An easement is a legal interest in property for a specific purpose, such as giving a company access to run a telephone line underground. Utility easements that are dedicated to the Town of Cary cover water and/or sanitary sewer lines and are typically 20 feet wide. After the easement is granted, the property owner continues to maintain the easement just like the rest of the yard.
What can/cannot be in an easement
Ground covers or grasses may be planted within an easement. No trees or shrubbery of any size shall be placed within 5 feet of any manhole and any Town utility easement because of the need for access by utility maintainers and line damage that tree and shrub roots can cause.
Fences and landscaping improvements installed within the easement are subject to disturbance or damage during the Town's use of the easement and may be removed if the Town needs access for maintenance or utility line repair. Fences on properties that have sections over top of a sanitary sewer main line and within the sewer easement should have either removable sections within the fence or have a gate that is 10 feet wide. Please send questions concerning easement locations to email@example.com.
Easement Inspections à Annual and Semi Annual Inspections of Easements and Manholes
North Carolina law requires utilities to perform annual inspections of all easements to insure proper access for maintenance activities. The Town performs these inspections on an annual and bi-annual schedule. These inspections include but not limited to the observation of manholes, the condition of the easements for mowing and for access. Inspections to identify obstructions such as planted trees, bushes and fences that may obstruct access for routine maintenance of the Town’s collection system. All easements and right-of-ways are indicated on property surveys. Homeowners are urged to check their property surveys before adding fences or plants to insure that the easements and rights-of-way are kept clear.
Easement Maintenance à Notification Letters à Identifying Boundaries and Vegetation à Routine Mowing of Easements.
To protect our public health and environment, the Town of Cary periodically clears easements of trees and re-growth to prevent tree root penetration into sewer lines which cause sewer blockages and sewer overflows. Before any vegetative clearing starts, a notification letter is sent to all property owners that border the easement explaining the purpose for clearing easements and the approximate time the work will be performed. Commercial line segments are cleared annually and residential line segments are cleared every two years. This allows property owners the opportunity to ask any questions they may have and remove personal effects from the easement.
Fences without removable sections or gates with in the sanitary sewer easements are subject to disturbance and or damaged during easement maintenance. Town of Cary employees will not replace those items back onto the Town's easement and are not responsible for any damage that may occur to the personal items. A Town employee is on site at all times during the easement mowing or clearing to monitor progress and to address any citizen concerns. Public Works & Utilities, (919) 469-4090 or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Identifying Boundaries and Vegetation
Two weeks after receiving notification letters, town crews will begin flagging easements, and identifying the boundaries using orange flagging ribbon and orange metal flags along with flagging vegetation using blue and white ribbon for removal and pink ribbon for pruning vegetation. Once all easements have been flagged identifying boundaries and vegetation, residents are encouraged to request meetings concerning vegetation that has been flagged for maintenance. This can be done by either notifying Customer Service at (919) 469-4090 or by email: PWUTCustomerService@townofcary.org.
Routine Mowing of Easements
Easement mowing is done by Town crews along with contract crews. Notification letters will identify who will be doing the scheduled maintenance. Contract crews will have a Town employee with them at all times to help with direction and to help assist residents with any last minute questions.
Typical easements are 20-foot wide but in most cases; the easements will not be cut to full width in neighboring communities. Selective vegetation will only be removed where access is needed for routine maintenance or where sewer line segments have been problem areas. These areas can consist of tree roots that have damaged the utility lines, and has caused environmental damage resulting from sewer overflows.
Herbicides are used on Interceptor line segments that are located on Outfalls. These areas are typically away from Neighboring Communities but not limited to all of them. These herbicides have (Aquatic labels) and are EPA approved which are safe to the environment. Herbicide spraying is done by using low impact back pack sprayers. This means that only select vegetation is targeted. The use of herbicides suppresses the regrowth of vegetation which helps reduce the cost of Maintenance Expenses. Any questions or concerns regarding Herbicide applications, please notify Public Works and Utilities Customer Service at (919) 469-4090 or by email: PWUTCustomerService@townofcary.org.