Seasonal Reminder: Backwater Valve Maintenance


Seasonal Reminder: Backwater Valve Maintenance


March 03, 2017
A properly maintained backwater valve on your sewer lateral pipe prevents stormwater and sewage from entering your home through sewer connections when water levels rise (surcharge) in City sewers. The sewer lateral connects your plumbing to the City’s sewer main.

Backwater valves were mandatory in new homes after 2004 (stormwater) and 2012 (sanitary), but some older homes have had them installed retroactively.

If you are unsure of if you have a valve installed on your property, check between the last branch of your sewer line and where the pipe exits your foundation. It may look like a Y-shaped (wye) fitting with the wye branch plugged and pointing upward. If it’s in your yard, it is most likely buried and could be several feet deep.

A protective plumbing device should be maintained periodically or before a forecasted heavy rainfall to ensure it is free of debris, functioning properly, and that cleanout caps and access covers are firmly secured.

Maintenance and inspection of backwater valve(s) in your home should be completed according to the manufacturer’s direction. If you are unsure about the condition of the valve, or are not able to complete the required maintenance, a licensed plumber can perform an inspection.

For more information on how to maintain your backwater valve, along with additional information about sewer backups and flooding, please visit

If you do not have a backwater valve or other protective plumbing device in your home and are interested in having one installed, the City of Ottawa’s Residential Protective Plumbing Program offers a rebate. No history of prior flooding is required to qualify. For more information, please visit

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