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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Northern New Jersey
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    36

    Default Sewer Line Jetting leading to toilet overflows

    Hello,

    When the town hires the company to jet the sewer lines, since our house being at the bottom of the system, we end up with both first and second floor toilets overflowing. Not only is the smell daunting and potentially a health hazard, but the water makes its way through the 1st floor ceiling (via the fan) and requires I replace that section of the ceiling (once was ok, 2 times, not so much). I've had many a calls to our department of public works and waste control asking them to notify us so that we can at least drain the toilet (not sure if that would actually do anything), but they do not. A bigger concern is that this happens while one of the kids is sitting on said toilet. Our daughter already had such an experience at the local Ikea (automatic flush that did not go down), and it was not a good outcome.

    Now I know we need to call a plumber and install a one-way valve. My questions is:

    1) Does that valve have to be installed outside the property, or can it be done inside? Concerned about the cost of digging up the yard, permits, etc.

    2) Is such a valve the way to go, or are there better options?


    Any suggestions highly appreciated.
    Last edited by Coda24; 03-27-2014 at 09:34 AM. Reason: wrong use of "it's"
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    South*East
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    1,227

    Default Re: Sewer Line Jetting leading to toilet overflows

    The one way valve is called a backwater valve. It needs to be installed on the main waste line before any fixtures connect to it. If that can be done inside the building it would be OK. Along with the back water valve there should be a cleanout installed on each side of it.
    John

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Montreal Canada
    Posts
    218

    Default Re: Sewer Line Jetting leading to toilet overflows

    Quote Originally Posted by Coda24 View Post
    Hello,

    When the town hires the company to jet the sewer lines, since our house being at the bottom of the system, we end up with both first and second floor toilets overflowing. Not only is the smell daunting and potentially a health hazard, but the water makes it's way through the 1st floor ceiling (via the fan) and requires I replace that section of the ceiling (once was ok, 2 times, not so much). I've had many a calls to our department of public works and waste control asking them to notify us so that we can at least drain the toilet (not sure if that would actually do anything), but they do not. A bigger concern is that this happens while one of the kids is sitting on said toilet. Our daughter already had such an experience at the local Ikea (automatic flush that did not go down), and it was not a good outcome.

    Now I know we need to call a plumber and install a one-way valve. My questions is:

    1) Does that valve have to be installed outside the property, or can it be done inside? Concerned about the cost of digging up the yard, permits, etc.

    2) Is such a valve the way to go, or are there better options?


    Any suggestions highly appreciated.
    Rather than a back water valve do the following.I worked as a city inspector and believe you have a claim.
    I might suggest that you make a claim against the city. Time is of the essence so do it today. Also get your insurance company involved. Sewage carries allsorts of nasty things and your house could be full of mold and bacteria. I know for a fact that if you have a sewage back up in the basement the insurance company will strips the basement back to the two by fours, then spray disinfectant, then install new drip wall carpets. What the city did caused you damages to you properly and you should hold them responsibly.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Sewer Line Jetting leading to toilet overflows

    Quote Originally Posted by bill shack View Post
    Rather than a back water valve do the following.I worked as a city inspector and believe you have a claim.
    I might suggest that you make a claim against the city. Time is of the essence so do it today. Also get your insurance company involved. Sewage carries allsorts of nasty things and your house could be full of mold and bacteria. I know for a fact that if you have a sewage back up in the basement the insurance company will strips the basement back to the two by fours, then spray disinfectant, then install new drip wall carpets. What the city did caused you damages to you properly and you should hold them responsibly.
    Without a backwater valve what will prevent the problem from happing again?
    John

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
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    6,762

    Default Re: Sewer Line Jetting leading to toilet overflows

    Bill,

    I can't see how a local court will rule the city responsible. The judge will probably say something like: "It's up to the homeowner to install a back flow valve to protect his property."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Northern New Jersey
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    36

    Thumbs up Re: Sewer Line Jetting leading to toilet overflows

    Quote Originally Posted by johnjh2o View Post
    The one way valve is called a backwater valve. It needs to be installed on the main waste line before any fixtures connect to it. If that can be done inside the building it would be OK. Along with the back water valve there should be a cleanout installed on each side of it.
    Thanks John.... I will check with local plumber and see if a backwater valve can be installed internally (right before pipe leaves house) or if this will have to be done outside.

    I agree that while I would like to file a claim against the city (more so after having requested that they alert before jetting), my #1 priority is finding a solution so that this does not become an ongoing issue.

    Regards,
    Rich
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Montreal Canada
    Posts
    218

    Default Re: Sewer Line Jetting leading to toilet overflows

    Quote Originally Posted by dj1 View Post
    Bill,

    I can't see how a local court will rule the city responsible. The judge will probably say something like: "It's up to the homeowner to install a back flow valve to protect his property."
    It is a point of law that if some one causes damage to your property then you can hold them responsible. If the local by-laws called for a back water valve and none existed, then the home owner loses as you say . However if the contractor hired by the city failed to protect the house from sewer back up then the city and the contractor is responsible. A quick phone call to the local city and ask if back water valves are mandatory on all houses will answer that question.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,203

    Default Re: Sewer Line Jetting leading to toilet overflows

    I'm with Bill on this one. Even if backflow preventers are mandated now, unless the relevant authorities required all previous hook-ups to be upgraded they are still responsible for protecting for the ones which do not have this. They can make no claim of general indemnity if they did nothing to address a known problem but they will try to tell you they can. Furthermore the State EPA will want to know why the city is doing anything to cause loss of contained sewage after they knew it was happening- they may even want to see some city officials in court for a nice little chat in front of a Judge. A class-action vulture, er I mean lawyer, would be salivating at this chance My brother's family went through he!! because of a sewer backup in Sacramento and he thought he was safe since he lived well up on a hill- what got them came from above when the clog was below. The gov't covered every expense because they knew they had to, not because they wanted to, and this was an unforeseeable accident, not an intentional action which makes them even more culpable!

    Required or not, all homes connected to a sewer should have one of these. Put the device as close to the sewer on your property as you can- this will facilitate your cleaning out the lines as far as possible should that ever be needed in the future. Like a pressure regulator for the feed line, these isolate you from problems beyond your control and it's always money well spent to do that. In this case if it goes to court one of your demands should be for the city to install these gratis on all unprotected line connections before they do any more jetting to protect all the good citizens from them, not just you.

    Phil
    Last edited by Mastercarpentry; 03-30-2014 at 05:43 PM.

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