If you have received a cease and desist notice issued by the DEP there is a good chance it has caught you by surprise and you need assistance understanding why this has occurred.
Most commonly the investigation process for a broken sewer will start if there is a large sinkhole under the roadway or sidewalk. In a case like this you are probably aware of the sinkhole but never thought that this could possibly be your responsibility. In other cases there may be a small depression that you may not have noticed as this is a common occurrence in the streets of NYC.
Another common issue that would lead to a cease and desist is if your sewage line is broken and leaking into a neighboring home. In this case the neighboring property owner may have reported the issue to DEP who is required to assist in determining the source of the sewage leak.
The final most common factor that would lead to an investigation is if another utility contractor is working under the roadway or sidewalk and has come across the broken pipe, which is now creating a hazardous condition to work in.
How does DEP know its your sewer?
There are two types of inspections the DEP will perform before concluding on the broken sewer. The first is a camera inspection which will display a picture on the inside of your sewer and determine if and where the breaks are along the sewer pipe.
The other option would be a dye test, this is where they will insert green dye from the inside of your home and after a few minutes the dye will show up in the location of the sewage leak if it is your sewer that is broken.
How to resolve the cease and desist notice?
First it is important that you understand the location of your sewer break, condition of the existing sewer line and at this time you can make an educated decision on a partial repair, or a full sewer line replacement.
It is important not to ignore the violation as you may incur additional fines, in addition to the city turning off the water to your home.
If you have been issued a cease and desist it is important to consult with a trusted licensed master plumber, share all of the information you have obtained and strategize on the next best step specific to your property.