Coatesville, PA asked in Real Estate Law and Municipal Law for Pennsylvania

Q: Does my Pennsylvania township share responsibilities with me for repairing a damaged detention basin?

The basin is within a drainage easement on my property which drains runoff from public roads. It's in a development without a HOA. Over several years a gully has formed cutting through a basin embankment & section of rip rap. The source of the runoff is an adjacent farm, but natural processes caused the gully. The farmer is not at fault. The recorded Final Plan of the subdivision states "If stormwater runoff from public roads...crosses through the easement [it does], the Township shall...maintain and repair...the structural stormwater management improvements within the easement such dissipation structures...[and]...detention basin control structures." The rip rap is an energy dissipation structure and the embankment is a detention basin control structure. Note that the Final Plan only states that the runoff from public roads "crosses" the easement. Nowhere does it say the runoff has to be the cause of any damage, nor does it restrict the source of the damage.

1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Scoblionko
Mark Scoblionko
  • Allentown, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: You have outlined most of the issues that a lawyer would need to review to answer your question. One other thing that may be important is whether the farmer did anything to artificially divert the water.

A lawyer would want to review the development plan and agreement with the municipality, as well as your deed. However, you would need a formal consultation with a lawyer to evaluate this.

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