VIC Shared Sewer tree root damage

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TreeRoots

Member
26 July 2020
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We have a shared sewer with the house next door. We are completely separate properties, each on our own side by side blocks of land. The sewer pipes start in the front far corner of our neighbours block, run back just over 1/2 the depth of the block before cutting across their block, under their house and under the fence to our home. We are at the end of the shared sewer line in house #1831.

For the second time this year we have had the Drain Man out to unblock and diagnose the cause of sewer spilling out of our gully trap into our back garden. Camera footage has been recorded showing that sewage from our property cannot make its way out to the main sewer due to the neighbours tree roots growing into the pipes and blocking them. We have paid twice now this year alone to have the sewer pipes unblocked and the neighbours tree roots removed. The root damage is 100% on their property and caused by their trees. We have been advised the sewer will continue to re-block several times a year if the pipes are not relined. To leave them as is, is not an option as the overflowing is not just inconvenient, but risks damage to our property and poses a potential health risk.

Can you please confirm who is responsible for the cost of relining the pipes, us, our neighbour or both?

We live in Stonnington Council & our sewer is with Yarra Valley Water.

I have attached the Yarra Valley Water PSP diagram.

Thank you
 

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Rod

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
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Can you please confirm who is responsible for the cost of relining the pipes, us, our neighbour or both?
Most likely your neighbours. Their trees, their responsibility. See if they will pay, if they push-back, suggest you are open to paying a % of the cost (just to resolve the issue).

Be careful not to lock yourself into the % contribution forever, put a time limit on acceptance of it.

If they refuse either option, then it is time to write a letter.

Keep samples of the tree roots and plumber's reported location of the problem. You may have to send the roots away for analysis by a lab who can tell you what species of tree the roots come from. Cost someone I know $1,000 some 10 years ago to have the sample analysed and report written.
 

TreeRoots

Member
26 July 2020
3
0
1
Thanks Rod, there are no trees whatsoever on our property in the vicinity of the pipes, but plenty on the neighbours property. The plumber has also provided narrated video footage travelling through the drains and clearly showing the roots and the distances along the pipes where they are located - the damage is nowhere near our property. We await the quotes but have been forewarned it going to be expensive. We’re hoping our neighbour is receptive and reasonable.
Thanks for your reply.