The Philadelphia Water Department is tirelessly dealing with an on-going problem: unrelenting flooding issues for home and business owners. In some instances, flooding may be the result of defects in the property’s sewer lateral. Philadelphia’s combined sewer system, which was built back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, was designed to handle both wastewater and storm water. Factoring in time passages with increased development and intense (and more frequent) rain storms, the system was originally designed to handle excess amounts of water by emptying into nearby creeks and rivers. Currently, the overflow into the waterways is being handled in an environmentally-friendly and cost-effective manner along with the effort to reduce these adverse impacts to waterways over the next 25 years. While the city works to implement long-lasting solutions to handle the excess strain on the sewer system, an innovative program has been set in motion in an effort to protect customers’ properties from flooding during intense rain storms.
To protect your home’s structure and contents, The Philadelphia Water Department has introduced the Basement Protection Plan which will include the installation of a backwater valve on the basement plumbing fixtures, or on your main house drain. This will depend on the best type of installation for your specific property. An inspector and a contracted plumber will perform the following inspections: observe the property lateral to ensure its functionality. Inspect your basement to verify the number of plumbing fixtures (floor drain, utility sink, toilet, and shower). The plumber will then suggest the appropriate means and location of installation for backwater valves, as well as provide you with the proposed scope of work for the backwater valve retrofits to your property.
Interesting fact: If you lined up all the pipes in Philadelphia’s sewer system, it would be 3,716 miles long, roughly the distance from New York City to Los Angeles.