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Sewer Smart tips for protecting your home

Property owners have three effective strategies for preventing costly sewer backups into their homes or businesses.

Cleanouts and Backflow Prevention Devices (BPDs)

If your home was built or remodeled after 1962, local building codes require that the sewer system have a cleanout and a backflow prevention device, also called a sewer relief device.

If your sewer system doesn't have a cleanout, you should have one installed to allow access to clear any blockage in your sewer line.

Backup prevention devices (BPDs) allow water and backup materials to escape from the cleanout rather than flowing into the home. BPDs are commonly installed on your lateral connection to the sewer main.

You need a BPD if:

  • Your plumbing system is located below the cleanout.
  • Your plumbing system is located less than one foot above the nearest uphill sewer main manhole.

The type of BPD required depends on local codes and/or building requirements. Examples of BPDs include a mushroom-shaped metal device in the yard near the house or a spring-loaded or weighted cover on a sewer line cleanout near the house.

A properly installed BPD may also protect your home from damage-causing overflows should your own sewer lateral line - the connection between your home and the sewer main - be broken or otherwise become blocked.

Many BPDs can be installed by the homeowner or a plumber. If you remodel or add a bathroom to your home, BPDs, if not already installed, will be required.

Photos and more information on BPDs