More Sewer Work To Start This Summer

A new sewer pipe was installed on Drumm Street north of California Street on May 28, 2014. (Photo: Courtesy of Diana Taylor)
A new sewer pipe was installed on Drumm Street north of California Street on May 28, 2014. (Photo: Courtesy of Diana Taylor)

More sewer work will start this summer near the Gateway Apartments and Townhomes, but we’re told it won’t be as disruptive as the project that tore up the neighborhood back in 2014–15.

In case you missed the mess, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is rehabilitating and replacing part of the North Shore Force Main (NSFM) and the Drumm & Jackson Street sewers so that we don’t exit our apartments one day to find we live in the midst of a wastewater lake. That’s good news, and we thank them profusely for that.

In more good news, SFPUC says this round won’t be as bad, because most of the work will be “trenchless.” That means they’ll cleverly dig just a few access points and send crews underground, rather than tearing up long stretches of road and driving us nuts with incessant jackhammering and other noise. Construction is expected to run through winter of 2018. If you want all of the details and a preliminary map showing the access points, please click here: The Embarcadero/Drumm & Jackson Street Sewer Improvements.

So what does this project involve? During the earlier work that ended in the winter of 2015, SFPUC couldn’t just shut down the system and repair the old pipes, because 350,000 people a day—some of whom eat Chipotle—count on that system. So they had to build a “redundant” sewer system to handle the waste. During that work, the SFPUC observed severe corrosion inside the sewer boxes on Drumm & Jackson Streets, so that now needs to be addressed. Why wasn’t it addressed the first time, you ask?

We wondered, too, and got this reply from Vincent Mazzaferro, communications specialist for SFPUC:

“To answer your question regarding the timeline of sewer rehab: during the 2015 North Shore Force Main Project (NSFM) we observed severe corrosion inside the sewer boxes on Drumm & Jackson Streets. This level of damage was not expected, and was not included in the original NSFM scope of work. Therefore, rehabilitation of these sewer boxes required a separate process to appropriately determine how to repair/replace this infrastructure. This process included a condition assessment to fully understand the extent of the structural damage, and a design process to plan and engineer the required rehabilitation. Through the process we were able to determine that rehabilitation could be achieved through a trenchless (below ground) construction method, which will minimize street level construction activities.”

SFPUC is just getting started on notifying the public about the project, and as construction nears, we can expect them to meet with stakeholders, mail out construction notices to both businesses and residents, and post notices in public spaces when possible and on Nextdoor. Last time, SFPUC was conscientiously communicative and transparent about the project and its phases, so we look forward to them keeping us all in the loop again.

If you’d like to be on the email list for updates, please email this address and ask them: ssip@sfwater.org

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