Upshot of the Sewer Problem

Way back in 1928 when they built the three houses — mine and the two to the west — they linked the sewer lines so they ALL go through my yard to the alley. People being home more has caused that “neighborly” line to be overstressed. THAT’S what’s been causing “my” problems. Until the recent lake, THAT cleanout has been buried. The plumber cleaned out THAT line and put a modern cap on the hole.

The BEST solution is ripping out the old line through all our yards (I think) and putting in a new line. I got a bid on that job today. It’s not terrible, but it involves communicating with my neighbors. To do this I have to do some research about the original building of these houses and the installation of that line which means going to the County.

I don’t know yet the best way to go about it. I have a written estimate and I have photographs. I don’t think I have to do this or figure it out right now.

I don’t know the moral of the story. Thanks everyone for your interest in this stupid problem and advice. I am listening to everyone.

24 thoughts on “Upshot of the Sewer Problem

  1. I think the plumber should be the one to explain that to the neighbors. Maybe you could call them to gather and discuss. They will probably have a lot of questions and, to my thinking, he would be best suited to take the brunt of whatever they have to say. But, yeah, they need to pay their share!

  2. Doesn’t the local government/town/county have some responsibility here? I wonder if they were supposed to lay the lines that way. I know the line runs under private land (how convenient), but they may be able to shed some light on what to do next. The neighbors may be more motivated to do something knowing what happened to your yard. And with winter coming, digging up their yards under lots of snow is not going to make it any easier or less expensive. No way you should have to pay for any more!

  3. My mother had a similar issue with her house — the sewer line ran horizontally past the next door house to a vertical line under the road past that house. Problems arose every time she had guests, and she had to snake it repeatedly. The neighbors built a garage over the pipe at one point — my mother made very sure they knew about the pipe, and they repiped that section that would be underneath the new garage. It turned out there was a “prescriptive easement” under the neighbor’s house that protected her (from way back when the two houses were built), and protected prospective buyers as well. A little research at the County might help you out.

      • Just a little more, in case you haven’t heard the term — a prescriptive easement is one that gives the person the right to dig for the lines in question. Unlike other easements, which must be agreed upon by all parties involved, I believe a prescriptive easement is based in the building plans, and doesn’t expire unless that’s agreed to. That’s a pretty rough definition, but it might help give you some direction when you deal with the City or County!

        • Thank you — I don’t know yet if the plan involves digging in their yards since the end of the line is in mine. I’ve asked the plumber to let me know more about that. For some reason I didn’t ask and nothing he said seemed to indicate the other yards had to be dug up.

        • Agreed. You should research your title, as there may well be record of an easement. This should have been found by the title insurance company for each of the 3 homeowners when you purchased these houses. If there is a shared sewer lateral (the line from house to city line), there should be a record.

          • Thank you. I’ve contacted the county. Since the line seems to be in good shape, maybe all I need is to ask my neighbors to be careful what they flush. THAT I haven’t figured out yet. πŸ™‚

  4. Dag, I hope you can get ya overly stressed neighbors on board with ya. I think ya county should foot the bill but it will be better to get it Done βœ… before the winter sets in. πŸ™πŸ•β™’οΈ

    • It’s just weird that nothing happened in that line until this year. I’m wondering now about that. Anyway, I have to do some research and more thinking. I might just start with a friendly letter letting them know that all our lines are connected, the clean out is in my yard and has backed up three times this year and never before. But I’m still thinking.

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