Critical Easements Project
What is this project?
The Department of Public Works (DPW) is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the City's water pipes, sanitary sewer pipes, and storm drain systems and is presently engaged in focused inventory and improvement of the City's capital assets. This inventory project is called the “Critical Easements Project".
Most of the City's infrastructure is located within public ways, but some of these systems are located within easements on private property. The recorded deed to your home may refer to easements for one or more public utilities and/or for municipal water pipes, sanitary sewer pipes, or storm drain systems. Your deed may also refer to a plan that shows the location of those utilities.
When the City's water pipes, sanitary sewer pipes, or storm drain systems are located on private property, the DPW takes great care to verify the location and condition of those pipes that serve your home and neighborhood, and to schedule their appropriate maintenance and repair.
What is an easement? An easement is an ownership interest in your land interest held by a person or entity (such as a utility company or the City) that allows them to enter your land for a specific purpose.
When an easement is located on your property, you remain the absolute owner of your land. The easement holder has a right to enter your land, but only for the specific purpose for which the easement is created.
You, as the property owner, may not block the easement area or use it in such a way that the easement holder cannot enter the easement area, or perform the purpose for which the easement is created.
What is the purpose of the easement? What are easements for? As an example, your land may be subject to easements for electrical service, telephone and cable television service, or for municipal water pipes, sewers and storm drains.
These easements allow the utility companies and/or the City to enter your property for the purpose of inspecting, maintaining or repairing the equipment located on your land that serves your home or the community.
Why does the City need an easement? The DPW takes great care to maintain public water, sewer and drain lines located both within public ways and on private property; to verify their location and condition; and to bring existing easements up to current legal standards.
Is this being done because the City is planning construction on my property? No construction is planned on the properties involved in this project at the present time.
The DPW will notify you in advance if there is a need to enter your property to inspect the condition of the water, sewer, and storm drain pipes that serve your home. The DPW will also show you the location of its easement.
In the event of a public safety emergency, such as a pipe break, the DPW will make is best efforts to contact you before entering your property to make necessary repairs.
Is this a taking? Will I be paid? This is not a taking. Because your land is already subject to the easements created prior to the time that you bought your home, no compensation is offered for the easement.