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What is an Easement?

An easement refers to a right granted to a landowner, or a public or local authority, over another person’s land for a specific purpose.

Council has the power to enter private property for construction, maintenance and inspection of water and sewer infrastructure irrespective of protective easements being placed on titles. Council holds water and sewer easements in private property to ensure we maintain access to important water and sewer infrastructure.

Water Easements

Water easements are relatively uncommon in private property as water mains are typically located in road reserves (nature strips).

Council frequently undertakes work within nature strips to either, repair, replace extend or install fittings water mains. After conducting work in nature strips, they will be reinstated to an appropriate standard determined at Council’s discretion. Council will consider the pre-existing condition of the area, seasonal weather conditions, slope of land and area affected. Damage to the portion of driveways/accesses within road reserve will be reinstated as per Council Driveway Access to Property - Design Specification Policy (310kB PDF).

Sewer Easements

Sewer easements are common in private property and are mostly located along the rear or front boundary of a property. They exist over a portion of land that contains sewers or sewerage facilities. Council requires reasonable access to these areas and clear access to manholes. There is a possibility that Council will need to complete ground excavation to enable maintenance, repair and/or possible replacement in perpetuity.

Conducting work in or Near an Easement

Policy

Anyone conducting any work in or near an easement should first refer to the following policy:

Council Utilities - Work in Proximity Policy (51kB PDF).

Design Specification

Design Specification D15 - Work in Proximity (external link) details Tweed Shire Council's requirements for working in proximity to Council's Utilities including sewerage, water supply and storm water.

Anyone working on public and private property has an obligation to protect sewers from damage. Council may recover the costs of repair incurred from deliberate or accidental damage to water supply and sewer infrastructure. Deliberate damage or unauthorised interference with a sewer is an offence under the Local Government Act. See Offences and Penalties

Failure to comply with the policy may result in penalties, as well as charges for the cost of repair.

Planting Trees Near Sewers

Trees Near Sewers

Planting a tree in your backyard may seem harmless. However some species of trees can create ongoing or disastrous problems by tree roots intruding into sewer mains and internal sewer pipes. Problem trees will normally cause damage to internal pipes before Council sewer so it is in the property owner's best interest to understand the implications.

Before planting any trees, residents should consult the list of problem species below. Generally these trees should not be planted within five meters of any sewer main or manhole.

Council actively investigates potential problems before they become too large. If, during an inspection, Council identifies a tree that looks like it will cause future problems, the owner of the property will be consulted about the problem. In high hazard instances (see below) Council may choose to give the owner the option for Council to remove the tree.

Generally all the following groups of trees have been identified as problems to sewer mains because of root infiltration and have been ranked in severity:






RiskTree Names
HighCamphor Laurel
Fig and Rubber Plants (Ficus species)
Large Gum Trees (Eucalyptus species)
Poplars
Willows
MediumBlack Locust
Bunya
Coral Trees
Hoop Pine
Norfolk Island
LowerBamboos
Bouganvilleas
Camellia
Date Palms
Elms
Hibiscus
Hollies
Jacaranda
Lilly Pilly
Magnolias
Pine Trees
Pepper Tree
River She Oak
Silky Oak
Swamp Oak
Wisteria
White Cedar

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