Water Drainage Legal Issues
An update process began more than seven years ago with the Ohio Drainage Law Working Group convened by the Ohio County Commissioners Association (AOCC). The OICC tasked the Task Force with clarifying ambiguous provisions of the Act and using new technologies and processes that would lead to greater efficiency, fewer misunderstandings and reduced legal costs for taxpayers. Task force members included county commissioners, district engineers and staff, district auditors, district soil and water conservation professionals, staff from The Ohio Farm Bureau, The Ohio State University`s Agricultural and Resource Law Program, and other OSU faculty. Representative Bob Cupp sponsored the resulting H.B. 340, which was unanimously approved by the House and Senate. If you can prove that your neighbor is responsible for the water damage you suffered, you may be able to collect damages for: The common enemy rule essentially states that surface waters are a common enemy of all landowners. Under this rule, each landowner is allowed to do whatever they want to mitigate the problem, and no other landowner will be liable to another for problems caused by water flow. If your property has been damaged due to your neighbour`s negligence or negligence, you may be able to get compensation for your damages and losses. You can also get a court order ordering your neighbour to stop doing anything that has caused water damage to your property. New Bill Explains Ohio`s Surface Water Drainage Act If your neighbor is having trouble draining water in your garden, or on the contrary, you think that draining your neighbor`s water in your yard is a problem, King Law can help. Call us at (888) 748-5464 and we would be happy to discuss this issue and possible remedies with you. Do Henderson County staff apply drainage easements on individual properties? No, Henderson County does not have the authority to enforce individual property owners` drainage easements.
Damage caused by surface water drainage has been treated differently by different jurisdictions in the United States, but can be summarized by three (3) basic doctrines or rules: Ohio`s “petition ditches laws” are finally undergoing a major overhaul. The Ohio General Assembly approved H.B. 340 and updated legislation dealing with the installation and maintenance of drainage works for improvement through the petitions process. Some of Ohio`s oldest laws, the drainage laws, play a vital role in maintaining surface water drainage on Ohio lands, but were in urgent need of updating. The civil law rule is exactly the opposite: it states that an owner is liable to another owner if he changes the natural flow of water on his land and that causes damage to the second owner. Both rules were relaxed over time and began to incorporate elements of relevance. Created by FindLaw`s team of writers and legal writers| Last update 29. May 2019 Can my neighbour channel his water on my property? If the upper landowner unreasonably diverts runoff flow, increases flow, or contaminates runoff in a way that causes significant harm to the lower landowner, the lower landowner may seek an injunction and damages. Landowners are considered equal at common law, whether they are individuals, corporations, road authorities, and federal, state, and local governments. You could seek advice from a drainage company, a drainage engineer, a lawyer, a conservation agency, but remember that it is not their responsibility to solve the problem.
Only the courts can make a final decision in a dispute. To obtain a court decision, the injured party must bring a civil action. Common Enemy Rule – This rule is derived from English common law and treats rainwater and other natural water sources as a common enemy of all landowners. Under this rule, which many states follow, each landowner is expected to protect their own land from surface water and runoff. Landowners can take any action they want, such as building or drainage ditches. If surface water flows from your neighbor`s land onto your land and causes more damage than natural, you should always protect your land from that water. Surface water drainage is undoubtedly important for farm owners. One question we often hear is whether someone can interfere with surface water drainage on someone else`s property.
The answer to this question lies in Ohio`s “doctrine of fair use,” which sets out guidelines for when a landowner has the legal right to influence the discharge of surface water onto another property. Our new bulletin “Surface Water Drainage Rights” explains this important legal doctrine. The dispute arising from a drainage improvement project completed in 2002 was eventually resolved by a decision of the Ohio Supreme Court. The court announced today that it will not accept the case for review, upholding the Third District Court of Appeals` decision in favor of the Henry County engineer. According to witnesses, the cause of the 2003 flood was a drainage pipe and watershed south of the Westhoven property, which had been cut during the construction of the drainage system for road improvement projects. The engineer`s staff had filled in the tile and catchment basin because it did not appear to be a functional tile and did not exist on any of the county plans. A few years later, excavations on the Westhoven property revealed a drainage pipe located just 15 feet from the pool of filled tiles and sumps. The newly discovered tile, which Westhoven had not previously reported to the engineer, had stuffed a bag of seeds into the exit, which was located near the filled collection basin.
The Rohrs claimed that the engineer`s employees intentionally stuffed the seed bag into the work tile, while the engineer`s employees claimed they knew nothing about the tile. The county suspected that the bag of seeds had been used during the previous filling of the tile and sump, which it said would not work. Disputes with neighbors are best resolved quickly to minimize conflict. If you know your rights, you can make your negotiations simple, convenient and predictable. Contact an experienced real estate attorney in your area to learn more about local land and water laws to ensure your dispute is resolved effectively. We are working with other members of the Task Force to prepare detailed explanations of the provisions of the Act and a guideline for the new procedures. District engineers and SWCD offices will follow the revised law when the law goes into effect on March 18, 2021, just in time for spring rains and drainage needs. For more information, see our Ohio Surface Water Dewatering Rights Act, available HERE.
It explains the doctrine of “fair use,” describes how appropriateness is determined, and discusses remedies for drainage damage. Depending on who you talk to and when you talk to them, Ohio is blessed or cursed as a water-rich state. Droughts certainly happen, but in recent years, Ohio farmers have seen record rainfall, both in terms of inches and intensity. Since spring showers cause a transition from winter to spring, we wanted to take a moment to look at Ohio`s surface water drainage laws. Generally, a neighbor is not responsible for damage to your property caused by runoff from natural rain and land conditions. However, if your neighbor planted their land or altered their property in other ways, causing more water to flow onto your property than would naturally happen, you may have a fallback solution to compensate for the damage. In general, there are three different types of laws that can allow you to hold your neighbor liable for surface water damage to your property.