Safe, Efficient, Reliable, Compliant

Public Utility Easement Access

To perform proper maintenance or address an emergency sewer related issue of the collection system, the District occaisionally needs to access the public utility easements on residential and commercial private property.  Routine maintenance and repair work is essential to keep the sewer system working properly.  Moreover, during emergencies, access to the easement area and the ability to work within it are absolutely essential.

What is an Easement?

An easement is a defined area of private property that is legally designated for specific use, access and travel through by an entity other than the property owner. There are different types of easements including a right-of-way as well as sewer and other public utility easements such as those utilized by the Bear Valley Water District. Easements provide the District the legal right of use and access to any of its facilities, equipment or assets that are located on private property.

Why BVWD Needs Easement Access ?

A functioning sewage collection system is complex. Sewage must be collected from every dwelling and routed many miles to the District’s Wastewater Treatment Plant through a vast system of collection sewer pipelines. Sewer pipelines are located in many places. In some areas, entire sections of the system were designed so that pipleines were placed in backyards rather than in the street.  Wherever assets are located, it is necessary for BVWD to access private property to get to sewer pipelines that may be located in a back, front or side yard. The ability to service and maintain BVWD’s equipment and piping ensures that the sewer system functions properly for you and the greater community.

Things to Know About Easements

Any use of an easement by a property owner/occupant:

• Cannot limit the ability of BVWD to access and utilize the easement for its intended purpose

• Must adequately allow, without interference, the construction, operation, maintenance, re-construction, inspection or repair of BVWD facilities

BVWD Authority to Access

BVWD’s authority to access private property easements as a public utility is provided by:

• BVWD’s Municipal Sewer Ordinance, Chapter 3, Article 6, Section Article 6.06

• Legal documents such as recorded easements, maps or property deeds designating specific easements.

Access Procedures

BVWD is committed to customer service and we understand that providing access to an easement on your property can be inconvenient at times. Whenever possible, BVWD seeks to provide prior notification to our customers before gaining access to an easement on private property. Generally, these procedures apply when access is not easily attained, such as may occur with rear and side yard easements. BVWD has specific procedures in place for gaining easement access in such situations. These procedures ensure that BVWD will make reasonable attempts to cooperatively gain access to easements by following either non-emergency or emergency access procedures, as dictated by the particular circumstances and nature of work required.

Least Destructive Access

When conditions and our access procedures warrant, BVWD may need to obtain access without property owner/occupant assistance. When this happens, BVWD will attempt to utilize the least destructive means to obtain access.

Least destructive access includes our ability to remove obstructions from the easement area, including landscaping, boulders, trees, debris or structures that should not be located in the easement. In these circumstances, BVWD is not responsible for returning obstructions to the easement.

Emergency Access Summary

An emergency is defined as a situation where a BVWD facility or asset causes or has the immediate potential to cause any of the following:

• Sanitary sewer overflow

• Sewage back-up into a structure

• Public health/safety problem

• Damage to public or private property

• Negative environmental impact

Non-Emergency Access Summary

A non-emergency is defined as a situation where a BVWD facility or asset has the future potential to cause any of the following:

• Sanitary sewer overflow

• Sewage back-up into a structure

• Public health/safety problem

• Damage to public or private property

• Negative environmental impact

© 2018 Bear Valley Water District | 441 Creekside Drive | PO Box 5027 | Bear Valley, CA 95223 | Phone: (209) 753-2112 | Fax: (209) 753-6267