Our objective is to ensure 100% accessibility for maintenance work within all easements. Clearing is prioritized based on maintenance records for specific areas and whether SSOs have been a recurring issue.
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To ensure access to the sewer line for maintenance activities like inspection and cleaning, it is necessary to clear trees, brush, and even tree roots from these areas. This clearing also enables the City to swiftly reach these locations with its equipment in case of emergencies and minimize the potential impact of an SSO. Tree roots can damage sewer lines and cause blockages and broken pipe, which can lead to Sanitary Sewer Overflows.
The City of Durham is not obligated to replant vegetation if it obstructs future access to the easement. However, after clearing the easement, damaged areas will be properly graded and either mulched or seeded with grass. The easement will then be maintained as needed to ensure continued access. Per the language in Durham's Declaration of Rights and Privileges of the City of Durham in Certain Sanitary Sewer Easements:No one may create or construct, in, on, over, under, or through the strips of land, any structures, fill, embankments, plants or flora of any kind of size, encroachments of any nature, obstructions of any nature or improvements of any nature, provided that the strips of land may be cultivated if the cultivation does not interfere in the opinion of the City with the rights and privileges otherwise in the City pursuant to this easement. The City shall have the right to clear the strips of land and to keep them cleared of structures, fill, embankments, plants or flora of any kind of size, encroachments of any nature, obstructions of any nature, and improvements of any nature. Nothing herein shall obligate the City to replace anything, including but not limited to plants and flora of any kind of size, that it clears in exercising privileges and rights in the City pursuant to this easement.
Removing trees in non-emergency situations in a controlled safe environment saves valuable time during emergency responses, such as SSOs. Providing Durham Water staff immediate and safe access to these areas eliminates the need to clear the easement at the time of response.
In most cases, yes. However, Durham Water's staff will discuss the treatment of "boundary trees" situated along the edge of the easement with the property owner. These trees can remain in place until the sewer main is replaced by the City, provided the following conditions are met:
No, existing fences or sheds are not grandfathered and allowed to remain. However, where feasible, Durham Water will collaborate with property owners.