Flood-prone neighborhood braces for storm

October 12, 2009 6:29:40 PM PDT
The early season storm is making residents of one East Bay neighborhood particularly nervous. They live on a street in San Pablo that routinely floods, and that flooding has already prompted a lawsuit against Contra Costa County.

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The storm drains in one San Pablo neighborhood are near flood stage, and it hasn't rained much in months. It's an issue that prompted a lawsuit against Contra Costa County by residents tired of the flooding that threatens their homes in the winter.

"The county was asked over 100 times to get these drains squared away and that's 100 times prior to the flooding," said attorney Mister Phillips.

The problem stems from the county's underground drainage pipe clogged with silt and debris. It runs under property owned by Burlington Northern and onto that of a private developer.

The county must maintain the pipe on the railroad property, but has filed a cross-claim against developer Pinole Point Properties for failing to keep the downstream culvert clear. Pinole Point maintains it is not their responsibility.

Besides the legal maneuvers, nothing was done over the summer to unclog the pipe.

"If we come back a week later, that Skittles, that M&Ms, those cookie wrappers will be in the same spot," said Bob Van Bibber, president of the neighborhood association. "We had the whole summer to get these drains cleaned and done, and nothing's done. That's at flood stage, this is at flood stage, and guess what sports fans, it's going to rain."

Contra Costa County Public Works does have a date set to work on these drains. It's this coming Thursday.

With heavy rains forecast for Tuesday, Supervisor John Gioia told ABC7, "Public Works is on call to make sure that there's not flooding in any of those homes. They will be monitoring. Before any water backed up out of that drain, they would be pumping it."

By the looks of it, they could be pumping a lot more than water.

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