NFL legend Joe Montana and his neighbors are suing San Francisco over a massive flood of sewage that sent millions of gallons of ‘toxic fecal’ matter through their idyllic bayside homes.
The four-time Super Bowl winner is among nearly 60 residents of the city’s priciest neighborhood who claim the city failed to maintain its ‘antiquated’ waste water system.
More than 18million gallons of waste water and untreated sewage flowed through the city’s streets on New Year’s Eve after the second-heaviest rainfall in San Francisco’s history.
Much of it ran down to the bay through the low-lying Marina district where house prices average $2.6million, turning the chic beach front neighborhood into a sea of filth.
‘It flowed in and around plaintiffs’ properties, permeating the soils, walls and floors, and depositing highly contaminated and toxic fecal and other raw sewage matter in and around Plaintiffs’ homes,’ the lawsuit claims.
Legendary 49er quarterback Joe Montana and his wife Jennifer have joined the claim with their neighbors in the San Francisco bayside area of Marina
Millions of gallons of raw sewage was among the flood water that bubbled up through the streets of the city following the New Year storm
Some in the city risked their health in the untreated flood waters
‘The part of this system that runs through the Marina is antiquated and has been neglected and inadequately maintained by the city and county of San Francisco.
‘As a result, the system routinely gets overwhelmed, overflows and inundates the plaintiffs’ properties and neighborhood with untreated sewage and contaminated water.’
Downtown San Francisco recorded its second wettest single day in history on New Year’s Eve with 5.46 inches of rain falling on its already sodden streets.
Highways 99 and 101 were shut as rescue workers struggled to save the lives of people trapped in the rising flood waters.
A group of teenagers were plucked from the branches of trees outside Sacramento and police needed armored vehicles to rescue 13 seniors trapped in their home just east of San Francisco as power was cut to nearly 180,000 California homes.
But sewage added to the danger in the Golden City because, almost uniquely in the region, San Francisco’s storm drains are linked to its waste-water system, mixing the two in any flooding event.
Run-offs have killed thousands of fish and tainted the bay with massive algae blooms for the past two summers, and another 2.3million gallons ran into the bay after the New Year storm.
Another 4.5million gallons of sewage water inundated Marina Boulevard in October 2021 after the nearby Pierce Street outfall was closed by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
Cars were stuck on an off-ramp to Highway 55 in Orange County, California
A boat was the only means of escape for some trapped by the New Year’s flood
One person was saved from the top of a car while four others were pulled from inside a submerged vehicle
Many cars were totally submerged as major highways became impassable
The lawsuit claims that the Commission tried to protect the bay by closing the outfall, but the waste water simply burst through out of manhole covers and out into the streets instead.
‘When they closed the Pierce Street outfall they knew it was going to have consequences and they didn’t compensate for it,’ said Jeff Ruch of lobby group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
The regional water board has begun investigating sewage overflows in the Marina area and the Utilities Commission has promised to spend $9 billion in repairing its infrastructure over the next ten years.
Leading the lawsuit is Khaldoun Baghdadi, former head of the city’s Human Rights Commission.
“We don’t only trust the city to maintain the sewage infrastructure, but we pay it for doing so,’ she told the San Francisco Standard.
‘When the city makes the decisions that cause raw sewage to flood homes, it is responsible for compensating residents.’
San Francisco’s football icon with wife Jennifer and son Nate
City officials blamed a one-in-170-year storm for the disruption
But city spokeswoman Jen Kwart said blamed the ‘almost unprecedented’ nature of the storm for the damage to the millionaires’ homes.
‘It was the strongest storm to hit San Francisco in more than 170 years,’ she added.
‘The storm, and not the city’s infrastructure, was responsible for widespread flooding throughout the city.
‘We are reviewing the complaint and will respond in court.’