Who is to blame

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by comfortablynumb, May 26, 2004.

  1. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,808
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2003
    Location:
    Dysfunction Junction, SW PA
    its been unusually rainy here.

    I have a lot of runoff, a lot from my tin sheet roofs and a lot from horsefields that are eroded to rock.

    now, with much sweat i have diverted all the roof runoff from one side into a holding pool that has a overflow pipe that goes out to the next door field, and the thick hayfield soaks it up pretty well.

    the other side, i didnt know where to funnle it so i dug a big bowl shaped pond basin, and all that sides roof water stops at the pond and the micro earthworks i put there. it going to make some ducks pretty happy once i find a few to adopt.

    still, just from the rest of the horseyards, with no topsoil or sod, there is a massive amount of runoff going right into the neighbors backyard, and some of it right in his basement door. I talked to him, told him where to dig a ditch to divert it away from his house he says "dont worry about it".

    its progressivly getting worse as the torental rains here aint letting up.

    my question is, who is to blame for the dammage the runoff does to his house?

    I think he has a resonsibilty to at least make an effort to divert what is headed trwards his backdoor?

    the house isnt that old, 10 yrs maybe, isnt he responsible at all if he didnt put in a proper french drain to prevent thr runoff dammage? he built it halfway up a hill, and there is @ 70 feet of elevation to the top of my property from his back door. it was a stupid place to build a house.

    Ive been bustiing my butt digging runnoff ditches in rock by hand because Incant afford a backhoe, and he is sitting on his porch drinking beer watching it rain.
    I care more than he does.

    I cant help thinking, at some point when he sobers up or runs out of beer he is going to say "hey, my home and basement wallas are dammaged its your fault!"

    I have told him... I did control my roof runoff. I cant control the rest of the runoff.

    when they dig the BIG sewer ditch across that problem area, all the runoff will flow down the hill on the top if that backfilled sewer ditch and into the creek.

    till then, I am getting an ulcer wondering when he's gonna finally sue me for something.

    Whos to blame for his foundation/basement danmmages?
    me? him? god?
     
  2. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,143
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2002
    If the runoff was there previously I think he would have a hard time making his case (Assuming he sued you). On the other hand, if you did something that changed the runoff then you might be liable.

    For example, before I bought out my neighbor, he was having a grand old time with his bulldozer. He changed the lay of the land so that runoff was diverted onto my property and was causing problems eroding across the driveway. If we hadn't of bought him out he would have had to correct the issue or I would have sued him. Prior to his changing the contour of the land there wasn't any problem.

    The best thing you can do is document your efforts to resolve the issue. You might also consider running some field tile near your property line to change the drainage.

    As usual, just my 2 cents. Hope this helps.

    Mike
     

  3. RAC

    RAC Guest

    Typically you cannot change the grade of the land to where it causes water to flow onto a neighbor's property.

    What you might think about doing for future is planting some trees/plants in your drainage ditches and at the base of your horseyards to help soak up some of that runoff.

    As to stupid places to build a house, anywhere in a flood plain is a stupid place to build, but people do, and the taxpayers bail them out every time in the form of disaster relief.
     
  4. Just a thought, and it may be overkill to some, but heres an idea: start making notes about your effort. Record the dates of the rains, they can be verified easily. Record all the work you did in effort to not damage the other person's property. Record everything you can, take pictures if you can to verify the work. also record the conversations you're having with the neighbor, date and time. He's saying "don't worry about it" but (as most people do) will have selective memmory when the bill for damage comes and he shouts law suit. You can't control the rain, and I understand your house was there first? IMHO (Im not a lawyer, but) the combination of your extra ordinary efforts combined with his house built in a flood plain and his lack of interest to make sure his property isn't damage has to amount for something. Also I don't know if this is an option but you could plant shrubbery that need a lot of water in the run off area, like weeping willows or something like that. I have read of people planting these kinds of trees near creeks that had erosion problems and "dips" in thier yard that would "collect" water and make a mess. HTH


    -----Almostthere
     
  5. deberosa

    deberosa SW Virginia Gourd Farmer!

    Messages:
    569
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Location:
    Floyd County, VA
    I don't know if this will work but out here if there is some small need to direct water, they stake up a 2 ft tall sheet of black plastic to direct water. It's not 100%, but it will direct alot of the water in a different direction. Putting it on your property line just in line with his house might work to divert a good part of the water away from his basement. Since you didn't change the horse pasture you may not be liable, but this might be a cheap way to reduce the need to worry about it.

    Good luck!

    Debbie

     
  6. bare

    bare Head Muderator

    Messages:
    1,857
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    I donno, if it was me...I'd install a filter or two in strategic places, buy a case or two of beer, sit on my porch and gloat about all the topsoil I was getting hauled onto my place for FREE!

    Then I'd be thinking about how I could maybe get rich and buy a lot more beer by selling and hauling it back to you.
     
  7. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,808
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2003
    Location:
    Dysfunction Junction, SW PA
    I had a talk with him and his wife, she was eager to get something done and he was agreeable to any suggestions I had.

    i dug them a ditch, i laid 40 feet of drain pipe and then dug diversion grooves all over the lower part of the yard to guide the water to that pit where the pipe inlet is....
    they all seem happy about it.

    just have to wait till it rains and see if the idea worked.
     

  8. The above is where you will get sued. This is where you changed the flow of water to damage someone else. I'd be mad as heck about it.

    The guy with the house built on a cliff, water always ran down the house, if you haven't diverted more water into his back yard you have no blame. On that side.

    --->Paul
     
  9. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,808
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2003
    Location:
    Dysfunction Junction, SW PA
    the waterpipe intothe field isnt near any homes. during the worst rain the other day iwas walking in the field 100 feet downhill or so and there was no visable runoff.

    besides in a few months the sewage athority will rape that field and my runoff will have to be pointed somewhere else or it willerode a gully over the backfilled ditch. I'm pondering maybe having them dig me a massive cisteren while I am digging a sewer ditch.

    If I saw it cutting a gully in the field I would move it instantly.

    But honestly what do you do with runoff? it has to go someplace. Last resort i will run 300 feet of corrgated drainpipe down to the road creek, as the neighbor said he wouldnt care. Thats waht i think I will end up doing to prevent dammage to the sewer line coming up that hill and the field and the neighbors yard. I have about a year before that mess gets here.