Utility Easements Guide

Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) provides water and sewer services to approximately 70,000 customers in New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington.  CFPUA owns and maintains approximately 200 miles of easements that provide access to water and sewer lines, wastewater pumping stations, wells, and its other utility systems.  

Water and sewer easements often cross multiple lots or tracts.  CFPUA has restrictive rights to the properties through the easements, and does not own the underlying land.  Easement maintenance is necessary to remove obstacles that could substantially delay response time in the event of an emergency, or that would hinder access along the routes.  CFPUA regularly inspects and maintains these easements and does not allow most encumbrances such as ponds, berms, fences, trees and structures that would impede access to its infrastructure.  

The maintenance of the water and sewer systems is critical to ensuring and securing the public health for our customers.  The maintenance of system is the responsibility of CFPUA’s Operations Department.  Sanitary sewer lines are primarily located underground and are connected by a series of manholes that are either at or slightly above ground level.  In order to maintain the system, employees must be able to have access to the manholes.  These manholes are located either in public rights-of-way or in easements on private property.

Inadequate operation and maintenance of the system can cause failures, which result in sanitary sewer overflows or water line breaks.

Timely operation and maintenance ensures that the capital investment the community has made in its water and sewer systems extends its effective life cycle and reduces operational costs.

CFPUA's Utility Easements Guide asks, and answers, a series of frequently asked questions about utility easements.  We hope it helps explain what they are and what they mean.

CFPUA's Utility Easements Guide - March 2017 Update