Required device? – Back-flow gadget may be mandated in Nevada City |

Required device? – Back-flow gadget may be mandated in Nevada City

All residents and building owners in Nevada City may be required to install devices that prevent sewage from backing up into their homes, the City Council decided Monday.

The installation of a so-called “back-flow device” could cost $800 each, several local plumbers said Tuesday.

The T-shaped devices are already required in new buildings and for significant remodels.

Now, however, they are needed in every structure to protect the city from costly claims caused by sewage backups and for public health, City Manager Mark Miller said.

The city has been slapped with tens of thousands of dollars of claims stemming from backups or spills from the city’s aging sewer system, Miller said.

“(We) just don’t want there to be children’s toys floating in the backed-up sewage,” Miller said. “It’s a very unnecessary and unhealthful situation people can prevent.”

The resolution considered by the council Monday would require all improved property owners to install a device by July 1. There would be no enforcement, however.

The device itself is relatively inexpensive and costs about $50, Miller said.

But installation would require digging up the sewer line between the main line and the building, cutting through the pipe, installing the device, and then sealing the pipe.

The property owner could install the device but the procedure is “difficult,” said Ralph Metreyeon, a plumber retired from Gold Country Plumbing.

A plumber could do the job in a few hours, said licensed plumber David Kendall, with Fixed and Flowing Plumbing.

“It’s not going to be cheap,” Metreyeon said. He estimated the job would cost between $800 and $1,000.

Kendall said he doubted the resolution would pass.

“I really don’t think the city would require every homeowner to put out between $300 and $800 to get this done, I just don’t,” Kendall said.

The city needs the resolution to protect itself from claims from a massive sewage spill, City Attorney Jim Anderson said.

“By passing something like this, we can argue (that we’re not completely responsible),” Anderson said. “Without it, we’ve got a lot of problems.”

The City Council put off a decision on the resolution until a later meeting.

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