a replacement yet.
- property owners illegally draining gutter downspouts or surface water (parking lots) into the sewer pipes.
- storm water entering through sewer manhole covers when the storm drains are overwhelmed and streets are partially flooded (not much that can be done about this one except improve the storm drains).

As far as I know our city has been okay but every once in a while you see the news that one of the bay area cities gets fined because their waste water facility was forced to let untreated water run into the bay. A lot of those facilities treat way more waste water then they were originally designed for due to the population growth in the area (and storm water separation helps with that problem too).
--
Got some spare cpu cycles ? Join Team Helix or Team Starfire!


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

It is illegal to dump surface water into a steam, James River or the Chesapeake Bay even if you could run pipes that far. All surface water from roof drains, parking lots, streets etc drains into the sewer system here and ultimately goes to the treatment plant or is diverted to the river when extreme rainfall causes overflows.

In the outlying areas without sewers they are installing holding basins (ponds) to pipe the rain water runoff to instead of just letting it runoff into streams.


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

Under what jurisdiction is it illegal for storm water to go into streams and other drainage systems there?



Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1

EPA and the agreements with them to clean up the bay. All streams go to the Chesapeake Bay. Understand now?


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

I understand that you live on the bay. What I am wondering is how is it done. County by county? Within x miles of the bay?



chmod
Premium
join:2000-12-12
Lockport, IL
reply to Jack_in_VA

said by Jack_in_VA:

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.

Had a back flow device fail in a 3 story business complex in the basement. It was the only time I told my boss at that time I can't do this. Disgusting.
--
Some people are like Slinkies. Not really good for anything, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.


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

We had some friends at the bottom of a hill in Richmond that did not have any protection. Something went wrong with the sewer and flooded their home and all the ones around. The city would not pay for the damages. You can't believe the stench and mess.



Indeedy

@videotron.ca
reply to fartness

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.

Yes it will. Happened here. People took the city to court after so many times. Gov stepped in and gave the money when people went higher up. It's a design flaw and also not capable of actually supplying a growing city, and they likely knew it when it was installed decades ago. Many cities will go through this, or already have.

In addition, with the changes in weather they have to account for "30-year events, 50 year events, 75 year events and 100-year events. If this is happening on a yearly event or even a 5 year event, then the city has to be sued to fix their problem.

said by ArgMeMatey:

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.

Yeah. I think when I was having my nervous breakdown over this forum a couple of years ago when I bought this house and found all this out, all the history of the area, it was you and "Jack in VA" who explained it all to me, and since then the city engineers. Which basically regurgitated what you guys said.

I believe we touched on failure rates of back flow preventers (or back-water valves). The standard home depot stuff is anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months tops. The engineers even gave me this info a little while after we discussed it here.

So if he goes with the standard home depot stuff, he should be clearing it out before a vacation, or before a major storm happens. Or at least 4 times a year (min).

Other than that, yeah.. you get into ejector pumps or pressurized backwater valves.

I recall posting pictures a few years ago when they started the work. My street is next summer. A plumber goes in each home, digs the basement and whatever other work they have to do to put one in, and in addition to this they put one on each device in the basement. So that means a backwater valve at the wall exit. One in the basement toilet. One on the basement shower, then the laundry room etc etc. Each device. All paid by the city. They will be digging up half my driveway and lawn as well.

In addition the "pseudo sewer system" being removed is replaced with a true split system. The largest in Canada from what I read.

said by Juggernaut:

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

No.

So in regards to "fartness" and his concerns and nervous breakdown to come Don't give an inch to the city. Take them for everything you can. Every little screw you lost and total decontamination costs.

You should be talking with neighbours and get a dozen or so of them together and go split the costs of a lawyer among you all to force your city to pay every little thing possible. None of this crap about you paying the plumber or back-water valve. In addition the lawyer should make a demand about getting it fixed since what you stated shows it's a fault in the city design and system that can't handle a minor event.

Consider this and talk about it with others. Split the costs among a small gang of you to fight back. Or get walked on by the city as you give them your tax money for nothing.


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

said by robbin:

I understand that you live on the bay. What I am wondering is how is it done. County by county? Within x miles of the bay?

It's actually the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed which includes most of Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and D.C.



Above is the Virginia territory.

Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Locations in Virginia




Above is the U.S. areas that have combined sewers.

Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey
reply to Bob4

The sewer backup insurance is not expensive. My premium is only $15 per year.



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

What is the deductible, and is it a separate deductible, say if a storm knocks your roof off?



Indeedy

@videotron.ca
reply to Bob4

said by Bob4:

The sewer backup insurance is not expensive. My premium is only $15 per year.

You have a diff sewer design. Maybe a non-finished basement? WHo knows.

I know over here there are some houses/area's they will not even insure. I have it, but it will only cover up to something like 15K. They won't give more.

Most insurance companies are very wise to what area has what. I expect this guy to get bare minimum, 10-15K coverage. But the US may be different when it comes to insurance. Certainly isn't a 15$ add-on here when in a problem area.

Even with the millions being spent to refurb everything to surpass code. I call the INS and said I should be getting a reduction since the risk is low and the risk is limited to a 100 year event. Girl on the phone laughed at me and said, "insurance never goes down". Told me to bring the issue up with some Canadian board to force a review.

I expect I will have to get some signatures and the engineers reports before they stop laughing at me.

I expect no less in the states... But then again, we here horror stories here about how they don't pay out when things happen...

I'm curious what they will tell him. Let us know...

Bob4
Account deleted

join:2012-07-22
New Jersey

My insurance company has lowered rates in the past. They even give me 5% of my premium back when I renew.



Indeedy

@videotron.ca

said by Bob4:

My insurance company has lowered rates in the past. They even give me 5% of my premium back when I renew.

Ah. Yeah, piddly combined insurance discounts, or loyalty discounts. etc etc But when rates go up, they don't actually lower the *stated* rate.

I get 10% for having a few things insured with them. But that didn't stop the rate from increasing. The rate should decrease due to the lower risk and lower probability of a damage causing event. Insurance is all based on probability and risk. Rates are based on that.

Anyhow... It will be interesting what they state to him. I'm a little curious about the differences between here and there.

They may demand a backflow preventer (backwater valve) before he even gets insured. Which is very possible.