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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    3

    Unhappy Construction of a Lift Station in a Sewage Easement

    My question involves an easement/right-of-way in the state of: Indiana
    The small, rural town I live in recently installed a forced sanitary sewer system. My neighbor and I are the only two people in the entire town that ended up with lift stations in our front yards. The lift station is approx. 10' from the edge of the road, in my front yard (well within the 22.5' right-of-way). The lid and electrical panel are above ground. This will lower the value of my property. Not one person from the town contacted me to discuss this. The only communication was a construction worker asking my wife where our septic tank was located. I have a 10' wide utility easement in my back yard that runs parallel to the right-of-way in the front yard. Furthermore, my septic tank is located in the back yard (as is the neighbors). I contacted the civil engineer that the town hired for this project. She was never given any information related to the utility easement in the back yard. I want the lift station moved to the utility easement in the back yard. The Town Board is not willing to do this. Legally, do I have a leg to stand on?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    201

    Default Re: Construction of a Lift Station in a Sewage Easement

    There are a few unanswered questions here. Exactly what type of utility easement do you have in your backyard? Is it for buried electric or cable? Gas? Drainage? Sewer? Just because you have a utility easement in your backyard does not mean the Water & Sewer department has a right or even a desire to use it. As an aside, I've worked with more than a few sewer easements. Very rarely are they as narrow as 10 feet wide, especially for a force main. Your 10' easement sounds more like a buried conduit or water line, and likely private to boot.

    To comply with your request to move the lift, the station and the line would have to be moved, a cost likely running into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Seeing as the sewer line is already inside of a public right of way which the Town has allowed them to use, the line is there to stay.

    If I were you, I'd speak to the Town about possibly landscaping around the station in order to effect a cosmetic improvement. Or, you could build a screen (such as a stockade fence or a line of cedar trees, for example) along the R.O.W. line, on your property of course, in order to hide the station from your sight.

    Good luck, whatever you decide to do.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Construction of a Lift Station in a Sewage Easement

    The easement is not private, the town controls it. This is a small rural community, it a city. It has buried power, water and natural gas. It runs perdendicular to another street lined with homes. This utility easement runs behind my home, as well as, two others (I am at the bottom of the hill). The easement could easily be increased in width (all parties would agree). I spoke to the civil engineer that laid out the system for our town. Once I made her aware of the utility easement, she was confident that it could be used, although the permit would have to be changed. All of this piping is plastic pipe. We are talking relocation of two lift stations, a new run of 250' of 6" plastic pipe, and replacement of 250' of existing 4" plastic pipe with 6" plastic pipe (along the perpendicular drive). None of the this has been connected to the owners homes as of yet. The fence idea would cover the view of my home from the front street. Are you saying that the town can do whatever they want? Including decreasing the value of my property? Are you saying I have no recourse?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Construction of a Lift Station in a Sewage Easement

    First, you have no idea if the easement behind your house would be in any way suitable for the placement of a lift station. At 10' wide I guarantee you its not.

    One could reasonably assume that the lift station was placed where it is because that's where gravity sewer runs or is planned to run, then raised via the lift station to continue on its merry way downhill somewhere. Placing it in the easement behind your home would require diverting all of those lines, presumably across private property, re-laying or installing them under existing utilities, then obtaining sufficient land to locate a lift station. 10' is not nearly enough width to do that, and then there is the ongoing maintenance needs. Would you be willing to allow the city to construct a service road across your property so they could perform the required maintenance on the lift station? Imagine, for a moment, how the large easement for the lift station, plus the access easement and driveway would have reduced the value of your property? As to the cost of relocating, most lift stations by default are pretty deep and include a vault structure, a holding tank, and sometimes lift equipment for removing pumps and so on. The value of that structure probably equals or exceeds the cost of your home. Second, although most jurisdictions use PVC for sewer, that does not mean its in any way cheap. The lines, especially around lift stations are deep and require bedding and compaction and other things to ensure they work for 50+ years. Ask the City what an average cost per foot of the line is if your curious. You don't just relocate sewer mains without a compelling reason.

    Summing it up' you believe that the work the City has done has decreased the value of your property, yet you have only your opinion to back that up. Coming up with some sort of objective metric or value to quantify that decrease would be problematic, at best. Cities often hear the same thing for something as simple as putting up a road sign in front of a residence, so I doubt they will be very responsive to your claim. I think your best bet, as was suggested, is to try to work out some screening options with the City. Presumably, the ability for you to hook up to municipal sewer instead of having to maintain your own septic and leach system will increase the value of your home, no?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    3

    Cool Re: Construction of a Lift Station in a Sewage Easement

    Wow. Are you a Civil Engineer? Are you on the Town Board in the town where I live? You are full of crap! It would be fitting if you had anything to do with the design of these systems!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    2,376

    Default Re: Construction of a Lift Station in a Sewage Easement

    Wow. Are you a Civil Engineer? Are you on the Town Board in the town where I live? You are full of crap! It would be fitting if you had anything to do with the design of these systems!
    Zero to jerk in nanoseconds.

    You are right however in that we are not your civil engineers or town representatives. We never proposed that we were. Now you are on your own as the lift station, per your description, is on public right of way and legally so. You have only yourself and your own elected representatives to blame for this, and not us.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    27,303

    Default Re: Construction of a Lift Station in a Sewage Easement

    mthomas;607616] You are full of crap!
    so is the tank out front of your home. Hopefully, if you are lucky, it will never overflow but I have worked on too many of them to think it will never happen. Because of that, think about where you would rather have a poop overflow: front yard or back yard.

    It would be fitting if you had anything to do with the design of these systems!
    I have been involved in the installation of such systems. I suspect landsurveyor has as well, at least in laying out the locations of the systems.

    as trafeng states, there is regular maintenance involved with a lift station. Would you want the sewer workers in your back yard once a month or so?


    We are talking relocation of two lift stations, a new run of 250' of 6" plastic pipe, and replacement of 250' of existing 4" plastic pipe with 6" plastic pipe (along the perpendicular drive).
    sure, what could that cost? Are you willing to pay it? If not, I can promise you the city will not move the station.

    Oh, you forgot the electrical as well

    I am curious as to how they are supposed to get from the ROW where the lift station sets now to the easement behind your house. Is there a direct path from where the station is now to the back of your property that is already owned by the city or the city has an easement across?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    2,376

    Default Re: Construction of a Lift Station in a Sewage Easement

    I have been involved in the installation of such systems. I suspect landsurveyor has as well, at least in laying out the locations of the systems.
    Well, yes I have. Laying them out isn't the worst part. It's when they need to be inspected or surveyed for a new intercepting sewer.

    That's when the "confined space" qualified surveyor needs to go down into the structure in a gas suit to determine the inverts and flow lines. This type of work is the second leading cause of occupational death among surveyors (highway work is number one). Gunshot wounds come in way down the scale.

    That said, lift stations are a very common and widely used component of modern public sewage systems. If the system in question in this thread could have been designed without lift stations, it would have been.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    27,303

    Default Re: Construction of a Lift Station in a Sewage Easement

    Quote Quoting LandSurveyor
    View Post
    That's when the "confined space" qualified surveyor needs to go down into the structure in a gas suit to determine the inverts and flow lines. This type of work is the second leading cause of occupational death among surveyors (highway work is number one). Gunshot wounds come in way down the scale.
    .
    I would have to guess you are confined space trained.

    I think you need an apprentice that you can just hold by his feet and stick him in the hole to scope things out.

    I never would have thought this would make it on a "cause of death" list. What are ya'all dying from?

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