Plumbing in the Home/back check valve ?


We have lived in a underground home/basement home for 32 years. Never had a problem with septic water flowing back in the home until the last two years. We had two storms come through that produced 6 inch of rain in 1 1/2 hours. Our septic tank in the back yard was covered with water up to our ankles. Water came up into the house 1 inch, through the sewer pump to the septic. We were told that a back check valve should be installed. When the house was built we were told not to put a valve in it because it would get plugged with toilet paper and waste. We have put new pumps in our home last year and even added more. By code are we to have a check valve in the sewage pump? And if so how do you keep it from collecting waste on top of it?

Dear Judy,

I honestly don't know if the code requires a check valve or not... I believe that they are not required because they are responsible for problems quite often.  On the other hand, I believe that there have been some advances in the engineering of the systems since I have worked in the field.  First question that I would ask is if your pump is a "Grinder" pump and what size pipe is it using for the discharge?  Next, if the pump is a good grinder... meaning that it chops up solids into fine particles, then I would install a check valve on the vertical part of the pipe coming directly from the pump.  Then the valve would normally be closed and holding back liquids except when the pump operated and then the valve would open to expel the waste.

Plumbing in the Home

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Thomas Ambler


I am experienced at troubleshooting and solving all types of plumbing problems. Issues related to specific manufacturers fixtures and specifications though are beyond my field of expertise. I have dealt with problems in both rural and urban areas, and with water supply and drainage systems. Plumbing issues can be very obscure... such as odors, stains or occasional seepage. I have even had to chase rats from a customer's sewer line.


I have 25 years experience dealing with plumbing systems (which also includes hot water and steam heating systems). My main expertise is in diagnosing and solving problems. I have worked in construction and installation of new systems but do not regard myself as an expert in that area.

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I completed high school and one year of college. I served 4 years in the Marine Corps and have education in electronic and electrical troubleshooting and repair. I have attended classes on installing and repair of oil burners, and I have EPA universal certification for air conditioning and refrigeration. I am now enrolled as a full-time student at Everest college to re-train for a new career. Any donations of financial support would be greatly appreciated.

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All of Denny's Restaurants in NJ, Several Burger King stores, I have done work at two different homes for Bruce Springsteen. I have also worked for Jim Johnson (of J&J) and his family, Whitney Houston, Steve Forbes and many others.

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