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Storm Causes Sewage Overflow In San Francisco Mission District

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) - Two apartment buildings and three businesses on Folsom Street were flooded Thursday when rain overwhelmed storm drains and caused a sewage overflow between 17th and 18th streets, San Francisco officials said.

San Francisco Fire Capt. Jeanne Seyler said the department coordinated with the city's Department of Public Works for the cleanup.

Seyler said DPW was responsible for the cleanup and arrived at the scene sometime around 7 a.m. "They were going to make the determination if they were going to do anything," Seyler said.

The overflow left Stable Cafe inundated by sewage and runoff, said owner Thomas Lackey.

"This is our prep hall which heads back to the main kitchen. We have a dining hall in the back. Our walk-in refrigerator has water in it," he said, surveying the damage.

KCBS' Holly Quan Reports:

The hallway was strewn with storage crates and storage bins now filled with food and supplies ruined by four inches of water, "which they don't want us to touch until the city takes pictures and looks at it," Lackey said.

For more than an hour, water poured into the ground floor garages of the adjacent apartment buildings.

"Half of my car was underwater," said Aide Picazzo, awoken in the middle of the night by a storm that turned out to be an unfortunate déjà vu.

Lackey said he lost $29,000 when the same block flooded in 2009, forcing him to close for nine days.

The city has replaced pumps along Folsom Street since then, but the intensity of the storm early Thursday, when forecasters at the National Weather Service said rainfall was a half-inch per minute at some points, overwhelmed the drainage system.

Neighbor Michael Patterson said he saw the "huge sewage spill" when he walked out of his home Thursday morning.

"More than anything, I noticed a lot of debris on the sidewalks," he said.

Patterson lives on the east side of the block and said that the west side of the street tends to flood first during heavy rains. The flooding reached his side of the street this time.

"It crept up to the building," he said. "About two years ago, we had almost the same issue. The water crept into our garden, so it was a  little worse that time."

According to a historical topographic map of the city from the 1890s, the low-lying block is a site that was once marshland surrounding a nearby creek.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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