08 January 2019


I am absolutely distraught.

I just found out the local county wants to re-route a sewer main through my back yard—one acre with ~400' creek bank. That could involve condemnations, easements, competing appraisals, and possibly eminent domain—and law suits. I suspect it would mean digging a trench at least 15' deep between my house and the Peachtree Creek which runs through my property.

My house and a couple flower/shrub/tree beds sit on an outcropping of granite bedrock. The proposed main would cut through it, possibly requiring dynamiting within 20' of my home which could shake the foundations of my house and cause cracks in the otherwise watertight basement.

The lawn falls off into the creek past the bedrock boulder raising issues of creek bank erosion and collapse. Ten or 15 years ago, the county provided us 200 tons of granite riprap which we had laid by hand (!) to prevent further creek bank erosion and prevent our yard from slipping into the creek. The creek provides a major runoff when it rains here. And this year we've had upwards of 70 inches of rain. During major storms, what is normally a two-feet deep clear running stream becomes a muddy 15-20 feet deep Class 2 rapids.

We have a number very large, old trees anchoring the creek bank. Before we shored up the bank, we lost one of those giant trees when its root system was undercut by the water. The proposed trench would undermine all that protection, and we would stand to lose actual acreage.

This is not to mention my goldfish pond, fountains, established plantings (e.g., specimen fringe trees and dwarf Japanese maple as well as giant azaleas and a moss lawn) 20-25 years old as well as canopy trees that block the fierce afternoon sun, a sidewalk, trellis, pier, and bridge, underground electrical and sprinkler and gas lines and installations, fences, etc.

Across the creek from me are 70+ acres of county green space woods it seems they could route this thing through. As I understand it, the county's surveying crew that has been here since before the holidays is doing a "feasibility" study. I must convince the decision-makers that the current proposed route is not feasible and that it would be cheaper, easier, and more feasible to re-route the project across the creek.

The previous resident of the house was a landscape architect who had access to all manner of ideas and designs and equipment. He did a marvelous job, and we are lucky to have this Secret Garden 'inside the perimeter' of metro Atlanta. We moved here nearly 20 years ago and have done our dead level best not to destroy his creation—not easy for a couple who'd always lived in Manhattan apartments and had trouble keeping potted plants going more than a year at a time! It's a mature haven we do not want to lose. There's no way, once 100 year-old trees and 25 year-old plantings are destroyed to replace them and return them to their current glory in what remains of our lifetimes. We've had trouble sleeping the last few weeks, and nearly every morning I wake up worrying about how to keep this from happening.

Stay tuned. Here are some pictures of the place and the proposed route of the pipeline.