All backed up - Page 2

City begins to rectify chronic problems with overflowing sewers after settling a lawsuit

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Islais Creek often backs up into the sewer system during heavy rains, one of many factors that overwhelm it.
GUARDIAN PHOTO BY MIRISSA NEFF

Bayview community organizations have been campaigning for improvement to the sewer system for decades. Webb said some progress has been made in the past few years, including the installation of a pathway at Yosemite Slough Park, part of an effort to restore the wetlands in the area and turn it into a pleasant community space.

Webb was ambivalent about recent improvements. Bayview Hunters Point, like most of San Francisco, has lost much of its African American population during a recent surge in out-migration. According to a 2010 census, San Francisco's black population has declined by 22.6 percent in the last decade.

"This took too long," Webb said of the sewer improvement. "I've been here 60-something years, my mother worked on this before me. It's like a joke to me that now everything's getting fixed up and most of the people can't enjoy it."

Residents may still have a to wait for SSIP projects to begin construction. The program will likely span 15-20 years, and is currently in its early stages. "The project is still in design and planning stages," Walsh said. "It needs to be validated and budgeted. We know it's going to cost multiple billions of dollars"

Yet Walsh is optimistic that the project will make real change in a sewer system that's been inadequate for decades. "It's going to be an impactful project," she said. "People are going to notice it happening."

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