San Francisco, CA – On Saturday, March 5, 2106, San Francisco Public
Utilities Commission (SFPUC) deployed over 400 feet of interlocking,
water-tight flood barriers to minimize the impact of anticipated heavy rains in
one low-lying Mission neighborhood. SFPUC crews, on site while the barriers are
in place to help residents and businesses access their properties, placed the
plastic barriers on the sidewalk along two blocks near the intersection of 17th
and Folsom Streets. The recycled water-filled barriers will be removed when
heavy rain has stopped and/or any flooding has subsided.
“We recognize the tremendous disruption localized flooding can have on our
customers during extreme rain events,” said Harlan L. Kelly, Jr., SFPUC General
Manager. “That’s why we’re committed to trying innovative approaches like these
flood barriers to minimize the impact of intense storms.”
In addition to the $165,000 temporary flood barrier project, the SFPUC is
evaluating longer-term capital projects to address flooding in the most
impacted areas of the City, including 17th/Folsom, Cayuga/Alemany and
Wawona/15th Ave. These projects, estimated to cost a total of $250 million, are
expected to go into construction between 2016 and 2017 after extensive
planning, design and environmental review processes.
An interdepartmental SFPUC task force is also developing a comprehensive
Flood Resilience Study, expected in late spring of this year. This will
identify improvements for the areas of the sewer system where increased
stormwater control is warranted and help guide future ratepayer investments to
prioritize projects citywide. However, once these projects are complete,
intense rainfall that exceeds the system’s capacity could still cause flooding
in low-lying areas. No urban drainage system can be built large enough to
withstand all extreme rain storms.
In the meantime, crews continue to inspect and deep clean the City’s 25,000
catch basins and proactively monitor areas prone to flooding throughout storm
events, as well as inspecting, cleaning, repairing and replacing aging sewers.
The SFPUC has streamlined our emergency response protocols, partnered with our
sister agency, Public Works, and increased our staffing to better assist
residents and businesses in times of severe weather. We have also
hand-delivered thousands of free sandbags to areas especially prone to flooding
to make it easier for residents to protect their properties.
We encourage San Franciscans to take steps to prepare themselves, their
homes and businesses for major rain events. We have asked the public to help
keep stormwater flowing smoothly into catch basins by raking away leaves and
debris that may clog the top of the grates when it is safe to do so. We also
offer a number of programs to empower residents to prepare for the current and
future rainy seasons. Our Floodwater Grant Program reimburses eligible property
owners up to $30,000 for making improvements to their properties that lower the
risk of damage/harm due to flooding. The City has also arranged
participation in the National Flood Insurance Program, which provides
federally-backed affordable flood insurance for homeowners, renters and
businesses in all areas of the City.
As always, the best way to report any sewer issues, such as flooding, sewage
backup or clogged catch basins, is to contact 3-1-1 by logging in to www.sf311.org, using the mobile app for Android
and iPhone or dialing 3-1-1.
More information on storm preparation is available on our website: www.sfwater.org/RainReadySF