stormwater runoff flooding property

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Latest post 01-07-2010 10:38 AM by Drew. 1 replies.
  • 01-07-2010 10:06 AM

    stormwater runoff flooding property


    Not sure if this is the correct board for this question, but I did not see anything else that seemed related to this type of question?

    A few years ago, my town approved construction of a new home, next to ours. At the meeting we were told there would be no impact on our property drom this new construction.

    The developer built up the land about 10 feet and cleared many trees, and built the house. (this is in Tyngsborough, MA)

    That following Spring, our basement flooded for the first time ever. Our yard has progressively flooded each year since the building of that new home as well as more building further up the street.

    The problem is, that storm water now runs down the street and into our driveway and just before it, as well as it runs from the new, next door property, down into our yard. We are basically left with pretty much a moat for a yard in heavy rains.

    For years, we have pleaded with the town's conservation dept. to do something to rectify this problem, and each year they say they will and they do nothing. They even went as far as to say that our problem is related to wetlands but, it is not at all. The areas which flood in our yard are dry all summer and fall and are not in any way connected to any wetlands.

    We are also on a well for water, and at the meeting for the home construction next door, we were told that anyone who purchased the home would be restricted from using chemicals in their yard. The owners have had ChemLawn there constantly, every year all summer and fall.

    Our water is basically non-potable now (we had it tested) and it seems to be worse every year, especially in the Spring during heavy rainfall and the flooding of our yard when all this runoff floods the property.

    How can I get the town to rectify this problem? All I get from them is empty promises and every year during the winter/heavy rains and in the Spring from rain... there are many times I have to stay up a few nights in a row to keep sump-pump working and other things to keep my property and basement from flooding.

    Isn't the town responsible for stormwater runoff managment? Who can I contact to get on the town's conservation committee's butt on this problem?

    Do we have any rights in this matter?

    Thanks you

  • 01-07-2010 10:38 AM In reply to

    • Drew
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,519

    Re: stormwater runoff flooding property

    Laymans take:

    The town is not going to solve it for you--you need to solve it and its not going to be easy.

    Start with a skilled RE lawyer who does a LOT of litigation work!


    1. Odds are someplace in state or local law there is a law about altering the natural water run off or liability if you do etc---find it--you probably need to sue other owner to either return land to its prior run off and vegatation condition (ha ha) or to control his water run off back to prior status quo conditions at his expense and pay for all your damages as well.....

    2. If my well is polluted by something you are doing I sort of need to prove at least two things

         a)that its you who is polluting my well

         b) and that the activity  you are doing is somehow prohibited by some relevant law or restriction--so unless there is a written town  restriction not to fertilize you may have problems unless you can find some other rule against it.


         BUT if your surface runoff which you increased by altering the grade AND removing natural vegation is what is polluting my well I may be able to attack that.


    This is NOT going to be an easy or a fun fight---and you best line up the best lawyer in your county with relevant experience to hit neighbor with a full broadside volley at first volley

    I've been there where neighbors runoff consisted of more than just water---and nothing short of a broadside will work--and small town government won't touch it--they'd just as soon blame the victim!





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