First guess is that it varies by state - but I'd also guess that the law
is crafted so that *somebody* is responsible for almost everything.
The situation is what looks like some sort of communication wire bundle
along a state road where the steel wrapping wire has come undone and is
hanging down to the ground.
Guy at the rent-a-car nearby says he called in to somebody-or-other
about two weeks ago and a guy came out to look and reported that it was
I'm thinking the logical fall guy is the power company on whose poles it
Anybody got any experience?
It belongs to whoever put it there -- if it's abandoned for use, they're
more likely not to care than do so as long as it isn't an issue for the
actual lines that are in use.
It's possible (probable?) it's a telephone line that the phone company
has/had an easement for using the power line poles and if so, it's not
their responsibility. When (and if) it causes them a problem it'll be
taken care of 'cuz they'll call in their obligations. :) Of course, if
it's one of the locals that's gone out of existence, that's something
else again and they'd probably have to deal with it themselves if it
were to become and issue.
Surprising it's not already been stripped, though, is my first reaction...
Maybe not. I think what you've encountered might be the outer edge of a
dispute about just who is responsible. When our local power company began
to obsess over cutting costs they tried very hard to foist as much tree
trimming as they could on the county and homeowners. It wasn't until the
(you guessed it) untrimmed trees caused havoc after a major storm that the
public service commission made clear exactly *who* had to trim trees that
threatened the power lines. It was the power company.
Ask not for whom the bell tolls, Pete, it tolls for thee. <g> Most poles are
tagged with an ID plate so it's now up to you to find it and who "owns" that
pole. I'd call them first and then the county or state government highway
or public service departments if the pole owners were unresponsive. It
would seem they're on the hook, liability-wise if they are on notice there's
a problem and they fail to correct and it results in some sort of mishap.
Abandoned, undocumented wire in buildings has been such a big problem the
NEC addresses it (attn: NEC wonks: Citation?) and requires it be identified
and removed before new work is installed. Oh, heck, there's Google:
<<Typically, tenants install the cabling that is required to support their
operations while abandoning all previously installed cables. Unless the
lease spells out the responsibility for removing the cabling, the
responsibility and the cost for its removal falls on the owner.
Managers should take a close look at all leases and license agreements
between the organization and tenants, telecommunication companies, and
information and cable service providers.
In most cases, a lease will not address the issue of removal of inside
wiring to be abandoned. It would be worthwhile to review and revise these
existing contracts, as well as all future contracts.>>
That would be my guess but I also would believe they'd try hard to get
someone else (Joe Taxpayer, for example) to pay for the removal of wires
from their right of way if the original company that ran them went out of
business. IMHO, the company leasing the RoW should have had to post some
sort of bond guaranteeing the removal of the old wire before the RoW is
granted, but as the article above points out, that may not have been
addressed in early contracts.
However, based on general legal principles, if you rent out facilities to
someone without a security deposit and they go bankrupt, you're on the hook
as the landlord. You can't get blood from a turnip.
Not with this, but when I was hiking in the woods near home, and near an
xway curve, so no one on the xway could see anything, I found a
horizontal 2" pipe about 3 feet above the ground, and the water was
coming out full blast, going 6 or 8 feet before it fell to the ground.
No valve to turn it off with. Notthing around it but weeds 2 or 3 feet
high. I heard it before I saw it.
I called Baltimore County, where it was located, and iirc they asked the
address. I said it was a quarter mile from any street, so I couldn't
give them an address. They told me in that case to call Baltimore City.
(I think the city owns the reservoirs and gets the water first and then
sells the county what it uses) I called the city and they wanted an
address, and I told them no address and they told me to call the county
I said the county told me to call them. I think on the next call, to a
different extension in the county, they took my directions and said
they'd fix it, but I had to call back in a couple weeks and it took
maybe 2 months before the water was turned off. Plus maybe 6 months or
more that it was running before I noticed it.
Where i was hiking was soaking wet, making it difficult for us to walk
and we thought it was because the stream had flooded and the water not
receded yet, but 4 months later it was still soaking wet, when it should
have been dry by then. It was another two months before I had time to
walk around and before I found the pipe, which I realized was wetting at
least an acre or three. and then going into the stream and to the
Atlantic Ocean. .
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