The City of San Diego has paid a hefty price for damage caused by broken water mains and storm drains in the last year and a half.
Between January 1, 2016 and July 19, 2017, the city paid $5,645,303.48 in total claims. The city paid $1,608,567.87 due to failed storm drains. Claims for broken water mains totaled $4,036,735.61.
The largest payout went to nine homeowners on the 6000-block of Cabaret Street in San Carlos.
The city paid $1,475,965.96 after a storm drain failed in January 2016. The drain broke in the backyard of resident Guy Lawyer, who said he had long complained about the drain. He says it took about 15 months for the city to settle the claim.
But he’s convinced it could have been done much faster.
“I remember being so mad because what we ended up getting in the whole deal, we could have settled two months into the thing,” said Lawyer.
Lawyer said he’s still piecing his home back together.
The storm drain in his backyard has been fixed but has been replaced with a large patch of gravel and cement. He says nothing will grow on the embankment.
“It comes down to, you’re going to waste a year, year and a half of your life just dealing with that before you can start dealing with your house and the rest of your life, said Lawyer.
The city was asked for comment on the $5.6 million in payouts and the potential for more problems with an aging infrastructure.
“Typically, the risk management staff doesn't comment on cases,” said city spokesperson Paul Brencick, Sr.