Alexandria, VA

(Updated 4:15 p.m.) After a week with two flood warnings, the city is reminding residents that a program is available for the city to cover half the costs for sewer backflow prevention — a source of much of the city’s flooding problems.

The Backflow Preventer (BFP) Assistance Program reimburses homeowners for up to 50% of the costs of installing a BFP device by a licensed plumbing contractor for up to a maximum of $2,000.

When a rainfall overloads the sewer system, water can back up into basements and flood properties, as many residents in the area discovered during intense floods last year and again late last month. BFPs keep that water from backing up along the pipes back into the property.

“An automatic BFP can be equipped with a battery-operated light (much like a smoke alarm) to tell the resident when it is open or closed,” the city said on the BFP website. “To protect, the BFP must be closed during the sewage overload period. This period varies depending on the size of storm, but generally lasts from 2 to 6 hours.”

Residents can apply for assistance online. According to the city, for a property to qualify:

  • Property must have a basement (finished or unfinished)
  • Plumber licensed by the State and City must install the BFP device
  • City must be granted access to verify installation
  • Owner/plumber must have obtained an installation permit and an approved final inspection
  • Owner and installer must certify to payment in full
  • Owner must accept responsibility and release City

Image via City of Alexandria

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