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Albany Water Board Announces Grant Increase to Help Residents Prevent Sewer Backups

September 11, 2018

Date: September 11, 2018 
Contact: Emily Lyons 

(518) 434-5333 

For Immediate Release 

ALBANY, NY – During extreme weather events, large amounts of rain can cause Albany’s combined sewers to fill to capacity, creating the potential for sewage to backup into basements. Fortunately, when properly installed and maintained, a backwater valve can help prevent this from occurring. 

To make it more financially feasible and to encourage the use of backwater valves, the Albany Water Board has increased the maximum reimbursement amount of backwater valve installation to $2,000, up from $1,500. 

“With the continuous increase of storms that produce significant amounts of precipitation, backwater valves are crucial to helping prevent backups into basements,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “Thank you to the Albany Water Board for increasing the amount of funding available for homeowners to purchase and install these important pieces of equipment.” 

“This change will support efforts of our customers and help with the resiliency of our system,” said Joe Coffey, Albany Water Commissioner. “As we continue to plan for system-wide improvements to mitigate flooding and backups, I also urge homeowners to install and properly maintain their backwater valves.” 

To date, the Albany Water Department has approved 390 backwater valve grant applications. The program began in 2008, with an original reimbursement amount of $1,500. The total cost of a backwater valve installation is usually about $1,200 - $3,000. To qualify, the property must be an owner-occupied, single or two-family home that has experienced sewer backups within recent years. The application must be submitted before work begins, and include the scope-of-work from the contractor or plumber. Full details about how to apply can be found at:

The Albany Water Board is committed to system-wide infrastructure improvements to address decades-long problems of sewer backups and improve the quality of life for Albany residents. To learn more about completed and ongoing projects, including underground detention galleries, constructed wetlands, and green infrastructure, please visit: 

Low-income residents and seniors may also qualify for additional funds to fully cover the cost of the backwater valve installation through the Rehabilitation Assistance Program. More information can be found at: 

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