Broken Pipes, Broken System 

Oakland has failed to report hundreds of thousands of gallons of toxic sewage spills that have sickened animals, damaged property, and polluted waterways, including Lake Temescal.

Page 7 of 7

If officials are found to have fabricated reports, it could mean a hefty fine or even jail time.

Worse than that though, Maharg said, it would call into question the accuracy of the rest of the regulatory reporting from departments citywide.

"Understanding and having trust in how the city is reporting these sewage spills is the only way that our citizens know what impacts and what hazards there are," she added. "So, if that breaks down, how can we trust anything that the city is doing?"

On Dec. 1, 2017 — close to two years after the city acknowledged that the sewer main above Terry Tobey's property needed to be repaired — Andes Construction began fixing it. But during the work, the Express observed that no city inspector was on site. The work also took more time than scheduled after the initial attempt to put in the new section of pipe failed.

When the work was done, the manhole was not to code; it was slanted on uneven ground. "It is supposed to be straight — surface grade," Little said. "It is not supposed to be tilted at a damn angle. They have so much deplorable work here in this city it is ridiculous."

A city records request also revealed that there were no camera records for Andes' work to show whether it placed the underground pipe correctly and to city code or that the city had inspected it.

Tobey said that's one reason she isn't confident that her battle is over. There's still lots more work needed to repair and sustain the crumbling hillside and protect her horses and her home. The stress of it all keeps her up at night. She's terrified now that it's the rainy season again.

"By the end of this winter, I don't even know what that hillside is going to be like," she said. "I don't even know if my barn is going to be standing."

She said she has no choice but to try to hold the city accountable for the damage already done.

"As far as what it's going to take to fix it?" she said. "We will not know that until the sewage quits flowing."

Tags: ,

Comments (21)

Showing 1-21 of 21

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-21 of 21

Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

Latest in Feature

Author Archives

Most Popular Stories

Special Reports

The Beer Issue 2020

The Decade in Review

The events and trends that shaped the Teens.

Best of the East Bay


© 2020 Telegraph Media    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation