Water & Sewer

Backwater Valve Maintenance

Sometimes homeowners put items down their sinks or toilets which are problematic for the sewer system and for your backwater valve. The following items can clog pipes or tangle into massive knots that can damage the sewer, cause sewer backups and cause your backwater valve to not function properly.

  • Baby or Hygiene Wipes
  • Feminine Products
  • Kitty Litter
  • Dental Floss
  • Diapers
  • Condoms
  • Hair
  • Paper Towel
  • Rags
  • Food scraps
  • Fat, Oil or Grease
  • Paint

Please properly dispose of the above items to protect the sewer system and your backwater valve.

Check your backwater valve

You should check your backwater valve every 2-3 months or before a forecasted heavy rainfall. This will ensure that the valve is functioning properly. Debris found in the valve will most likely prevent it from function properly.

Always wear protective gloves and eye protection

Backwater Valve – Normally Open

Most Popular Version. It’s generally installed in the basement of the house. Maintenance Steps for the Backwater Valve:

  1. Locate the backwater valve. It is generally in the basement in an access box in the floor.
  2. Due to potential contact with wastewater, please wear protective gloves and eyewear.
  3. Remove Access Box lid.
  4. Unscrew the Cleanout Plug on the top of the Backwater Valve so you can visually inspect the inside of the valve.
  5. Using a flashlight is suggested so that you can see the entire Valve Body.
  6. Look for debris build-up on the Valve Body, Valve Gate, and beneath the Valve Gate.
  7. If debris build-up is found, clean by flushing the valve with a hose or bucket of water.
  8. If deposits of grease or other debris remain, scrubbing may be required to remove deposits.
  9. Once the debris is removed, ensure that the Valve Gate can move freely.  Do this by raising the Valve Gate and then lowering it back down to the open position.
  10. Reinstall the Cleanout Plug and ensure that it is tight.
  11. Repeat steps every 2 to 3 months and inspect before each forecasted heavy rainfall.

Backwater Valve

Backwater Valve – Adapt-A-Valve

Less Popular Version. This valve could be installed outside in the yard, driveway or in the basement. Maintenance Steps for the Adapt-A-Valve:

  1. Locate the Adapt-A-Valve. It is generally in the yard, driveway or could potentially be in the basement.  It may look like a typical sewer clean-out.
  2. Due to potential contact with wastewater, please wear protective gloves and eyewear.
  3. Remove Cleanout Plug.
  4. Using a flashlight is suggested so that you can see the entire Valve Body and Cassette Gate.
  5. Pull the 3/4" PVC Extendable Cassette up to remove the backwater valve Cassette Gate out of the body slot.
  6. Inspect Cassette Gate movement and o-rings on cassette to ensure that they are firmly set.
  7. Flush out any debris at the bottom of Valve Body.
  8. Carefully lower the 3/4" PVC Extendable Cassette and Cassette Gate back down the Extendable Riser and line up the back face with the fluorescent sticker on the Valve Body, this will guide the cassette into the Valve Body slots.
  9. Push gently down until the Cassette Gate stops and comes to rest with the bottom of the Valve Body.
  10. Apply a slight twisting motion to the 3/4" PVC Extendable Cassette to ensure the Cassette Gate is in the Valve Body slots (no twisting will be noticeable if the cassette is properly installed)
  11. If the 3/4" PVC Extendable Cassette twists at all, remove and begin the process again.
  12. Once secured, reinstall the Cleanout Plug or Access Box cover and ensure that it is tight.
  13. Repeat steps every 2 to 3 months and inspect before each forecasted heavy rainfall.

If you have difficulty maintaining your backwater valve, you may wish to consult a plumber or drain contractor to inspect and maintain your backwater valve.

Extended backwater valve

How to get a back water valve installed

The City of Hamilton offers property owners of single-family residential homes a grant (subsidy) of up to $2000 for the installation of a backwater valve and other eligible works that help to reduce the risk of basement flooding. Learn more about this program.