Do I Have To Remove My Septic System?

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

I purchased a property in 2012 that has the back 75′ under an electric company easement. There was a septic system put in that easement area back in 2001. Now, 14 years later, the electric company says they never gave permission for that septic to the previous owner, and that I must remove it. What are my recourses?

Your best recourse is probably against whoever put the septic system in (and if that was you, well, then that won’t work). Electric companies, like most utilities, are often protected in their easements more than ordinary people. In many areas, they are treated as quasi-governmental organizations for this purpose. The upshot of which is you cannot get a prescriptive easement against them.

If that is the way the rules work in your area (and your area may be different), then the length of time the septic system was there is irrelevant. If it’s interfering with their easement, then it’ll most likely have to go.

You might have some success in delaying the process on the grounds that it would be a hardship to you, but in the long run, they probably have the stronger argument.

All that being said, you should certianly consult with a local attorney to make sure there aren’t any ways around this that might apply to you.