They’re replacing sewer pipes on Woodhaven, right here in Forest Knolls. If you’re an aficionado of big machines (or have kids who are!), there are plenty.
I took these photos over the last week.
Every day is different and fascinating.
This was today!
Here’s the notice about the Sewer Replacement Project. It’s 5-6 weeks, they said, and started Aug 6, 2018. The first of many, from the sound of it. The big machines may be coming to a street near you!
Of course, it’s a lot of noise and dust and access/ parking limitations for the homes on Woodhaven and nearby, but hopefully it will prevent plumbing problems in future. Like this broken water main from 2009. That wasn’t even a sewer line, which would be more insidious!
The pink paint marking the drains, and the broken water main a few months ago, drew attention to all the stuff that’s happening below our streets. So the other day, we wandered around with our cameras pointing at all the circles and rectangles on the sidewalk. There were a lot of them: a wealth of services beneath our feet, representing civilization, urban comfort, and the conveniences of Forest Knolls. It’s strange to think we’re only a couple of generations away from fetching water from wells, using outhouses, and lighting our nights with candles and our streets with gas.
It was an interesting mix of covers. This grating was like a piece of modern art, with the ladder reaching down to a reflective circle of water below. At first, it appeared to be a drain of some sort… but it’s got the words PG&E and “High Voltage.”
Another “High Voltage” cover was more prosaic, a simple concrete rectangle.
In fact, quite a few covers on the street were from PG&E. This manhole cover with a nice geometric design seems to be, though it’s difficult to know which cover does what. (If anyone knows, leave a comment! Or email us at email@example.com)
Another whole bunch were from the Water Department. (The sewer cover’s included here, though it’s actually labeled SFDPW.)
The little square with holes in it is most probably a drain cover.
But the handsomest cover on the street is a cast iron oval with the Golden Gate Bridge on it, labeled San Francisco Water Department Meter Box. Wonder when it was made? Some time in the 1950s, when Forest Knolls was built?
TELEPHONES AND TV AND ALL KINDS OF THINGS
And then there’s the Telephones. And the TV Cable. And the Survey Monument, which doesn’t represent a utility but instead helps put us on the map and define the lots on which our homes are built. And the Street Lights. And “Electrical” again, but it’s not clear what and why, though it may be connected with the Street Lights since the covers are together and next to a lamp post.
And then there was this odd-looking pair of covers labeled PT-T. Anyone know what they are?
.Edited to Add: PT-T probably stands for Pacific Telephones and Telegraphs… (see the comment to this post – Thanks, Laura).
Or why X marks the spot on this sewer-cover?
Edited to Add: Just saw this — the moss has picked out “Bell System” on this cover.
It all started with a question on the Forest Knolls Yahoo Group about the brightly-colored paint-spots above the drain covers in our neighborhood. What were they?
Donna Chong responded. “Ever since the threat of West Nile Virus, San Francisco has been putting something in the sewers to keep the mosquitos from multiplying. The program has been going on for about 2 years. The paint indicates that these sewers have been treated and a new color spray is applied after each treatment. I am not sure how often they are treated but it is pretty frequent.”
Later, she added: “I personally am very glad they have the program. Our house borders a long drain and several catch basins that were a breeding ground for mosquitos. There were so many that we slept every night with a mosquito net!”
Someone else expressed a concern about dragonflies, wondering if they might be affected as well as the mosquitoes.
There was a sign on the pumphouse, she said, that indicated the treatment they were using, and we promised to check it out. Here it is:
They use Bt (a bacillus that kills mosquitoes) and liquid soap, up to once a week. (Another source said once a month, from late spring through fall, but that was in 2005 and they may have changed the regime.)
Bt dunks are what pond-owners are advised to put in their ponds to prevent mozzies from breeding there. As pesticides go, it’s pretty mild because it’s a bacillus and not a chemical. It’s more eco-friendly than the larvicides that some other cities use.
Can it affect dragonflies? We’re guessing that unlike mosquitoes, dragonflies don’t breed in the catch basins. They’re supposed to like lakes with vegetation, even garden ponds (some kinds prefer streams). One site we checked specifically recommended Bt Mosquito Dunks in garden ponds because it doesn’t harm dragonflies. So they may not be directly affected.
On the other hand, dragonflies eat mozzies, and if there aren’t any, they might not be doing as well. Also, there’s a possibility that some kind of herbicide or pesticide is getting in the places they do breed. Maybe Laguna Honda lake? It’s a possible site near our neighborhood.