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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    5

    Default Disrupting the Natural Flow of Water / Drainage Law

    My question involves personal property located in the State of: Michigan

    I have a neighbor that has disrupted above ground water flow by building a dam, which has subsequently put more water on my property / flooding. I have called the local township for help but they will not support me, saying it is a civil suit. The neighbor has vowed not remove the dam stating it is his right to not have sitting water on his property. Knowing the correct fix to water problem will need to involve the neighbor that will not work with me, what action or process do I need to take to getting this fixed, what is the cheapest route?

    Help Please!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    27,121

    Default Re: Disrupting the Natural Flow of Water / Drainage Law

    contact the Mi DNR. Many actions that alter the natural flow of water must be approved by the DNR. There are horrific stories about people that spent thousands of dollars altering water flow only to be required to spend thousands more to reverse the damage to the natural flow.


    If you cannot find any help there, you can sue the guy for damaging your land. Even if he has the right to alter the flow, he does not have the right to damage another's land in the process and would most likely be liable to you for the damages. Of course, that will cost some money to sue so I would go the DNR route first.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    5

    Default Re: Disrupting the Natural Flow of Water / Drainage Law

    Thank you for the reply, I have contacted the DNR and hoping for a reply from the voice message I left them. I also should have noted that this individual that has built the dam is the retired police chief (from what I have been told) and seems to have buds in every area I try to follow, epically the township supervisor (that sits on every local board know to man). This is a classic case of the goodolboy network going on.

    I have also uploaded some pictures to give a visual, on the first one I outlined in blue how the water has been flowing when it gets high in the fall and spring. The second one shows the location of the dam and the efforts is stopping the water to getting the low point in the wetlands; the third is a picture of the dirt he has started to bring in to build this dam.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/45675871@N03/4193290264/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/45675871@N03/4192528495/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/45675871@N03/4192528525/

  4. #4
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Disrupting the Natural Flow of Water / Drainage Law

    sounds like the area I live in as well.

    I would just keep trying with the DNR for now. Take pictures of everything to document his alterations and if he has a problem with that, too bad, there is nothing illegal about taking pictures, even if they include him, if taken from the road or your property. Just figured I would add that in just in case he happened to argue about you taking pictures of him doing the work.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    563

    Default Re: Disrupting the Natural Flow of Water / Drainage Law


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Disrupting the Natural Flow of Water / Drainage Law

    Hello and thank you for the replies, an update - the DNR has forwarded me to the DEQ. The DEQ says that it could take 90 days to do a review formal review (from the voice mail I had to leave my message on), and up to10 days for a call back. Sounds like an overwhelmed organization…

    If the problem were only beavers, I would be happy. I would think I could come to a far easier working solution with them.

    Thanks for any advice!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    2,370

    Default Re: Disrupting the Natural Flow of Water / Drainage Law

    The DEQ has has some pointers here:

    http://www.deq.state.mi.us/documents...d-pondlwmd.pdf

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Disrupting the Natural Flow of Water / Drainage Law

    Thanks for that DEQ document. Another lemon in the whole deal is that I would like to create a pond but local requirements are that I have 5 acres; I am shy of about 2. I have had water in one spot for the complete year, this calendar year, I know it would not dry up . This is not reflective on the Google maps images since they appear to be about 2 years old.

    I could almost argue that with this dam he is intern creating a pond with no permit. And the only thing is that the pond is on my neighbor’s yards and mine.

    Thanks again!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Ohio
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    2,370

    Default Re: Disrupting the Natural Flow of Water / Drainage Law

    I don't know if the pond falls under DEQ rules or not.

    I'm a bit confused about the Google Earth pictures. I assume (perhaps incorrectly) that you are dealing with an intermittent stream. Hard to tell from the photos.

    In any case, your neighbor has no right to divert or pool water onto your property that would not flow there in the normal situation of rainfall in your area. This is what jk has already told you. It is a trespass in the absence of a flowage easement and a civil court matter as he says.

    Is the roadway to the north of the photos a state highway?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    27,121

    Default Re: Disrupting the Natural Flow of Water / Drainage Law

    Quote Quoting LandSurveyor
    View Post
    I don't know if the pond falls under DEQ rules or not.
    based on the link THEAMAZINGCHAN provided, I would believe the DEQ does in fact control. I thought the DNR did but apparently was mistaken.

    I can see it now; the DEQ sends hbldesign a letter stating the pond that has now accumulated in the backyard is illegal and the dam built that caused the pond to be formed is illegal and unless hbldesign remedies the problem within some stated time, he will be liable for fines. O fcourse when provided the info the neighbor built the dam, the DEQ will of course deny such fact as there has been no permit issued to build a dam at the neighbors house.

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