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  Reply # 1841925 9-Aug-2017 15:55
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tradertim:

 

We have an unconsented sewer pipe of our adjacent neighbours running diagonally through our land.

This pipe has no permit, no consent, no easement on our property title. We never knew about it.

It also fails NZ pipe standards with cracks and joints dislodged and is contaminating our land.

Watercare claims its not bad enough to do anything about it.

It is difficult to get meetings with them over many months.

Because we wish to build a family home on our private land Watercare are claiming we have to pay for re route of this unconsented, no permit, no consent, no easememt failed end of life pipe at time of build/consent.

It has no permit from council, there is no easement on our property file.

Has anyone one else had similar issues and how did you approach it?
Any recommendations , and experiences dealing with them.

rgs

 

Have you talked to the Council? How do they handle illegal water or sewerage connections? 

You can always just dig up each end and block it...and the neighbour will have to sort something else out. But talk to a lawyer first. 





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  Reply # 1841926 9-Aug-2017 15:56
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richms:

 

Pay for it, get on with it. These are the risks with property ownership.

 



Don't tell me.....you're a cowboy property developer (or would be...)  :-)  





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  Reply # 1841927 9-Aug-2017 15:59
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mattwnz:

 

antoniosk:

 

 

 

Why not consult a land lawyer? the pipe is causing nuisance, and while how it got there is beyond your control, that it is owned as a public pipe damaging your property sounds like something a court could look at.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sounds pricey. Going to court for that sort of thing will likely be a lot more than just pays for the pipe to be moved etc. Although the disputes tribunal could be an option? I think the OP may have to pay for it to be moved anyway, because if it was on the easement, then they would have probably had to pay for it to be moved anyway if they are wanting to build over it. I think their point is that it isn't shown that there is a pipe anywhere. But that is NZ 50 years ago. It is likely councils have also merged and lost documents, as that is often an excuse use.

 

 

Dig it up at the border and route it back into their land?

 

I think writing to fair go for assistance would be a good start.


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  Reply # 1842964 9-Aug-2017 17:18
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tradertim:

We have an unconsented sewer pipe of our adjacent neighbours running diagonally through our land.

This pipe has no permit, no consent, no easement on our property title. We never knew about it.

It also fails NZ pipe standards with cracks and joints dislodged and is contaminating our land.

Watercare claims its not bad enough to do anything about it.

It is difficult to get meetings with them over many months.

Because we wish to build a family home on our private land Watercare are claiming we have to pay for re route of this unconsented, no permit, no consent, no easememt failed end of life pipe at time of build/consent.

It has no permit from council, there is no easement on our property file.

Has anyone one else had similar issues and how did you approach it?
Any recommendations , and experiences dealing with them.

rgs




Not sure if this is any help... but...

If the pipe is private...

> An unconsented sewer pipe of our adjacent neighbours running diagonally through our land...

Even without the benefit of the history of why and how the drain was laid, the adjacent owner would still have legal rights under S461 of the Local Government Act 1974. If it's been there for some time your local TA will simple take it at face value (for the purposes of S460) that it would have been done legally (common drain agreements from years ago offen end up like this). In my city records of old former local authorities that existed prior to the local body amalgamations that occured in 1989 which are paper based are offen "lost" (i.e. in archives with poor or no indexing) and "invisible" to the current electronic based property records...

• 461 Further provisions with respect to private drains:
Where any private drain constructed with the consent of the owners of all lands affected or constructed by the Council pursuant to section 460 of this Act passes through or serves separately owned premises, there shall be attached to each and all of the lands served by that private drain the following rights, namely:
1. A right to free and uninterrupted use of that private drain; and
2. A right for the occupiers or any of them to enter upon all lands served by that drain, or through which it passes, for the purpose of relaying or effecting necessary repairs to the drain; and
3. A right to contribution from the owners or occupiers of other lands so served by that drain towards the cost of executing, providing, and doing all or any of the things required in respect of the drain by this Part of this Act or any bylaw; and
4. A right to contribution from the owners or occupiers of those lands towards the cost of all necessary relaying or repairs to the drain; and
5. A right to the recovery from the owners or occupiers of other lands through which that drain passes but which are not served by the drain the cost of any repairs to the drain necessitated by any wilful or negligent act of those owners or occupiers.


