backflow/check valve code

Discussion in 'Illinois Plumbing Code Questions' started by benniebeeker, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. benniebeeker

    benniebeeker New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Hello all,

    Our building floods in the basement every 2-3 years due to insufficient capacity of the city sewers. Basically, rainwater takes over during really bad storms and it just backs up through our floor drains. We have been struggling to get a backflow/check valve installed but are getting the runaround from a handful of plumbers. Basically, we need someone who is familiar with city rules and regulations to clarify a few things for us.

    First a little more information. We had our roof runoff downspouts diverted out into the alley instead of into the catch basin where our other lines run into. This helped significantly when we had our last flood. We only had an inch instead of a foot. Plumbers have been able to locate the pipe at the street. Sadly, it runs underneath a load bearing wall and then follows through underneath one of the units making it almost impossible to install inside the exterior wall. It would mean that we would have to have it installed inside of that unit. We were told that the check valves would need a service port so they can be greased and maintained annually.

    One plumber told us that they would need to put the service port and check valve in the unit and claim that no odor/spill would incur. I find this difficult to believe. Another plumber told is that we have no choice but to put it out at the street since it is against building code to put a service port inside of a building. This same plumber told us that most plumbers want to put the valves inside of the building to cut costs. They don't want to chase the permits that are required to do the work in the sidewalk (or pay the fees) and they don't have to dig nearly as deep if they install it as close to the back as possible.

    Is anyone familiar with City of Chicago code? Can they confirm that it is indeed against code to have check valves installed within the walls of the building? Assuming that we can go this road, what are the chances that an odor will take over and what are the chances that we get a spill?

    Any insight would be greatly appreciated. This project has been ongoing for almost a year now. We haven't had a single consistent answer!!!!
  2. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,706
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    There is nothing against the code to install a back water valve inside the building. The valve is sealed tight so you will not get any odors. It does need to be able to be serviced which is recommended to be done yearly. Just putting in a backwater valve will only solve the trouble of the city sewer backing up into the building. A flood control is a much better solution. Most flood controls are installed outside, which requires a manhole to be installed with the backwater valve, an overflow pipe on the house side of the backwater valve and a ejector pit/pump. When the city sewer backs up the backwater valve is forced closed preventing the city sewer from backing up in the building, but now the building waste water can not flow out anymore so it will leave out of the overflow pipe into the ejector pit, the pump will then pump the buildings waste water out beyond the backwater valve.

    Now there is an inside version of a flood control system you can install by Tramco, its called the Tramco 960 http://www.tramcopump.com/ResidentialDetails.cfm?ProdID=26

    Here is the only requirements by the City of Chicago for installing a flood control
  3. benniebeeker

    benniebeeker New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    thank you for the reply... do you know of anyone that would be willing to do the flood control system out in our sidewalk??? We got a quote for 11k for a valve, basin, and ejector pump. Does this seem reasonable????

    any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

    regards,

    ben
  4. benniebeeker

    benniebeeker New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    on a side note, most plumbers that we have talked to do NOT want to touch the sidewalk... the way our unit layout / main sewer line work, the only we place we can put it is in the sidewalk... we are NOT going to put one in the unit that it is under... the rest of the pipe is under a load wall...
  5. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,706
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Now putting a flood control on city property is a different story. In the past I never seen the city allow anyone to put a clean out or a flood control on their property. 11K is not a bad price, it is a big job. They have to dig out a large enough area and haul away all the debris they dig out, put in the pump pit below the grade of the sewer line, install the backwater valve the overflow tee then make a cement base Then they have to install the manhole, some use pre cast basins others will build one with catch basin blocks (we build ours). Then they have to install the pump, run the electricity.

    You are best to call the city Sewer department to find out what they will or will not allow. BTW in Chicago you do not want a plumber for this, you need some one with a Sewer and Drain Layer license.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2011
  6. benniebeeker

    benniebeeker New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    interesting that you say that you have never heard of people putting sewer solutions on public property... most plumbers we spoke with have never heard of this either... there are only 2 that i have dealt with which say that it is possible... to install under the sidewalk, we need to pay an annual fee on the amount of square footage we are using... in our case, it is about $450 a year... totally worth it to prevent the flooding we have been having every few years... its a frickin headache...
  7. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,706
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    The Tramco 960 is a very good solution to be installed in the building / home. Then there would be no question about public property, and the cost of the install will be a few thousand cheaper. I have put in the Tramco 960 for 9800.00 and in that case electricity was near by to run the pump.
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,287
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    That is a lift station, which operates by gravity as a fallback option. Years ago, in Chicago, there was a company which made a system which was completely in the floor. It was basically a backflow valve with a pump to take over during flooded conditions to pump out any water used in the building, or which seeped through the BFV. Are you old enough to remember them if you ever heard of the company?
  9. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,706
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Are you talking about the unit that has the floats attached to the flapper in the backwater valve? If so my dad knew the guy that invented that system. I can not recall the name of the company right now, I will talk to my dad in the morning and ask him and post.

    There where thredifferentnt systems out here. The one with the two floats attached to the backwater valve, then there was one that had a motor and a fine thread screw, when the city sewer backed up the motor would close the gate valve. That unit was a large metal box, seen mostly in Cicero. Then the system my father installed which is the outside manhole with the backwater valve 2" ejector.
  10. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,706
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    The company was All Power Sewer Service, the owner used to be parnters with Geroge Holmes from Dombrowskie & Holmes. The other system installer around here is EverReady. Them where the two big flood control installers in the Chicago area.
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