According to the Duluth News Tribune many hidden creeks throughout the city may seem charming at first, but as the pipes begin to age it can be a huge headache for residents and business owners alike.

Susan Williams who lives in the East Hillside neighborhood of Duluth bought her home 9 years ago and has a small creek known as (Grey's Creek) that emerges in her backyard that comes from a concrete outlet into a ravine and eventually empties into Lake Superior. At first she thought it was charming until she realized that she has to pay to maintain the 3 1/2 foot concrete pipe that runs under her house. Like any homeowner she hopes that this century old pipe holds together.

Grey's Creek is 1 of 44 streams that flows down the steep hillside into Lake Superior many which have homes, roads and businesses right above it. Many years ago developers found it much easier to simply build tunnels over parts of the streams in order to erect buildings on the land.

So how does this affect a homeowner or business who's property is over one of these creeks?  City officials have stated if their are no city easements or rights of way the land owners above the buried waterways are legally responsible for maintaining and repairing what is underneath.

Chris Kleist, who is the utility operations supervisor for the city of Duluth says the city tries to work with property owners when there is a dispute, but the city cannot take on all the responsibility for tunnels that were built and put together by private landowners many decades ago. I would guess word to the wise and check with a realtor before you purchase a home that has one of these creeks running under it.


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