> and is contaminating our land

If it is clear that an insanitary situation exists then the local Council could (and should) issue a "notice to fix" to the owner of the drain.

You also mention Watercare and allude to the pipe being deemed public?

> we wish to build a family home on our private land Watercare are claiming we have to pay for re route

Here in my City of ChCh we have the Water Supply, Wastewater, & Stormwater Bylaw 2014 (a reincarnation of the Water Related Services Bylaw 2008) that doesn't allow anyone to building within 1m from the outer edge (i.e. the outside of the pipe barrel including collars) of a Council drain. In ChCh you would be refused (especially post-quake) or have to bear the cost of re-routing which can be expensive if manholes are needed.

> It has no permit from council.

Very common in my city. Many drains were laid by government departments who didn't need to apply for consents (state housing being a prime example or military land). Unfortunately the why's and wherefores of how it occurred doesn't change the "rules" of today in relation to a private pipe or public pipe within private property...



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  Reply # 1842981 9-Aug-2017 18:20
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Good and accurate info UncleArk.

 

Some other comments:

 

1. It doesn't need to be consented or within an easement - as it would have been constructed under various Acts or bylaws eg. Auckland Metropoiltain Drainage Act, or various old council bylaws. So there is no point pursuing that line of thought.

 

2. While the pipe serves your neighbour - the minute it crosses into your land it becomes a public asset i.e. Watercare's asset.

 

https://www.watercare.co.nz/common-content/water-network-responsibilities/Pages/default.aspx

 

3. As such  and as Ark noted - Watercare will have existing use rights re the operation and maintenance of this asset - and this is further provided under the LGA.

 

4. However with the above rights also comes obligations re its safe and sanitary operation.

 

5. FYI - leaking pipes are common - and not all of them will be fixed as it is uneconomic to do so. 

 

6. Constructing over these assets is also governed by various rules / laws etc - so you must comply with these. And quite simply you won't get BC without WSL approval to build over.

 

7. Keep trying to talk to Watercare.

 

 

 

Cheers and good luck. 

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 1842988 9-Aug-2017 18:53
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Talk to a lawyer.

 

This area can be complex, will potentially depend on bylaws as well as national laws, and GZers are unlikely to be the experts. Ig you do something wrong, it can cost you a fortune.

 

You don't necessarily have to go to court. If they have an obligation to maintain the pipe (which your lawyer can tell you) then a letter from your lawyer to the council and/or Watercare will probably be taken more seriously than one from you.


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  Reply # 1843031 9-Aug-2017 20:28
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JimmyH:

 

Talk to a lawyer.

 

This area can be complex, will potentially depend on bylaws as well as national laws, and GZers are unlikely to be the experts. Ig you do something wrong, it can cost you a fortune.

 

You don't necessarily have to go to court. If they have an obligation to maintain the pipe (which your lawyer can tell you) then a letter from your lawyer to the council and/or Watercare will probably be taken more seriously than one from you.

 

 

 

 

It would be good if there was a precedent set somewhere that can be referred to. I guess a good lawyer may know about similar cases.


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  Reply # 1843059 9-Aug-2017 21:04
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JimmyH - "GZers are unlikely to be the experts" just as you'd probably have to be careful which lawyer you approached.

I'd take the two posts before JimmyH's along to your lawyer, they might save some time.

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  Reply # 1843135 9-Aug-2017 23:41
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JimmyH:

 

Talk to a lawyer.

 

This area can be complex, will potentially depend on bylaws as well as national laws, and GZers are unlikely to be the experts. Ig you do something wrong, it can cost you a fortune.

 

You don't necessarily have to go to court. If they have an obligation to maintain the pipe (which your lawyer can tell you) then a letter from your lawyer to the council and/or Watercare will probably be taken more seriously than one from you.

 

 

 

 

Re Experts....yeah kinda am - with 25 years working in infrastructure (mainly water) - in Auckland - incl 5 years at one of the previous Water Business Units.


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  Reply # 1843138 10-Aug-2017 01:22
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@driller2000 do you know when Watercare changed their point of supply definition? As I have managed to find an archived copy of the point of supply definition. But not when they changed it. The old copy says about private drains not becoming public until they enter public land. Goto page 3.

 

Unfortunately for the OP, to move the pipe now, they will probably have to upgrade it to public sewer standard as per Watercare's build standards. Meaning 150mm pipe and extra manholes. It's going to be far more expensive than just some 100mm PVC to replace the 4inch earthenware pipe.

