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Gookin 04-18-2007 11:12 AM

Sewer Backup Problem
I've now endured 2 sewer backup issues over the last month due to storms. I've done research and was told a check valve would be the best solution along with removing my toilet, sink and shower from the basement. I've also been told check valves are not the best solution because waste may get caught in it keeping it from closing properly all the time.

Are check valves as good as most people claim or not? Also, other than an overhead sewer line which is very expensive, what are some solutions that might help? I really need some help. I've got a new baby on the way and my house smells awful, never mind the constant disinfecting.

inspectorD 04-18-2007 12:32 PM

You need a plumber...
If you have city water and it keeps backin up need to contact your local authority as to what they suggest for your area.
A bathroom in the basement is the lowest plumbing which will be affected now...but if you were to put the overhead new plumbing pipes in you could still have the problem only higher this time.
You need to talk to your local guys because only they know how high the pipes in the street are compared to the home exit lines.

This is a big problem when the rains start.:eek:

They sometimes may also be responsible for the problem :( ....and the solution.:D

glennjanie 04-19-2007 10:03 AM

Welcome Gookin:
The check valve is your best solution if you want to keep the basement bath. Like InspectorD said, an overhead line may not be any better than you have.

asbestos 04-22-2007 07:02 PM

Seems like the sewer people should be fixing this, not you. And by the way

Kerrylib 04-23-2007 09:37 AM

I second Inspector and Asbestos' comments.

If you are getting backups in your sewer line due to storm water, then there is something wrong w/ the sewer system. It is a separate system from the storm water. Call the city/county to have them take a look on their end to make sure they don't have problems.

Have your main line cleaned and perhaps run a camera through to see if something is wrong. I do recall ppl here talking about some places have sump pump drains tied into their sanitary sewer. Against codes here. That may provide a path for storm water to back up into your sewer line and then into your basement.

I had to replace our sewer line due to backups caused by tree roots. I know having that flood in your basement is not only a frustration, but a health issue.

Gookin 04-23-2007 12:14 PM

During heavy rains, the street floods along with the storm drains. During major storms like recent Nor'Easters, the excess rain has caused the sewers to back up. When they back up, its comes right in the waste line and out of the basement toilet, shower and sinks.

My actual line is clear (We ran a camera through about 4 days ago). My question would be whats the best solution to this understanding the town would take forever. I considered a check valve, a gate valve and overhead sewer. Is one or combination of these better than the other? Is there another possible solution that I may have overlooked?

glennjanie 04-23-2007 04:55 PM

I would use the check valve on their end of the line so you can have some storage capicity in the pipe. I would want a brass check valve with a simple swing door; water can go one way but not the other way.
There is a floor drain that incorporates a rubber ball which will float up and stop any backflow but you need whole house protection and a check valve is the only way to get it.

Kerrylib 04-24-2007 09:34 AM

I have to say this sounds like a really "crappy" situation (pun intended).

I am not familiar w/ check valves for a sewer line, but thinking about it, I can't imagine that they could possibly be very effective. I work w/ scientific equipment and use expensive check valves for clean gas lines that are only marginally effective. Get the slightest contamination in them and they don't seal. Just a guess, the main sewer line from your house isn't exactly a clean line. There's bound to be something get hung up on the check valve and prevent it from sealing. In that case, you're still gonna get back flow, just slowed down. If you have flooding for even 6-8 hours, that's going to let enough past to cause problems.

I suppose if the flooding is never as high as your foundation, raising the basement waste lines overhead would prevent backups. Then of course you'll have to add in a sewage pump that will be prone to failure at the least opportune moment.

Put in a pump that will try to keep things pumped out faster than the stuff is backing up the line. Not an attractive solution either. Maybe coupled w/ a check valve it would provide fairly reliable protection. Put in the check valve to prevent backflow. Then install a pump behind it. If things start backing up, the pump would kick in and force the water back out. Similar to the setup for a sump pump. Right off hand, I can't think how you could do it so you didn't have everything running through the pump during "normal" conditions when you don't need it, or necessarily want it. I'm sure there are some creative ways to deal with the problem.

I simpathize with your situation, however I am also glad it is not me having to deal w/ it myself.

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