Main Sewer Drain Caps & Backwater Valve Install

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Bert Lee, Nov 4, 2019.

  1. Bert Lee

    Bert Lee Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2019
    Location:
    Central, NY
    Quick question please These caps on my main sewage drain are white plastic and I found that they are not all that secure. One was oozing so I tapped it lightly with a mallet and it just rocked a bit on the pipe. All others reacted the same. Should these be better set with some sort of adhesive to avoid leaks and gas? I am more worried because we had an historic rain event last Thursday that had sewage water backing up through my basement utility sink which made a bit of a mess until I stopped it off. I then learned it's fairly common in my neighborhood during major rain events where the sewer lines get overwhelmed with storm water. There is a bit back pressure on that pipe and if one of those blow off I have REAL issues in the basement. So, I'd like to know the best material to use to secure those please

    Regarding the utility sink drain, I picked up a couple nice 1.5" gripper plugs for the utility sink drain which should serve as a suitable back flow stopper for any future events. But I'd be curious to know if anyone has any other ideas for an option I can put on the trap side, perhaps a 1.25" pvc ball valve? Easy 1/4 turn on and off. It's tight under there though and I'd love something with easy access. Thought of cutting a larger rain hole and installing a kitchen sink basket with a screw down basket and stopper but not sure that would hold the back flow back.

    IMG_4460.jpg
     
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Those plastic caps could maybe use a little PTFE tape, or even just another 1/16 turn of snugging.

    The best long term solution is "overhead sewers". I did not see that term discussed for Oneida County or Utica NY. You might consider a chat with the local sewer department about what works well in your area. Some places have grants to pay for part of the upgrade.

    Your ball valve idea for the sink sounds interesting. I would think 1.5 inches seems more probable than 1.25.
     
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  4. Bert Lee

    Bert Lee Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2019
    Location:
    Central, NY
    So, those caps actually screw in? They felt like they were press fit. I'll have to look again then. Overhead sewer is a new one for me. I'll research a bit more. Thank you
     
  5. Plumbs

    Plumbs In the Trades

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2019
    Location:
    Virginia
    If you have space you can install a backwater valve to prevent sewage backing up into your house.
    Those caps should thread into the fittings. If not then the threads are probably damaged.
     
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  6. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    That whole house trap is no longer recommended most places. If you do any changes in that area, such as adding a backwater valve, look to be rid of the whole-house trap.

    The good backwater valves are "normally open". The ones with a hanging flapper almost invariably fail to close with time due to debris. I am not a plumber.
     
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  7. Bert Lee

    Bert Lee Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2019
    Location:
    Central, NY
    This is what I was dealing with the sink. a first for me and avoided putting the sink plug in because I thought it would only move the problem upstairs and that would be really bad. So, the wife and I bailed with buckets for well over an hour barely keeping up. Ugly work Then I placed two sump pumps in that sink but with only a garden hose per pump as an outlet that also barely kept up but saved the bucket brigade while I addressed other things, like the sump pumps whose outlet pipes were under 5+ feet of water 100' down the yard and losing their fight to pump the usual ground water out of the sump pits. So I decided to try the rubber stopper in the drain and damned if that didn't work perfectly! And no upstairs flooding. Just no drain or toilet use for a while. That freed the two additional pumps to now do ground water duty. Three garden hoses on the two extra pumps brought me to balance and a minute to exhale. Many lessons learned that night with what things I need to do before the next big one.

     
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  8. Bert Lee

    Bert Lee Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2019
    Location:
    Central, NY
    And, while hard to see in the dark this was raging along my property line

     
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  9. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    The water won't rise above street level usually.

    You could supplement that with a concrete block etc on top of the stopper to give a little extra downthrust assist.

    Here is something else to consider: is your basement the lowest in your block? The person with the lowest basement will take steps to stop the water, and that will leave more water next time for his neighbors who were just a little higher.
     
  10. Bert Lee

    Bert Lee Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2019
    Location:
    Central, NY
    Weight is a good idea. I just got a couple of these. Cheap and feels great in there, very secure.

    Plug.JPG

    I am not the lowest house on the block. Close though. The manhole covers in the road were bubbling over though. I like the idea of a backwater valve. And reasonably priced. That actually solves a couple issues and offers peace of mind. I just wouldn't know when the drain is open and safe for use.
     
  11. Plumbs

    Plumbs In the Trades

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2019
    Location:
    Virginia
    What you can do is install the backwater valve and a water alarm near the top of your utility sink. That way if there's a clog you'll be alerted and you'll know to stop using water in your house.
    With the backwater valve you won't have to worry about your neighbors' sewage entering your house, you'd just have to worry about your usage during a storm.
     
