Wednesday, June 2, 2021 - 11:44am

MADISON, WI – All eligible property owners who install a backwater valve in their home may be eligible to get reimbursed 75 percent of the installation cost up to $1,500.

City Engineering is offering a backwater valve incentive program to residents who want to protect their home from experiencing a sewer backup. A sewer backup is when sewer wastewater has no place to go but back through the pipe into a basement, or the path of least resistance, when its traditional path is blocked. If residents have a backwater valve, it can protect a basement from the wastewater flowing back into the home.

A sewer backwater valve is a valve designed to allow flow in a sewer pipe to occur in only one direction. The backwater valve allows flow out of the home through the sewer pipe but will close and block flow coming back from the sewer main pipe.

Program Eligibility

  • 1- or 2-unit residential properties
  • Homeowner does not have a backwater valve installed in their home
  • Homes are five or more years old and have had occupancy for five or more years

Sewer backwater valve benefits
Many Madison area homes are older and lack protection against backups.  Sewer backups create a public health and safety hazard and can be expensive for homeowners to cleanup. Sewer backwater valves provide additional protection for homeowners.
As infrastructure gets older, sewer and water mains become likely to fail. Failure of water mains, storm sewers, and sanitary sewers may cause increased fluid flow into the sanitary sewers and may result in backups into sewer laterals to residences.  Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent in the Madison area and may cause more frequent failures in the sewer system.  Properties in low lying areas and properties near bodies of water may be especially susceptible to backups caused by extreme weather events.  Unexpected clogging of sanitary sewer mains caused by buildup of grease, sanitary wipes, and other items in the sanitary sewer system can also results in backups. 

Maintenance required for a backwater valve
Annual maintenance of the backwater valve is recommended to make sure that it is properly functioning.  Cleaning can be performed by a plumber, a sewer lateral cleaning service or the homeowner.

Resources
Learn about the Backwater Valve Program
If you experience a sewer backup, call Engineering Operations at 608-266-4430.
Learn more about sewer backups
Everyday Engineering Podcast Episode on basement drainage

Contacts


Agency: 
Engineering