Massive Sinkhole Disrupts San Francisco Intersection
A substantial sinkhole has disrupted a bustling intersection in an affluent San Francisco neighborhood, causing chaos for local residents and businesses. The intersection of Fillmore and Green Streets, located just a short drive from the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, collapsed on a Monday morning following a significant water main break that occurred the previous night. The resulting sinkhole is estimated to measure approximately 21 feet in width and at least six feet in depth. Additionally, a smaller crater was observed at the intersection as city maintenance crews arrived on the scene.
Water Main Break Triggers Sinkhole
Videos captured at the scene depict sewage and water gushing from the ruptured main, inundating nearby houses and establishments. Fortunately, no injuries have been reported thus far, and city officials have initiated an investigation into the cause of the water main’s rupture. The 16-inch cast iron water main, installed in 1949 near the intersection of Fillmore and Union Streets, suffered a break, as did an 8-inch pipe located just one block from the sinkhole, according to the city’s Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC).
Warnings and Concerns
Meanwhile, the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management issued warnings urging residents to steer clear of the affected area. Locals, while acknowledging the temporary disruption to their lives, express heightened concerns about the city’s aging infrastructure. Maddie Standlee, a local resident, remarked, “It does feel like the city is getting pretty old.” Clara Bltabsky, another resident, noted her surprise, saying, “I’m in shock, we live down the street and didn’t even know this was going on.”
Resilience Amid Chaos
Amanda Scott, a resident, described a late-night encounter with sewage and mud flooding her street on Lombard Street, prompting her to take action. “The entire street coming down on Steiner and Fillmore was basically a river. I’m not saying a river in terms of a light stream – I mean a river,” she recalled. She, along with others, pitched in to clear seven drains. The chaos extended to local businesses, with one restaurant owner estimating thousands of dollars in damage caused by water seeping in through both front and back entrances.
Aging Infrastructure Challenges
San Francisco’s Public Utility Commission, responsible for infrastructure maintenance and improvement, conceded that the city’s pipes face significant challenges. “San Francisco has pipes that are well over a hundred years old. Some of them are brick. This one was cast iron,” stated Joseph Sweiss of the SFPUC. The commission also provided guidance for residents whose water may appear milky or cloudy due to air bubbles, emphasizing the importance of checking for persistent discoloration and running taps to clear the water.