Berkley extends reimbursement program on backwater check valves

 A reimbursement program that covers fees related to the installation of backwater check valves inside residential homes is being extended by Berkley.

A reimbursement program that covers fees related to the installation of backwater check valves inside residential homes is being extended by Berkley.

File photo by Mike Koury


By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published December 4, 2017

BERKLEY — The city of Berkley is extending a reimbursement program that covers fees related to the installation of backwater check valves inside residential homes.

Approved during the Nov. 20 City Council meeting, a backwater check valve is a device that prevents sewage water from flowing into a resident’s home.

The reimbursement program came after the Aug. 28 rain event, when many homes in Berkley flooded. According to City Manager Matthew Baumgarten, it will extend to Feb. 28 so people will have some time after the holiday season to put one in their home.

“You don’t know where the weather’s going to go,” he said. “We’re seeing more intense storms, and we’re seeing these storms more frequently, and our infrastructure, we believe, meets the standards. It’s possible that we get a storm that exceeds the standards, and then this is how you protect the individual households from water surcharge, from sewer surcharging, from flood waters in general.”

Baumgarten said residents, if they choose to install one of the valves, first will pay the permit fee, then go through the normal permit process of having everything inspected and have it signed off on by the city’s inspectors. After filling out some forms and submitting them to the city, the resident will be reimbursed for the fees.

“This, plus good information and a working knowledge of their home’s drainage and plumbing system, should just furthermore incentivize people to take the step and installing these inside their home,” he said.

The city has been looking to inform residents more about what they can do personally to protect their homes from heavy rains and floodings after the August event, including holding an informational presentation Nov. 30 on the topic and the use of check valves.

“A question I hear often is, ‘How reliable are these systems?’ And my understanding is as long as the right type is installed, they’re properly installed and they’re maintained — they require a little bit of maintenance — as long as that’s done, these can be very reliable devices,” City Councilman Dennis Hennen said.

Baumgarten said the plumbing company advising them on check valves, Paul C. Scott & Sons Plumbing, spoke highly of backwater check valves and has not seen them fail.

“I’ve heard a lot of other plumbers say the same thing. As (Hennen) alluded to, proper installation and proper maintenance are key with these, but they are a very reliable product if well-maintained, like any other device in the home,” he said.