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  12. jadziedzic

    jadziedzic Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2006
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    It looks like the OP has (female) threaded PVC hubs that are stuck into the openings in the cast iron pipes (likely surrounded by a rubber donut), with male thread PVC caps screwed into the hubs. It may be the rubber donuts are sized incorrectly to allow fluid leakage past the PVC hubs where they insert into the donut.
     
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  13. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Orlando, Florida
    Your sewer caps do not look like the original. In the CI pipe are Fernco donuts https://www.fernco.com/plumbing/donuts-o-rings/donuts and those caps do appear to press fit in. I would remove those caps, insert a 3 or 4" PVC pipe and then cap off with Fernco end cap. https://www.fernco.com/plumbing/residential-plumbing/qwik-caps

    OR glue on a threaded coupling and then screw on end caps.

    For your backup problem, you can remove the trap as shown in the picture since they are no longer needed by code.. in that space add a backwater valve as suggested by Reach4. That kind of work is best done by a plumber unless you have the tools.
     
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  14. Bert Lee

    Bert Lee Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2019
    Location:
    Central, NY
    Is it acceptable to remove those plastic bits altogether and simply cover with three of the Fernco Quik Caps? What is the preferred adhesive, presumably in a caulk tube, for securing the rubber donuts, or what I already have? I like also the idea of a donut with a smaller PVC clean out w/ cap.

    I did confirm with a codes guy today that, as noted here, the whole house trap is not required and can come out, leaving a perfect place to install the backwater valve. There is even PVC feeding that cast section which simplifies the job. The only thing would be since it's so close to the wall is it OK to add a pair of opposed 45* sections to move that drain pipe off the wall far enough to accommodate the valve or is it required to remain straight with now redirects?
     
  15. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Did you understand the bit about normally-open vs normally closed?
     
  16. Plumbs

    Plumbs In the Trades

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2019
    Location:
    Virginia
    Using 45s is fine.
     
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  17. Bert Lee

    Bert Lee Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2019
    Location:
    Central, NY
    I think so. I certainly get the normally open concept and since I understood that as the preferred style I have only been researching those. Let me know if I am missing anything. This whole idea is an eye opener as a fairly easy and effective solution to a bad issue. Thanks to everyone for discussing it.

    Not sure which is 'best' but thus style seems pretty standard for the type:

    http://backwatervalve.com/products/fullport-backwater-valve.html

    And, in my application seems perfect, with the easy clean access out and especially the clear top that would allow instant visual confirmation that there is a back up issue and to avoid using the drains until that clears and opens. Takes all the guess work out of it.

    I have seen these being installed with the Fernco style flexible rubber connectors w/ clamps. Is that an acceptable installation method on the main sewer drain? Mine wouldn't be buried.
     
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  18. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Good choice. Note the input and output are not exactly in-line. Output is a tad lower.

    Drain connections that are not buried can be made with shielded couplings such as Fernco Proflex.
     
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  19. Bert Lee

    Bert Lee Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2019
    Location:
    Central, NY
    I finally completed the final install details for my Mainline Backwater Valve install. Overall pleased with everything, flows beautifully. Probably a but unorthodox in the install in moving away from the wall but with the main drain running down, and secured to, the wall I didn't know what else to do. And, it's a modular setup so any portion can be pretty easily removed or replaced/serviced as needed all the way to reinstalling the cut out section of the original pipe. I wish I could find the cap alarm system but they're just not out there anymore it seems. Thanks all for the heads up on these. No one I spoke to in my area has any real idea about these it seems.

    IMG_4773.jpg IMG_4775.jpg IMG_4770.jpg IMG_4771.jpg
     
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  20. mliu

    mliu Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    Try this company: http://www.backwater-valves.com/flood-alarm.asp

    I also found one on Amazon:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
  21. mliu

    mliu Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    Since you live in an area where flooding and sewer back-pressure are known problems, I would also consider adding a backwater overflow device (either a "mushroom" or a "popper") outside your home (if local codes permit you to do so; in some jurisdictions, it's required if you want to want to preserve liability claims for sewage damage). This is an easy and inexpensive retrofit if you already have an existing cleanout in your yard. If not, then it's a bit more involved because you have to excavate to the sewage line and cut into it to add a cleanout riser.

    I think the mushroom style is less prone to failure, but the popper is inconspicuous so more esthetic if the placement of the device will be readily visible.

    Here's a link to more information about backwater overflow devices:

    https://www.wcwd.org/?SEC=BE371B59-7534-421A-979A-2866827F61A5
     
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