Where and how to install a check valve in a condo unit

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Tester, Sep 9, 2018.

  1. Tester

    Tester New Member

    Sep 9, 2018
    Washington DC
    Hi all,
    Would very much appreciate your advice. I own a condo unit in an old building (early 1900's) in Washington DC. The building was restored 20 years ago and turned into condo units. My unit includes a below ground full bedroom/full bath. While we have a sump pump in the closet off of the below ground bathroom, we've now experienced two back ups from the storm drains during heavy rains. Still trying to determine if the storm drains are *also* tied into the sewer lines.

    My challenge is trying to figure out how to prevent this from happening again as I'm now selling the unit (the most recent flood happened the day before we scheduled an open house and I had to pull the unit off the market).

    The city says the storm drain overflow isn't their responsibility. The condo association and condo management company says it's not theirs either. What I'm trying to get at is *what* solutions *are* available? Here's the sum total of my knowledge/questions. Any advice appreciated:

    1) Check valve on *my* drain line (tub, toilet, sink in basement bathroom) before it ties into the common building drain? I've seen this suggested in a few other forums, but doesn't this also just push the storm drain overflow problem up the stack to other units? Is it even legal for me to do this on my own or am I risking lawsuits from other condo owners if their units start flooding as a result?

    2) Check valve on common building drain? If so, don't I risk the same overflow problem if any of the other tenants turn on their water, flush toilets, etc. during a storm?

    3) Install flood control system like this FloodGate system?


    Still see the same issues though if tenants use their water during a storm.

    FWIW, I'm also contacting an attorney as the previous seller didn't disclose any of these issues and the condo association has known about and failed to rectify the issue. The city denies all responsibility, so I'm kind of dead in the water until I have a solution I can propose.
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    If you're willing to install a sump and a sewerage ejector pump, you can prevent this from happening...essentially, your waste would go into a sump. The outlet of the pump would rise up high enough so that the sewer can't flow into your system, then fall down to exit.

    Both check valves and ejector pumps will require maintenance. But, with a high loop, you won't get waste/water from outside into your unit if the check valve gets stuck or leaks. If the pump or sump can't handle things...the drain lines will fill, but unless you continue to use things, it won't backup with unlimited volume like it can from the street.
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