The Edmonton Backwater Valve Rebate Program Explained


If your home is prone to flooding, you should install a backwater valve. It can mean the difference between a basement filled with sewage and a basement that stays clean and dry during heavy rainfall. The Edmonton backwater valve rebate program reimburses homeowners who install a valve up to $800. A plumber can install the valve on the main sewer line or a branch line to prevent sewer backup and flooding.

The Edmonton backwater valve rebate program applies to homeowners who had a flood and those who wish to prevent one. Residents must meet certain criteria for reimbursement. If the idea of a basement flooded with sewage water disgusts you, your local Edmonton plumber at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Edmonton can help. This article explains the importance of backwater valves. You'll also learn how to save money on the installation.

What is a Backwater Valve?

It's a simple device that provides the most effective way to prevent sewer backflow. It keeps raw sewage from backing up into your home through the floor drain, toilets, shower, and bathtub. A backwater valve goes in the drain pipe. It's a one-way valve with a flap. The flap lets water exit the home but closes to prevent the backflow into the home. 

When water backs up, it floods where the drain pipe connects to the home (usually the basement). Sewage backup causes expensive and gross basement floods. It can be a traumatic loss of personal property. Sewer backflow is a problem when there's heavy rainfall. In Edmonton, this can happen during the spring, summer, and even fall (who are we kidding, winter too). Extensive rainfall can cause the city sewer system to back up in residential drains in homes that don't have a working backwater valve.

The plumbing code now requires installing new homes with a backwater valve. But, older homes without the valve are at risk for flooding from sewer backups. The good news is the Edmonton backwater valve rebate helps offset the cost of installing a backwater valve. Homeowners can rest assured that their home is protected from the expense and inconvenience of flooding.

Does Your Home in Edmonton Need a Backwater Valve?

There are plenty of reasons to install a backwater valve. Our plumbing professionals will tell you they're an important part of any home plumbing system. The valve works using gravity. Once it's installed, the valve works independently to keep your home dry. If your home is flood-prone, you may already know you need a backwater valve. If not, the best way to determine if your home needs such a protective device is to evaluate your situation.

Look at current and potential flooding problems. Do you have heavy rains or flash floods? How old is the plumbing in your home? Is your home in a flood zone? Here are some key considerations when you're considering accessing the Edmonton backwater valve rebate program.

You Live in a Heavy Rainfall Area

In most older Edmonton neighborhoods, the sanitary and storm sewers are combined. Where this is the case, it means that heavy rains will drain into the sewers, and when there is too much for the city sewer to handle, it can back up into the nearby homes. If you are in one of these areas and sometimes experience lots of rain or flash floods, a backwater valve is essential. EPCOR works hard on the sewage and drainage systems, but they can't control the weather. Heavy rains and thunderstorms aren't optional in the Edmonton area. Hence, it is definitely wise to protect your home with a backwater valve to prevent serious damage—and protect your budget with help from the backwater valve rebate. 

Some Sump Pumps Connect to the Sewer

Each home drainage system has specific problems to overcome. Sump pumps are used when a home has groundwater that regularly tries to infiltrate the foundation. When the water table is above the foundation level of a house, water will attempt to enter the foundation through cracks or even through solid concrete. A sump is a hole dug under the foundation's level that helps collect this water so it can be pumped outside.

When your sump pump discharges outside in your yard, it won’t affect your sewer. However, some people have piped their sump pump to pump the groundwater into the sewer. This will be a problem if you have sewer issues because if your sewer backs up, that water won’t be able to go down and will end up causing basement flooding.

If your sump pump is connected to your sewer, you should look into installing a backwater valve installed with help from the city's backwater valve rebate to prevent flooding from your sump. With this being said, we don't recommend connecting your sump pump to your sewer for this reason.

Municipal Backups

Just like your home's sewer pipe, the municipal sewer can clog too. It doesn’t happen with the same frequency as residential sewer blockages, but it does happen, and you may require a sewer camera inspection to resolve the problem.

Imagine that this happens on your street. As people use water in their toilets, showers, and sinks, it all drains down into the blocked municipal sewer pipe. Once that pipe is full, that water and sewage will start backing up into homes that do not have working backwater valves installed. This is never a good situation and, again, can cause thousands in damage and cleanup costs.

You Don't Have a Backwater Valve

If you don't have one, the device and installation are relatively inexpensive, thanks to the backwater valve rebate program. The benefit is that your basement isn't likely to flood, which means you'll prevent flood damage and related cleanup expenses.

The fact is floods are bad news for homeowners. A small flood is a mess that takes time and effort to clean up. A major flood that includes sewage water is a nightmare. It damages your personal property. It can lead to mold and mildew, and it may damage your home's foundation. Plus, there's the yuck factor of sewage water. It's a good idea to be proactive. Installing a backwater valve keeps your home safe from potential sewer backup flooding.

How Does a Backwater Valve Prevent Sewer Backup?

In the past, plumbers installed normally closed check valves on the sewer branch lines in the basement of the home. Snaking a drain line through the check valve could damage the valve, and yet, you wouldn't know about the damage until there was a flooding problem. Now, plumbers use a mainline backwater valve installed on the main sewer drain for the home that stays open until a flood. This eliminated normally closed check valves in the home.

The true innovation of the backwater valve is the fact that it stays open and can be safely snaked. This is vital so the sewer line can vent gases through your home's roof vents. The normally open position of the valve provides an unrestricted flow of wastewater moving out and gases in. If there's a sewer backup, then the valve closes. This restricts the backflow and prevents sewer backup from moving beyond the valve. The many check valves inside the home couldn't do that.

