What to do if my neighbor’s raw sewage running onto my property and into my ponds?

UPDATED: Feb 18, 2012

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What to do if my neighbor’s raw sewage running onto my property and into my ponds?

My neighbor’s raw sewage is running straight down the side of their yard into the ditch to the culvert. This runs under the road onto my property and into my ponds. I have already called the health dept. and they are starting the process of getting this to stop but I would like to know what my legal recourse against this neighbor is.

Asked on February 18, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Missouri


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You can sue your neighbor for nuisance.  Nuisance is a serious and unreasonable interference with your use and enjoyment of your property.

Damages (monetary compensation in your lawsuit) may be an inadequate remedy because since the sewage polluting your property is an ongoing situation, multiple lawsuits would be filed.  Damages are also inadequate because land is unique.  Therefore, instead of damages, your remedy would be an injunction to stop the sewage flowing onto your property and into your pond.  A court will balance the benefits and burdens of the parties in order to determine whether or not to grant an injunction.  The benefit to you is of course preventing the contamination of your property which is also a health issue.  This will be weighed by the court against the burden (cost to your neighbor of stopping the sewage flow).  If the court grants your injunction, a temporary restraining order will be issued which will be in effect until a preliminary hearing at which time the court may issue a preliminary injunction to halt the sewage flow until trial at which time the court will decide whether to grant a permanent injunction to permanently stop your neighbor from allowing sewage to flow onto your property and into your pond.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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