Flood Protection for your Home
To flood protect your home you should understand Fort St. John's two types of sewer systems as well as some key plumbing features.
The sanitary sewer carries wastewater (sewage) from your home's plumbing fixtures (toilets, sinks, laundry) to the City's Wastewater Treatment Facilities.
The storm sewer carries water from the street and lane to drainage discharge courses, and ultimately to the Peace and Beatton Rivers.
Weeping tile is the perforated pipe that is buried around the foundation of your home. This pipe collects the water that pools around your home's footings and channels it to the City's sewers instead of into your basement. Older homes (built before 1960s) may not have weeping tile. Depending on when your home was built, your weeping tile was connected to either the sanitary sewer or a sump pump, which pumps the water out onto your lawn.
The backwater valve is a component of your plumbing system that prevents water from backing up your sanitary sewer services when the City's sewers are overloaded. The cleanout allows you to access your sanitary service connection for maintenance and inspection through a screw on cover.
The key to flood protecting your home is a properly graded lot and a well maintained backwater valve and cleanout. Annual maintenance is absolutely essential to flood protect your home.
Causes of Flooding
Flooding in your basement is most likely when there is heavy rain or rapidly melting snow. The amount of water in your basement can often help to determine the root of the problem.
Backwater Valve and Cleanout Maintenance
During heavy rainfall, the storm sewer, and sometimes the sanitary sewer, may become overloaded and force water back into your property's service line. If your backwater valve or cleanout is not secure, missing a cover, or broken this water can be forced from the pipe and into your basement.
Your backwater valve and cleanout are located near a perimeter wall in an access chamber below the basement floor, most often in your utility room. They might be hidden under carpet or behind boxes of stored goods.
Depending on the age of your home, you may only have sanitary service or both sanitary and weeping tile. There should be a backwater valve on each.
Inspect your backwater valve(s) to make sure it is functioning as intended. When you remove the cover, a flapper valve should be visible. If it has fallen free from the valve body, reset the hinge as designed. If it is missing, have it replaced. Ensure that the flapper valve and threads are free of debris, sand and sediment. A pail of warm water (no soap) should be enough to wash the sediment from the valve body. When the flapper valve is clean and positioned correctly, tighten all covers including the cleanout so they are secure and water tight.
For more information on the sewer system or protecting your home from flooding, contact the Public Works Department or a local plumber for advice on other potential solutions.