When 75-year-old Naomi Silverstein climbed out of bed late one night last October, she was shocked that she stepped into raw sewage.
A city sewer had backed up, and flooded her home with sludge, she said. The damage was so great that all the floors had to be replaced and walls repainted.
Her home was repaired in December, but it happened again one month later. She was standing in the shower when she heard the sewage burbling through her pipes. She ran through the house, ready to gather towels to protect her new floors. Then she looked out her window: Excrement was floating in her flooded yard.
Silverstein filed a claim this spring with the city of San Mateo to reimburse her cleanup expenses. She said she the flooding was caused by the city’s broken sewage main lines near her home on Gillis Drive. City officials rejected the claim, saying the problem was on her end. But she argues none of it would ever have happened had the city’s sewer line not flooded during the rains, and she has now filed a lawsuit against the city. In the meantime, she has taken a part-time job as an office assistant to make ends meet.
» 20 to 25 per year: Claims received by the city about sewage backups into homes
» 30 to 40: Percent of those claims where the city accepts responsibility
» 236: Miles of sewers in San Mateo
» $2 million to $2.5 million: Amount devoted to maintaining the lines annually
» 37 million: Total cost of recommended sewer fixes
» $12 million: Amount the city is planning to spend on priority fixes
Source: City of San Mateo
Burbed reader Madhaus submitted this find. I figured it would be a good way to start off the week. This, to me, is an example of why we need to support Prop 13 more than ever. If it weren’t for Prop 13, many of these homeowners would be drowning in high property tax, and would be unable to afford paying to clean up these bursting sewage pipes. How awful would that be!
So keep on Supporting Prop 13, Californians. Otherwise, people will be unable to afford to fix problems caused by decaying infrastructure.