Ward 5 residents want backflow valves — and they want them now

The resident's meeting in Ward 5 was the first to include applications for the increased Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program.

Council approved an increase to the subsidy program and fast-track option on Monday

This backflow valve was on display for people at the Ward 5 residents meeting on Tuesday night. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

People attending the Ward 5 residents' meeting say they want to take advantage of the increased Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program and they're opting for the fast-track option. 

Council approved an increase to the program that will see on average an extra $500 provided per household to cover upgrades such as installing backflow valves and sump pumps following this year's historic flood. 

"We never had a flood like that before," said Bill Whitehead, who told CBC News that his basement was flooded out with knee-high water that ruined appliances and long cherished treasures, like his wife Betty's antique school desk. 

The Whitehead's home was hit twice during the storm. As water flowed in from the basement, Betty started to feel drips on her arm. 

Betty and Bill Whitehead both spent part of their night asking questions about the Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

"It was coming from the roof, the ceiling, and it was dripping on the couch," said Betty, who believes they'll need to replace the roof of their home, too. 

They have insurance but plan on applying for the subsidy program to make sure their basement isn't flooded next time heavy rainfall hits the area.

"We've already applied for program," said Betty, after spending most of Tuesday night's meeting at the Public Works booth examining the backflow valve. 

"And we don't want to have to re-do the basement if we're going to have to dig it up again."

Fast track preferred 

They're looking at the new fast-track option approved by council, which allows homeowners to start work immediately with an approved plumber who must document the installation. 

Once the work is done a city inspector looks over the completed work and then confirms if it's eligible for the subsidy.

Ward 6 councillor Ed Sleiman greets a resident during Tuesday night's meeting. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

"I have a backflow valve that worked partially and I'm not sure why it didn't work fully," said David Barris. 

"Since my backflow valve is more than five years old I qualify for the program as well."

Barris said he plans to submit an application and going with the fast-track option.

"I won't be waiting too long — not for the next flood," said Barris who heard from neighbours at the meeting who are also interested in applying for the program. 

Councillor: It works

Ward 5 councillor Ed Sleiman had a backflow valve installed in his basement 30 years ago.

"Does the backflow work? Yes," said Sleiman. "I know we had many times we've had a lot of rain ... and some of my neighbours come to me and said 'Ed, I have water in my basement, do you have any?' and I say 'No!"

Sleiman said he recommends the program to everyone while adding one of the most important parts of the backflow valve and sump pumps installations is the maintenance. 

"They have to inspect it every year, they have to clean it," said Sleiman. "I don't think it takes more than five minutes to do it."

About the Author

Chris Ensing

CBC News

Chris Ensing is a Video Journalist for CBC Windsor.