The Edmonton Backwater Valve Rebate Program

Don't miss out on reimbursement for your backwater valve. Please keep reading to learn how to get the Edmonton backwater valve rebate. Keep in mind there are some requirements.

Are You Eligible?

First, don't do anything until you get pre-approval from the City of Edmonton or Edmonton Power and Water Utility (EPCOR). If your valve isn't pre-approved, you won't be eligible for a backwater valve rebate. If you received a pre-approval letter dated the previous, your request is considered for the following year's subsidy amount. Send the letter and details about your backwater valve installation to the city. They'll contact you about the subsidy. If you install your backwater valve without a pre-approval letter from the City of Edmonton or EPCOR, you won't get the backwater valve rebate.

Program Criteria

Installing a backwater valve can help to protect your home from a sewer line backup. The City of Edmonton’s backwater valve rebate provides financial help of up to $800 for an interior or exterior backwater valve installation.

The Edmonton backwater valve rebate is available for homeowners who meet the following requirements:

  1. Own a home built before 1989
  2. Have experienced previous basement floods from a sanitary sewer backup
  3. Live in sections of Edmonton that had previous flooding

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for the backwater valve rebate, residents must meet these requirements:

  1. No backwater valve currently exists in your home
  2. No previous subsidy was received for the application address
  3. Be a separately serviced single-family dwelling or duplex
  4. Get a pre-approval inspection by EPCOR Flood Protection

3 Steps to Apply for the Edmonton Backwater Valve Rebate

1. Get Pre-approval

The first step in getting approved for the backwater valve rebate is to email [email protected] to arrange for a home inspection. Include your name, phone number, and property address for the backwater valve installation. You'll receive a notification of the date and time of your home inspection.

A Flood Prevention Advisor must complete an interior home inspection before you install the backwater valve. An advisor will notify you of approval at the time of inspection. Once approved, you can proceed to Step 2.

2. Install the Backwater Valve

You have six months to install the backwater valve. Please be aware that the timing starts when they receive pre-approval from the Flood Prevention Advisor. Don't try to install the valve yourself; a professional plumber must complete the installation. The subsidy will only cover a Fullport Backwater Valve, FR-4 Fullport Retro Backwater Valve, or the Adapt-a-Valve. If you use a different valve, the backwater valve rebate won't apply.

3. Submit Your Subsidy Application

You must install the valve and submit your subsidy application within six months of the approval inspection. If not, you won't qualify anymore. Make sure your application includes proof of professional installation. Send a copy of the invoice. The type of valve installed must appear on the invoice. Include a copy of the City of Edmonton acceptable green sticker with the permit number with your application. Note that, unfortunately, subsidies are subject to the availability of funding for that year. There are no guarantees that your project will be funded.

Maintenance for Your Backwater Valve

You should plan on an annual inspection of your backwater valve. Have a licensed plumber test the valve for efficiency and clean it on a regular schedule. Proper maintenance guarantees your valve continues to work without problems. You don't want to learn it's broken or stuck because your basement flooded.

Backwater valves are durable. Yet, some have internal springs, seals, and moving parts. They can wear over time. The flapper of the valve can get stuck open. Debris can cause problems. Periodic maintenance by a professional keeps your backflow valve in good working shape.

Hire a Licensed Plumber to Install Your Backwater Valve

Homeowners must have a licensed plumber install their valves. Otherwise, you won't qualify for the Edmonton backflow valve rebate. And you may cause serious harm to your home and family. Sure, a skilled person could install the valve, but there's a good chance it won't meet plumbing codes. If that happens, you've wasted your money, lost out on the subsidy, and may cause health issues for your family.

Installation of some backflow devices needs specialized tools that aren't available commercially. These tools should be used by a licensed plumber. If you put in a backflow device with improper tools, it can malfunction. You may get the location wrong. If a sewer backflow valve is installed wrong, it could easily create sewer backup problems rather than prevent them. Plus, if there's an outlet before the sewer backwater valve, the sewer water can back up with great force. The force can be stronger than before the sewer valve was improperly installed.

Health issues with sewer backwater are serious. The water contains all kinds of harmful bacteria and pathogens. Human waste could enter your home on a large scale. If your home floods with sewer water, you'll need a professional cleaning service to get rid of the filth. The cleanup often costs more than a proper professional backwater valve installation. The bottom line: get the valve installed by a professional plumber with a city plumbing permit. You'll get the benefit of the subsidy and protect your home from flooding.

Can a Backwater Valve Fail?

A mainline backwater valve is durable and sturdy. The valve is designed to handle great pressure to stop sewage waste and water from entering your home through the main drain. There are, however, rare situations when the valve can't stop a basement from flooding. For example, the valve can become damaged from overuse and no maintenance.

Another instance is when residents don't know the valve is engaged. They continue to use the plumbing to do laundry or run the dishwasher. Don't use appliances during a heavy storm that's already taxing the drainage systems. The result is water that can't drain. It has nowhere to go, which results in a drain backup. You can install a backwater valve flood alarm to alert the home's residents when the valve is in use. The alarm tells people if the water they're using is draining.

We Can Help with Your Edmonton Backwater Valve Rebate

Mr. Rooter Plumbing has fully licensed and insured plumbers ready to meet all the Edmonton backwater valve rebate program requirements. Our professionals install and maintain backwater valves in Edmonton and the surrounding areas. We're ready to help you every step of the way. We document all our work, so it's easy to submit your application for your subsidy.

Contact Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Edmonton today and arrange a backwater valve installation, or discuss any of your plumbing needs. We look forward to working with you.