OWN VOICE. ~ InPerspective by Gregg Dieguez —
I’m hearing that there are flooding and sewer spills coastside which are NOT being reported as such. Not only is that a crime, but things can’t be fixed if there isn’t visible evidence to spur action. If you would, please comment here about any sources who can report such spills (perhaps from Oct. 25th through Jan, 2022) and hopefully provide photos/dates/times.
My concern is that – as I’ve seen elsewhere – if WE don’t keep a record of our complaints, they will get “lost” and we’ll have no record of what each of us has reported. [Airport noise complaints are an example of this ‘disappearing act’.] Certainly the agency responsible for a spill is the logical first reporting venue (e.g. Pacifica City Sewer or SAM on the midcoast), but they might have a conflict of interest in admitting it in public – as we’ve seen in recent announcements.
One City Council member I’ve spoken to doesn’t seem to think these spills aren’t an issue for them to act on. “Oh, they’re happening everywhere.” To me, whether caused by the Climate Crisis or Excess Growth or Mismanagement, they ARE an issue.
You could also report spills to the Regional Water Quality Control Board, but I’ve never done that, and have left a message hoping for something better than an unanswered phone line. >>NEWS FLASH! Just got a callback from them. Here’s how to report online. This is their complaint site: calepa.ca.gov/enforcement/complaints, but in testing it out, it looks like you could go directly to: https://calepacomplaints.secure.force.com/complaints/Complaint
Look at the screen shots below for a preview of what you’ll encounter during the process.
Below are the generic website info with telephone numbers, which I now view as less useful:
“To contact the Water Board, please call 510-622-2369. This line is staffed during business hours and checked regularly during non-business hours.
The State Office of Emergency Services maintains a 24/7 spill report line at 800-852-7550. OES will inform appropriate agencies about any spill report they receive.”
Supposedly, this watchdog agency will pass the report on to the local (offending) agency and follow up. Still, I think we need our own repository of reports and complaints so we can hold our government accountable (or at least watch them not be so – that’s always fun).
Here’s the resident report to me related to that photo above, which just adds to the spills already covered in the Great Pacifica Sewer Spill.
“… yeah we flooded a third time 12/23 @ 11pm
The city neglected to turn the pump station on at Linda Mar Beach and Arguello at ends of flooded 3 ft deep totaling several cars
City manager was out of town Public Works was out of town Wastewater director was out of town
They know they have Willful negligence so they try to pretend like the pumps were on but they were off I can hear them from my house so I could see them
When they did turn the pump station on at 11:32 the level of water at the exterior of the pump station dropped four feet in less than 10 minutes”
- Dan Stegink, Pacifica
We’ll cover the implications of this type of overflows in another article, but it starts with having a record of the overflows, and that’s up to YOU…
Mr. Dieguez is a native San Franciscan, longtime San Mateo County resident, and semi-retired entrepreneur who causes occasional controversy on the Coastside. He is a member of the MCC, but his opinions here are his own, and not those of the Council. In 2003 he co-founded MIT’s Clean Tech Program here in NorCal, which became MIT’s largest alumni speaker program. He lives in Montara. He loves a productive dialog in search of shared understanding.