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Question DetailsAsked on 2/24/2017

is a cesspool colapse if caused by a water leak from the street is it the homeowners cost to repair

an old cesspool sunk in creating a 6 ft. wide whole about 4' deep. this was ultimately the result of a leaky street water line prior to the curb water valve.

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1 Answer


If water was running into it over the surface and eroded away the soil as it flowed in, then probably proveable to the utilityi that it is their responsibility. If it collapsed due to water seeping through the ground, harder to prove. I would give them a call and see what you can prove - if you have an assessment from a septic system contractor saying it was due to oversaturated soil or water flowing in through the soil and washing it away in the cesspool be prepared to give a copy of that to the utility too.

And make this complaint ASAP - maybe even today if they are open or by eMail - or if collapsing actively (and assuming the water line leak was in least day or two) call their emergency number and tell them you are having a cesspool collapse due to the water from the line break. Get their attention ASAP so lthey can inspect it while the damasge is fresh, and if from water flowing through the soil, while it is still flowing in.

If this is an active cesspool then it is going to have to be replaced or rebuilt - and it is likely that with current codes the city or state may attempt to force you into a septic tank and leach field system (or street sewer connection if there are sewers to your area now). Whether they can enforce that is a legla matter - generlaly, you are allowed to repair damaged existing cesspools as long as they were functioning up to the time of failure (especially if failure is due to an external cause like this) - so you may have a fight on your hands to avoid the cost of septic system or sewer connection. If so, you may well need a lawyer specializing in property rights actions and zoning regulation issues.

If it was an unused cesspool, then they should (or pay for) pumping it out, capping off any sewer line leading to it ifnot already done, and put in compacted backfill. Make sure it is well compacted or you will have a big saghole or dimple in the yard as it settles over the years. They may choose to overfill it a foot or two to accomodate settlement, then come back in the summer to level it off and rehabilitate the surface (sod or topsoil and grass seed if lawn, for instance). Be sure you get a copy of the work order, and if not compacted and fully finished off at this time, that it says they are to come back in X months and level it off and grass the surface (or gravel or whatever you have there).

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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