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ConsumerWatch: Raw Sewage Leak Plagues SF Noe Valley Residents

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS) -- It has been a bit stinky in one Bay Area neighborhood. For six months residents in San Francisco's Noe Valley have been walking through a sewer leak at the corner of 22nd and Hoffman.

Resident Jenny Blizard has said that her repeated weekly calls to 311, the San Francisco Water Department and the PUC led to some testing but not to a permanent fix.

So Blizard took to Twitter with her concerns and posted videos of the leak. Some of the videos show a trickle, some a gushing stream. The leak is just steps away from the Blizard family home.

"I have a toddler," said Blizard. "I am really concerned when we bring the stroller into the house, we are bringing whatever the stroller has touched into the house, and the most recent thing it's touched is this intersection."

Jean Walsh of the San Francisco PUC told KPIX5 that the City has known about the leak since February of this year. But because the sewage flows were intermittent, City crews had a difficult time diagnosing where the leak originated from.

"We have 300 miles of pipes underneath the city streets that are over 100 years old," Said Walsh. "We are starting to see more and more collapses. We have crews working day and night to fix these things."

Still, while Walsh conceded that raw sewage in a public area is "our responsibility, it's a public health issue," it was Blizard who posted signs near the area to warn everyone that a leak was present.

"I feel like I am doing the PUC's job for them," said Blizard.

Blizard's one woman crusade looks like it is now coming to an end. City crews have finally figured out how to stop the leak. It turns out that the City's maps incorrectly identified some pipe locations.

Neighbors have told KPIX5 that the City informed them when the correct pipes were reached, the pipes disintegrated upon contact. The City also has future plans to replace more sewage lines in the neighborhood.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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