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post #1 of 46 (permalink) Old 17-01-2021, 11:58 Thread Starter
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Any legal eagles on here?

About twenty years ago a neighbour from up the road drilled an artesian well in their back garden for the purposes of watering their garden. It leaked from day one. They paid us a visit and we looked at the water flowing into our ditch and pond together. They apologised and we said it was not much water and that we were sure it would be all right flowing down out ditch and into our natural pond.

Over the years since then the flow from this leaking bore hole has gradually increased until it is now a torrent rushing along our ditch, through our pond and out into the roadside ditch outside until it runs in to the river further down the road.

Any official that sees the amount of water gushing through is astounded. No one, however, wants to do anything about it!

We will need to sell our property in order to finish building our bungalow behind it. An estate agent has told us that people will not want the "stream" and pond as it amounts to an "unknown" in terms of the future and that puts people off when viewing properties. This, of course, means that the house could be worthless giving us a real headache as we need to sell to realise some money to finish the bungalow.

We have been told that the water flow could, in law, be considered a statutory nuisance.

Up until now we have not bothered to tell the neighbours how concerned we are about the issue. Recently, however, the opportunity arose and I told Judith about our concerns re selling our house. She was very dismissive of the problem saying that she was not prepared to pay to cap the well. More recently still both Chris and I broached to subject with her and the whole thing turned into a shouting match. She will not accept that she has any responsibility to pay to have the well capped so that the water stops rushing down to our property. All she kept saying was that it was all our fault because we had not told her about the increase in flow before now. She has had a water feature made out of the torrent as it rises out of the ground in her garden! She even accused us of gaining "enjoyment" from the water all these years.

Our street is subject to flooding and several neighbours came close to having their houses flooded. Investigations of their rear ditches found all the water coming from her well and they had dealings with her over how to resolve the matter. She was extremely obstructive but did cough up a few hundred pounds towards a digger and driver to divert the water away from their gardens. Needless to say she was a nightmare to deal with.

I do not want to go to law because it all comes into the public domain and will have a different effect on the value of our property because it is a "neighbour dispute".

Any ideas???
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post #2 of 46 (permalink) Old 17-01-2021, 12:18
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Not a legal eagle in any way, but very sad that you have found yourself in this position.

My unlegal thoughts would be twofold ;

1. The flow of water IS a nuisance and if she drilled the well, it is her responsibility to cap it and control it,

2. If she has already paid out "a few hundred pounds" for a digger, that is an admission of responsibility and she cannot step back from that admission,

As regards what to do now, I could only suggest the solicitor's letter as a start, yes it will count as a neighbour dispute, but it already does, as both you and others have expressed verbal concerns about the flow of water.

BUT I STRESS I HAVE NO LEGAL TRAINING AT ALL, I am just basing these thoughts on what I have read, or heard before.

Good luck, such things are never easy to sort.....
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post #3 of 46 (permalink) Old 17-01-2021, 12:28
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If the flow is more than 4000 gallons a day from a bore hole they need an abstraction licence so if its greater have a word with the E.A. they may then decide the cost is not worth it and cap the bore hole
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post #4 of 46 (permalink) Old 17-01-2021, 13:31
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If all else fails we could make an offer for the house. How about starting at 30/- opening gambit Pat? You did say it was worthless.

Ray.
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post #5 of 46 (permalink) Old 17-01-2021, 14:58 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bilbaoman View Post
If the flow is more than 4000 gallons a day from a bore hole they need an abstraction licence so if its greater have a word with the E.A. they may then decide the cost is not worth it and cap the bore hole
Anglian Water were on site for a different reason and the guy saw the water coming out of the ditch. He said "blimey that must be at least 2 litres per second"! He then walked away.
The developers who built the houses between us and the bore hole tried their best to get her to cap it and called in Environment Agency. They inspected it but did not, to my knowledge, measure the flow. They decided that it could be piped away from the development (and into our property) and so the developer just piped it under the gardens of the new properties. Rumour has it that EA actually quite like leaking bore holes because they flow down to the rivers and keep them clean! That might be why they walked away.

