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A City-Owned Tree Is Crushing His Sewer Line. Now He Has To Pay Thousands

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - A homeowner was slapped with a hefty fee from the city to dig up a tree root crushing his sewer line.

He doesn't want to pay for the repairs and neither does the city.

"The tree has been there longer than I have," said Ryan Aplanalp who lives in Midtown.

A 100-year-old tree is causing a stinky situation by digging deep roots under Aplanalp's property.

"It's growing into the pipe basically and causing the damage," he said. "Everything started backing up from the shower to the toilet, to the laundry room."

He hired a plumber in hopes of cutting off the problem, but it's just too big.

"Its roots are ginormous and crushing the sewer line," he said.

What he thought was a few-hundred-dollar fix ended up becoming complicated and costly.

So we wanted to know, who's responsible for the city's trees?

According to city code: "the City only maintains trees on public property." One may infer it's the city's, but the city says they don't own the trees, they just maintain them,

"I can't even trim the tree, yet it's now my responsibility when it's crushing the sewer pipe?" he said, which is true without a permit.

Here's where it gets expensive. Now he needs permits from the city which include: encroachment costs, utility review, and traffic control.

"Traffic control plan review for I don't know what traffic," he said baffled.

The permit alone is $1,010 and in total to dig it up and fix his pipes $3,500.

The once appreciated tree shading his property has quickly become a crushing headache.

"It's been here longer than I have and the city maintains it, but I guess they don't maintain the roots," he said.

The same goes for sidewalks in Sacramento. Cracks caused by the tree's roots are also the property owner's problem.

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