Backwater valve

A client I inspected a home for had a problem with the home he was selling, an inspector had called out blocked access to his backwater valve, and he had agreed to get it fixed for the buyers. So he asked me to do it. So I did, and when we opened it up found that it was buried under 12" or so of gravel. I provided access and we closed everything up so my client can now move out of his old house, but,

My question is , why would anyone need to get access to this obviously well buried backwater valve?
Are there any serviceable parts?
Does it require periodic maintenance?
Please just answer if you are informed, I can already do ‘don’t know for sure’, and ‘my guess is…’ :slight_smile:

90% of the time they have been covered with flooring anyway, out of sight out of mind, but every home built in Edmonton since 1989 has one of these gizmos, so I could be calling it out on just about every home I inspect if I wanted to make everyone regret they had called in a home inspector.

My thoughts are there is nothing needed re maintenance or service, insurance companies want to know they are in place, so I tell my clients, tell your insurance companies, yes, my home was built after 1989, so there is one.

They require maintenance and to maintain them they need to be accessible.

Below copied from:

Q: With a Normally Open Gate Fullport Backwater Valve or Normally Open Gate Adapt-A-Valve, what is the chance of the gate not closing?
**A: **As long as the valve has been properly installed (proper slope, laminar flow rule followed) and is clean and maintained, it will close. You should inspect your valve every 3 months, removing any buildup noted, and hosing the gate and valve surfaces clean with water pressure as needed.

OK So given the plastic cover was half buried in the slab, the valve was covered with several cubic feet of gravel a foot below the slab, and that all of them are like that, any suggestions? Anyone?

Mine isn’t like that, its accessible.

I must live on a different planet what are you guys calling a backwater valve is it the main shut off for domestic water or what just curious. I may want to change planets some day;-)

Ok I learned something today we don’t use the term backwater on my planet we call them check valves and they are not required here except on sprinkler systems

Carry on gentlemen sorry I interrupted

Or get out more often;-):razz:.

Almost all of ours are covered as well Erik. They are usually in the basement family room under the carpet. If you feel around enough and have luck on your side you might feel the cover. They are not a requirement here but it is asked on most insurance forms. I asked a plumber once why they get covered in and his response was that they do not require maintenance and are fine to be covered in. This was just his opinion.

A backwater valve is on the sewer discharge line.

They are not needed in flat land areas.

Ok I understand backwater now but tell me this do they interfere with a sewer auger and the location of the cleanout. If one has to pull a commode to rod out a drain or come down the roof vent with a auger how do you get past the back water valve. Sorry I have never seen one installed or where exactly they are installed:mrgreen:

If a backwater valve is required one should have a clean out at both the main stack and at the foundation wall.