Residential Basement Valve Program

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Residential Basement Valve Program

The City of South Bend is dedicated to addressing sewer back-up problems through its sewer maintenance and rehabilitation program. However, sewer systems have the potential to overflow during periods of heavy rain.

This Basement Valve Program has been developed as part of South Bend’s ongoing efforts to reduce the risk of basement sewage back-ups. It is a partial cost reimbursement program for the installation of backflow prevention devices such as valves or other mechanisms installed by a licensed plumber and co-paid for by the City and the property owner as set out below. 

Who is eligible for this program?

To be eligible for participation in this program, you must meet each of the following criteria:

  • The property must be a single-family residential property.
  • The property must be used as the primary residence of the property owner.
  • The property must be connected to South Bend’s sewer system.

Additionally, property owners who have any outstanding debts owed to the City are not eligible for participation in this program.

What is the process for this program?

The process for the Basement Valve Program is: 

1.) Make sure you are eligible based on the above criteria.

2.) Fill out the application form and email to If you do not have email, call 574.235.5993.

3.) The City will review your application and assess your eligibility. You will be notified of the outcome of this assessment by written letter. There may be an annual limit to the number of participants. Once approval is granted, it is valid for three months.

4.) Once approved, the property owner contacts a plumber of choice. While the City does not recommend any plumbers or plumbing businesses, be sure to ask if they are licensed with the City of South Bend. You must use a licensed plumber.

5.) It is the property owner’s responsibility to organize the work to be done. The property owner pays for the service of the plumber and materials in full and obtains a receipt for the work. The receipt must clearly state that the work done was for the purpose of mitigating or preventing basement sewer back-ups and involved the installation of a basement backwater sewer valve, or other mechanism to achieve the same purpose.

6.) The property owner submits the original receipt to the Department of Public Works. It must indicate that the amount owed has been paid in full. You should keep a copy for your own records as the original receipt will not be returned.

7.) The City will reimburse the property owner 50% of the cost incurred to install the basement back-up prevention. There is a maximum reimbursement of $1,500. In cases where a reimbursement of the maximum amount is less than 50% of the total cost incurred, the property owner is responsible for the amount in excess. The reimbursement is set at a maximum of $1,500 per property, regardless of the number of basement valve devices installed.

8.) The City will inspect the completed work prior to making the reimbursement. By participating in the program, the property owner commits to facilitating this inspection.

9.) Property owners are reminded that for effective operation such devices will require regular (approximately yearly) maintenance. This may be as simple as checking that the valve swings without obstruction and is free of debris. The property owner is responsible for all maintenance.

311 Process Notes

All calls from residents who want to talk to someone about this program should be directed to Kieran Fahey at or 574.235.5993.