Canadian Underwriter

ICLR launches backwater valve installation website for homeowners and professionals

April 5, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter

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The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) has launched a backwater valve installation website to provide basic information about sewage backflow prevention devices to assist homeowners in better understanding what they are and how they work, and aid plumbing professionals on the protocols that should be followed to ensure that such devices are installed properly.

The website was launched on Wednesday.

The website provides information on such topics as:

  • Getting the right information before starting a backwater valve installation;
  • Selecting a plumber or contractor;
  • Conducting plumbing investigations and closed circuit television (CCTV) inspections of sewer laterals, including important things to ask plumbers when they are conducting inspections;
  • What to consider if a sewer lateral is in poor condition or found to be the cause of sewer backup;
  • Ensuring that all connections to the sanitary lateral are identified;
  • Choosing a backwater valve;
  • How to install a backwater valve and checking to ensure that it is installed properly; and
  • Maintenance tips for backwater valves.

As for the protocol, it provides a review of the necessary steps involved in the installation of a backwater valve and is relevant to all homes serviced by underground, public sewer systems, typically located in urban areas.

According to Dan Sandink, director of research for ICLR and architect of the backwater valve protocol website, “backwater valves are an important component of many basement flood mitigation programs. They aren’t the only consideration, but they are key. However, it is of primary importance that backwater valves be properly installed and the devices be subject to regular inspection and maintenance long after to ensure that they do what they are meant to do – keep unwanted wastewater out of basements.”

Sandink even said that there have been municipal inspectors sharing stories of finding backwater valves installed backwards. “I have seen first hand backwater valves that have been installed without the required slope, meaning that they are at greater risk of failure over their service life,” he said, adding that ICLR has also been told of “improperly maintained backwater valves that have been found clogged with debris, blocked up with globs of cooking fat or that have their gates stuck in the open position. There are a host of problems out there regarding backwater valves and we are trying to address many of them through this new protocol website.”