SF homeowners, businesses frustrated with flooding sewage system

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco city officials admit they will not be able to fix a problem ahead of this week's rainstorm. The sewer system under some homes and businesses is old and a downpour can overflow the pipes.

Victoria Sanchez lives on Cayuga Avenue in the Mission Terrace neighborhood. Her garage still shows signs of damage from flooding.

Neighbors say it wasn't rain water flooding their homes and businesses, but something much more unpleasant.

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Donna Marie Ponferrada from the group Solutions Not Sandbags, said, "This is untreated sewage. This isn't just water, it's not Mother Nature. It is spewing directly from manholes."

At 17th and Folsom, Hans Art, the owner of Hans Art Automotive has the same problem. He also took video last December of the flooding around his business, flooding cars.

"We're not asking them to protect us from flooding. We want simply for them to fix their sewer system so their water doesn't come up here," Art said.

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The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission admits during extreme rain events, the system does not have enough capacity.

"There's only so much that we can do. We have plans to do some projects out there which are going to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. We're committed to doing one of those projects. But in the meantime, we need everyone to be prepared," Tyrone Jue, a spokesperson from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, said.

Art is raising up his parking lot and using sandbags.

There are sandbags on Cayuga Avenue too, but neighbors say it's not enough.

"My grandchildren live here and everything. How am I going to live with this problem?" Sanchez said.

The SFPUC does offer grants to help people pay for flood prevention improvements.

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