Our farmer neighbour pays £700 per year to draw water from a bore hole.

The problem bore hole is not registered. During our "discussion" I mentioned this and the owner said it was not needed. We informed her that it might not have been needed when the it was first drilled but it almost certainly does now.

So, our first option might be to inform her that she needs a licence. Not sure if they come and measure the flow or whether they just issue a licence because she is offering to pay? I would hope that they would come out and measure and decide to charge her per litre.

The person in question has history. We sold her some land, along with her neighbours, and she consulted with them to find out if her piece was the same price as theirs. Then when it came time to fence her piece off from those either side of her she refused to pay for either fence and insisted that both fences be marked on deeds as "not her responsibility". She is an intelligent woman - both she and her husband are doctors long since retired.
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post #6 of 46 (permalink) Old 17-01-2021, 15:22 Thread Starter
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Any mathematicians?

The AW guys looked at the flow and said "Blimey - that must be 2 litres per second"!

Their charges are £27.50 per 1000 cubic litres per annum.
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post #7 of 46 (permalink) Old 17-01-2021, 15:50
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365 x 24 x 3 600 = 31 536 000 seconds

2 litres per second gives 63 072 000 litres

As there is no such thing as a cubic litre, perhaps you mean a cubic metre?
1000 litre = 1 cu m.

Also, the per annum is irrelevent as it would not matter how long you take to consume the water: it is the volume which is important.

so 63 072 x £27.50 = £1 734 480 per annum.

IF your figures are correct, she is facing one hell of a bill!

Gordon
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post #8 of 46 (permalink) Old 17-01-2021, 15:57 Thread Starter
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We came up with telephone numbers too! I must stress that the flow has not been measured. It was just an Anglian Water engineer giving his guestimate. You can, apparently measure it by timing how long it takes to fill a container and then doing the maths.
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post #9 of 46 (permalink) Old 17-01-2021, 15:58
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63,000 cubic meters per year!
Presumably the cost is per cubic meter (not cubic Liter)

PS. I'll try and be quicker next time!
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Ted.
I try and state simple facts in a nice way.
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post #10 of 46 (permalink) Old 17-01-2021, 16:14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patp View Post
We came up with telephone numbers too! I must stress that the flow has not been measured. It was just an Anglian Water engineer giving his guestimate. You can, apparently measure it by timing how long it takes to fill a container and then doing the maths.
But even attempting to measure means that you must ensure that you capture ALL of the outflow as only catching a part of it would give a very false figure. It would be no use holding a bucket in the stream and seeing how long it takes to fill it eg a 10l bucket fills in 10 seconds.....

But if you are only catching 10% of the outflow, then the true figure would be 1 second for 10 litres, if only 1% of the outflow........ and do on.

Anglian Water would seem a very sensible starting point and simply drop a note through the door warning them that you are invoking that procedure to get the flow managed/stopped.

If the flow is greater now than when it started, it could mean the hole has eroded internally from say 6" diameter to 9" or even larger, that may not be visible through the hole.

You started by saying it was an "artesian well" - is it in a dip/valley ? From my knowledge of artesian wells, this was how the Trafalgar Squate fountains were first originally operated as London has a clay basin underneath it and the pressure forced the water up. Nowadays, the artesian flow has virtually stopped as so much water is abstracted for household use that Trafalgar Square is now a closed, pumped system. So your flow will not reduce if it IS artesian, until the basin underneath has been drained...

Has the water been tested to ensure that it is not from a fractured main pipe ? That would be VERY expensive and I suspect AW would be required to sort it at tgeir expense......
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Any comments above are only MY OPINION and should be read as that.

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Last edited by Penquin; 17-01-2021 at 16:16.
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