On December 17, the City’s 3-1-1 Customer Service Center received a call reporting “water leaking down some steps onto the street from an unknown source” at George Sterling Park. The park sits on a landscaped hilltop with paths, benches with views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
“I dispatched crews out there asap to get eyes on it and see what was going on.”
Dave Silvestri was the on-call supervisor for SFPUC Wastewater Sewer Operations, who received the notification from 3-1-1.
Manny Carbajal, Sewer Service Crew, was the first to arrive on scene to investigate what was causing the water runoff. After doing an onsite assessment, Carbajal could see the cause was a blocked sewer main at Larkin and Greenwich streets. After back-up crews arrived, they worked quickly to accurately report the overflow, contain the area, interview neighbors, clear the blockage, clear the catch basins and sanitize the entire area.
Later this month, the sewer area will get a Closed-Circuit Television Inspection (CCTV), where remote control cameras will be sent into the sewer to capture high-quality video and pictures of the internal pipe conditions to aid in the planning of a sewer maintenance program. While the roots of an old tree, from the 1800s is likely the cause, there’s no way of knowing until CCTV is done.
While not all sewer blockages can be foreseen, the SFPUC does know rainy weather can be expected anytime as it is the wet weather season. While SFPUC crews work year-round to inspect and clean sewers and catch basins to alleviate any flooding risks, anyone who lives, works or plays in San Francisco can take steps to get rain ready.