1. What is an Easement?
An Easement is a legal document that conveys limited property rights from the Grantor (Property Owner) to the Grantee (West Bay Sanitary District, Utility Company, City, etc..). This document is usually recorded in the office of the County Recorder. A sanitary sewer easement creates a non-exclusive, perpetual right to use a portion of your property for sanitary sewer purposes. This provides the District with access rights to repair, replace, inspect, enlarge, change, maintain, test and/or remove the sanitary sewer located within the easement.
2. Who owns and maintains the Easement?
The Property Owner continues to own the land and has only given up defined rights on the portion of land used for the easement. Maintenance of the property within the easement is the responsibility of the Property Owner. However, the District has a right to access that portion of land which has been designated an easement.
3. What is the size and location of the Easement?
The easement is typically fifteen feet wide (seven and one half feet on either side of the sanitary sewer), however, the size may vary. The location will be determined from recorded maps or a grant of easement document. If you are unfamiliar with the size and location of your easement please contact your title company or the District at (650) 321-0384.
4. Who can enter my property?
The District, if it has an easement, may go onto the easement at any time. The District may, on occasion, have a Contractor present to perform specific tasks relating to the District’s operations. We will make an effort to notify you prior to entry, however, in the case of an emergency we may need to enter without prior notification. Please request, at any time, to see District personnel photo identification cards, or contact the District at (650) 321-0384.
5. Can I make improvements within the Easement?
Whoever owns the property may not interfere with the purpose of a legal easement. A property owner who does interfere with an easement can be liable to the easement owner for any damage he causes. Example: planting trees over a sewer easement and the root cause damage to the pipe. Keeping easements clear helps the sanitary district perform routine maintenance (ex. Cleaning sewer pipes), construct improvement projects (ex. replacement of sanitary sewers), and repairs during emergencies (ex. Repair a sewer line during a storm.)
Easement are typically granted to the District with the understanding that the property owner may make minor improvements to the surface such as fences, irrigation and lighting systems or similar improvements. As part of the agreement, the District is permitted to remove any of theseimprovements for the purpose of maintaining and/or replacing the sanitary sewer. Please note that the District is not liable for any damage to your improvements.
6. What does this mean to me?
Do not place planters or any other objects on manhole covers.Fences and gates are not to be constructed over manhole covers.No permanent structures are to be erected within the easement location.Keep the location of the easement clear of debris and material, especially around manhole access points.Planting of trees within the easement is not permitted without prior approval from the District.For more information on keeping the area clear within the easement, please contact the District at (650) 321-0384.
7. What is an encroachment on an easement?
An encroachment is a physical intrusion in an area of the easement contrary to an agreement. The District may require that any unauthorized encroachments be removed at the property owner’s expense. All encroachments on easements require written approval of the District by way of an Encroachment Agreement.
8. Are there penalties for locating structures or improvements on an easement?
The property owner may be faced with all costs of removal and any associated damages resulting from unauthorized structures or improvements on land subject to an easement.