Repair work continues after San Francisco water main break


The San Francisco PUC says there are hundreds of water pipe breaks in the city every year, but nothing on the scale of what happened here. Still, residents got a visit from someone who says he's suffered mightily from one or three of those smaller breaks.

"I'm gonna give this to you because three years ago the City of San Francisco flooded my lot three times," Zeno Zimmerman said to a West Portal resident.

Zimmerman went door-to-door in the flooded West Portal neighborhood, offering a flyer that he says recounts a cautionary tale. It's the tale of flooding at his Diamond Heights home in 2010.

We have not been able to confirm with the city, but he says it cost him $60,000 in repair and the city is offering 10 cents on the dollar.

"I don't want these people to suffer like I have," Zimmerman said. "I worked 20 years for that home."

Three homes on 15th Avenue are red tagged because of a shared sinkhole underneath their back foundations.

A 16-inch water main broke up the street on February 27. In all, 23 homes were damaged. It will be months before city engineers know if the red tagged properties can be saved.

In the meantime, repair work goes on here constantly. Geotechnical testing will begin soon.

Residents are struggling with their insurance companies and so far giving the city high marks for coming through with short-term financial support of up to $25,000.

But whether it's insurance claims or worry over shifting soils, the waiting and hoping is just beginning.

"I had a city engineer come in here the other day," resident Ray Moreno said. "I had a friend of mine who's an engineer, and another friend's a geologist, they both came by and they said that from what they could see, just preliminary, looks pretty good. His quote was, 'I think you've dodged a bullet.'"

Moreno tells us that even those residents in untagged homes are expecting visits from the city to bore or drill in their ground floors and backyards soon to test the soil.

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