 

The scary part is that Watercare can change the point of supply definition just by publishing a new definition on their website. From clause 10 - 1 of the Water supply and wastewater network bylaw

 

Watercare

 

may from time

 

to time

 

and by resolution

 

define the point of supply, and make information

 

as to the point of supply publicly available on its website.

 

 

 

So if they want, they could easily do the same thing that Wellington council wanted to do. And make homeowners responsible for maintaining the pipework on the inlet side of the water meter.







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  Reply # 1843151 10-Aug-2017 07:08
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Hi Aredwood and co thanks for the thoughts and responses.

There are in fact a number of avenues to be pursued, which haven't yet been mentioned but as it's likely this forum is monitored by Watercare I can't elaborate just yet.

Take some of the responses with a dose of objectivity.

I'm still keen to hear how anyone has approached these situations in case there's additional we haven't yet planned.

These easements and consents were supposed to be registered at the time of work, the legal vehicles for local bodies to do that was legislatively available.

They are failing in duty of care to complete them in order for property purchasers to be aware of what infrastructure is on their land.


















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  Reply # 1843215 10-Aug-2017 08:52
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Aredwood:

 

@driller2000 do you know when Watercare changed their point of supply definition? As I have managed to find an archived copy of the point of supply definition. But not when they changed it. The old copy says about private drains not becoming public until they enter public land. Goto page 3.

 

Unfortunately for the OP, to move the pipe now, they will probably have to upgrade it to public sewer standard as per Watercare's build standards. Meaning 150mm pipe and extra manholes. It's going to be far more expensive than just some 100mm PVC to replace the 4inch earthenware pipe.

 

The scary part is that Watercare can change the point of supply definition just by publishing a new definition on their website. From clause 10 - 1 of the Water supply and wastewater network bylaw

 

Watercare may from time to time and by resolution define the point of supply, and make information as to the point of supply publicly available on its website.   So if they want, they could easily do the same thing that Wellington council wanted to do. And make homeowners responsible for maintaining the pipework on the inlet side of the water meter.

 

Prior to Amalgamation (aka SuperCity creation) the different Council's had different definitions of what was public vs private.

 

So once the various Councils were amalgamated Watercare then created one definition for the whole region as per the link on their website.

 

 

 

PS: You could lawyer up....but existing use rights are on Watercare's side - along with various legislation - so it may be a difficult fight to fight.

 

Personally - I would do this as a last resort only - and try and talk / get agreement without lawyers involved first - as:

 

1. It will cost you $$$; and

 

2. Watercare have far more budget for lawyers than you do.

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 1845686 12-Aug-2017 23:26
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richms:

 

Pay for it, get on with it. These are the risks with property ownership.

 

 

FWIW a friend of mine wanted to build on a section which had been idle much longer than the surrounding sections. They discovered the neighbour's sewer went through the part of the section where they wanted to put the house.

 

So yepp, they paid to have the pipes re-routed to a non-built part of the section.

 

Not saying you have no legal recourse, but FFS some times you just have to move on with your life and make shi-ite happen. As others said, you will be living next door to these people.....


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  Reply # 1845690 13-Aug-2017 00:04
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elpenguino:

 

richms:

 

Pay for it, get on with it. These are the risks with property ownership.

 

 

FWIW a friend of mine wanted to build on a section which had been idle much longer than the surrounding sections. They discovered the neighbour's sewer went through the part of the section where they wanted to put the house.

 

So yepp, they paid to have the pipes re-routed to a non-built part of the section.

 

Not saying you have no legal recourse, but FFS some times you just have to move on with your life and make shi-ite happen. As others said, you will be living next door to these people.....

 

 

 

 

I think you would have to look at the different costs involved with different options. I think some basic legal advice is a good idea.  

 

Could the OP hire a digger or dig the trench by hand to reroute it, and do most of the hard work themselves, and then just get a plumber in to do the actual plumbing stuff. Then the easement probably needs to be put on the title, and who pays for that. The laws don't seem to benefit the land owner whose land the pipe is on, when they are actually providing the benefit.


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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1845708 13-Aug-2017 08:45
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Swings and roundabouts though isn't it ?
You benefit when your neighbour has a well functioning sewer and they're not dumping krapp around and about the place.....

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