The city has spent about $95 million on damaged sewers since 1978. Engineers say that's not nearly enough. And, they say, there are just 35 people charged with the maintenance of 900 miles of aged sewer lines.
"That's enough to put out fires, not enough to keep up the sewers," says Tom Franza, deputy manager of the PUC's Water Pollution Control Division.
The city's inadequate and poorly maintained sewer system is only going to grow more and more overtaxed. The Giants' new Pacific Bell Park, the Mission Bay project, and a continuing construction boom in the South of Market area will create a steady increase in sewage headed through undersized lines to the outdated Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant. And when it rains, there will be more fountains of rats and sewage, because San Francisco is still pasting band-aids on the broken bones of a collapsing system.