My public sewer comapany is willing to install a backtrap valve to prevent the sewer from backing up into my basement, however, they want me to sign a release paper that will discharge them from any claims, demands damages actions and lawsuits arising out of the design, manufacture, sale, installation, use, maintenance and repair of such a device. I have several questions: 1) How reliable are they 2) How much does it cost to maintain them 3) Have they been around for long
(3). They have been around for a very long time. (2). Maintenance can vary from nothing to periodically opening the access to see if they have any debris in them. (1). Reliability is good when they work, but almost anything that lodges on the valve seat, such as sticks, paper, etc. will keep them from seating and allow the sewer water to enter the basement. Which is why they want you to sign the paper.
Except for tests that I perform, I don’t put my signature on ANYTHING without careful scrutiny and/or a lawyer. Pre-made documents are ALWAYS in the favor of those writing them up. Don’t sign it. You legally cannot be forced to sign anything, since signing says that you approve (which, in your case, should NOT be). If it is a public utility, you have a RIGHT to such work, and don’t EVER sign away your right to sue in the event of some unforseen problem in the future occurs.