What recourse do I haveif myneighbors drain their sump pump on my property?

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What recourse do I haveif myneighbors drain their sump pump on my property?

My neighbor’s sump pump drains water across my driveway and part of my yard about 6 months a year. It stinks, I can’t mow it, bugs everywhere, and I have to drive through it everyday. The local building inspector, health department, and EPA all indicate they do not regulate sump pump discharge. Neighbor says he followed all codes and will not do anything. Can I take them to court and what are the chances that I would win? Is that my only option? What kind of cost to me?

Asked on June 27, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You probably would have a good chance to take the neighbor to court on one or more of several grounds, such as creating a nuisance or trespass, since he is sending his waste water onto your land, something which he does not have a right to do. The outcome of a lawsuit is never definite, but from what you write, it would at least be worthwhile to take the next step and discuss the matter with a local attorney, who can evaluate the situation in detail and also give you a budget for proceeding. Note that what attorneys charge various widely; for whatever it's worth, in my area (northern NJ), you could probably find a small practioner to handle this matter for between $1,200 and $4,000 - $5,000 dollars (the variation is because it matters to cost whether the matter settles early and goes through trial).

As an alternative: could you build some wall or ditch at your property line that will deflect the water back onto the neighbor's property? As long as you do it fully on your land, unless your neighbor had some sort of easement, there should be nothing he can do about this.


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