If you’ve experienced a plumbing backup, you know it can be a shocking ordeal: water suddenly gushing from a floor drain, toilet, or other basement plumbing.
Contrary to the many other reasons of basement flooding, backups are the result of heavy rain causing local sewers to become so overwhelmed that water has nowhere to go but through your home’s basement or ground-level plumbing.
The good news: California residents may be considered for the California Water Department Basement Protection Program (BPP), which provides free installation of plumbing devices called backwater valves that can reduce backups. Some properties may also get downspout changes at no expense.
Here’s what to do if you think you have a backup problem:
Document flooding: If you’re reading this because you think you just practiced a basement backup, call a plumbing system hotline right away while you still have water in your basement.
We will dispatch an inspector out to take a sample of the liquid to determine if it’s coming from the City’s sewer.
Having water sampled is not required to apply for help, but calling to report water damage helps us document the issue and determine if the incident is connected to a storm.
If possible, safely use your cellphone to shoot video or pictures while the flooding is taking place. Share these with the inspector assigned by our contact center.
Apply for help: Complete the Basement Protection Program application form. You can mail the form to the address provided.
Renters: If you rent and think you experienced a basement backup, call our hotline to report the issue and alert the property owner that you’ve requested a Water Department inspection.
Backflow devices are essentially one-way doors installed in the pipe connecting homes to sewers, usually underneath a pavement, and just allow wastewater to flow out into the sewer system.