My Life as a San Francisco Realtor: Green Slime Creek, San Francisco, CA

Green Slime Creek, San Francisco, CA

Green Slime Creek, San Francisco, CA

It looks like a tranquil picture, doesn't it?

West Portal Back YardsThe steps on the left lead up to the mid-level, and then steps located roughly up behind the left green chair lead up to the top level. You can see my rear neighbor's deck on the left up above. I know it's slightly overgrown, life happens. In this case shit happens..... I'm standing in my back door taking the photo.

What you can't see is the problem. The previous owners of the house above located at 15 Dorchester Way built that deck past their property line. The concrete foundation of that deck rests  partially on top of a sewer manhole cover, blocking it. The sewer is now leaking and a green slime creek is flowing down the upper steps toward my house.

San Francisco PUC buried manhole

Yesterday that green slime creek was beginning to flow down the lower steps on the left, toward my back door. I shoveled an earthen damn behind the magnolia tree to block it. The green slime creek was forced to flow to the right - I don't know where it's going - some of it is coming over the wall behind the green chairs, but much of it isn't. Maybe it's flowing in to my neighbor's yard on the right.....

Green Slime Creek San FranciscoMy neighbors in back were all helpful trying to figure out what was going on. Then they dug down and found the manhole cover and called someone from the San Francisco Public utilities Commission. He came and investigated. He told my partner that they can't do anything until the neighbor removes the concrete foundation wall from the manhole cover. The San Francisco PUC won't do anything. The Chinese neighbor say 'not my problem - look!'. Did San Francisco Building Dept. give them a permit for that deck?

Open Sewers San Francisco PUCMeanwhile the Green Slime Creek is flowing down my back yard. Granted, it's not a constant flow. It comes and goes as water is used, toilets are flushed - you get the idea.  Hopefully we won't see any more rain for the season - that would be very interesting since we have combined sewers here. Rain water and shit water all mingle together.

Green Slime Creek San FranciscoSan Francisco has open sewers flowing in backyards, and the San Francisco PUC won't do anything about it. Where do you think this will lead if no one agrees to take responsibility? My three Chows can't use their back yard unless under constant supervision so they don't cross 'over the earthen line'. We can't enjoy our backyard. And when the Green slime Creek is flowing, I feel sick from the smell.



John M Scott, Broker / Owner, Scott Keys Properties, Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE), Council of Real Estate Brokerage Managers (CRB), serving San Francisco and the surrounding San Francisco Bay Area

Comment balloon 6 commentsJohn M. Scott • April 29 2012 05:29PM


Hopefully you can take the "not my problem" people to court.  Surely there must be some recourse with a property line dispute.  I doubt the statute of limitations has taken effect.  Let us know how it goes.

Posted by Jane Peters, Connecting you to the L.A. real estate market (Home Jane Realty) over 6 years ago

John~First I have to say you have a fantastic looking backyard, obviously minus the green slime. I find it hard to believe that someone can get away with building an obstruction over of public utility; what happens if the city needs to gain access in an emergency?

I sure hope that somehow a happy ending can be worked out. You've created your own oasis in your backyard and not to be able to enjoy it really sad.

Have an AWESOME day! (I know, hard to do with this kind of mess!)


Posted by Michael S. Bolton, MN Appraiser (Michael S. Bolton,Inc.) over 6 years ago

Jane, interstingly enough the 'stream' was dry all day yesterday. It has only just started trickling today again this evening. Since it was dry i got a good look at the manhome cover (my partner took that photo) - sure enough the concrete foundation wall is built squarely over the manhole cover. You'd think a sewer easement would have been noted from Title Co.... This gets more interesting every day!

Michael, I wonder if anyone even knew about the public utility being there. It's down so deep in the ground. I may have to visit city hall and see what I can find out!

Posted by John M. Scott, Broker / Owner San Francisco Bay Area (BRE # 01442690, Scott Keys Properties) over 6 years ago


My, oh my....

If the concrete foundation was done without permits, and doesn't meet building codes, it's so unlike the city's permit department to let this slide, especially if it poses a health, safety and hazard issue. Maybe you should also get the Health Department involved.

Good luck.

Posted by Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA (Alain Pinel) over 6 years ago

Pacita, there was a lawsuit case in 1996 where it was found that 2 homes were built with permits directly over a sewer easement. Bldg dept obviously didn't check with SFPUC. Now that is has become known the 2 homes a virtually worthless.

Posted by John M. Scott, Broker / Owner San Francisco Bay Area (BRE # 01442690, Scott Keys Properties) over 6 years ago

First, let me just say your backyard is beautiful!  Second, let me just say this is a city that seeks to regulate Happy Meals, right?  ;-)  I'm a tad confused about their mindset...and I would be VERY upset about this, "not my problem" attitude on the part of the authorities!

Posted by Susan Haughton, Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results. (Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545) over 6 years ago