San Leandro neighbors fear atmospheric river after repeat canal collapses caused by storms
SAN LEANDRO, Calif. - As a fresh set of storms moves in, residents in San Leandro are fearful of more flooding and significant property damage after the historic storms in January brought down nearby canal walls that still remain unfixed.
Crosby Street residents said they warned the Alameda County Flood Control District of the tilting walls more than a year ago, but nothing was done resulting in them failing.
"Imagine waiting for your yard to fall into a canal," Victor Krevocheza said. "Waiting for something to be done to prevent it, that’s the most frustrating thing of all."
He has been calling and meeting with county workers and engineers expecting construction would have happened before this new round of rain.
"This is ridiculous, Krevocheza said. "These streets are going to be flooded as a result."
Large sections of the concrete walls fell down during the early January atmospheric river. The only visible change since then is the black tarps covering the debris in hopes of controlling erosion.
The warnings to the county started a year ago in the form of emails and calls. Homeowners tell KTVU they’ve made records requests, filed complaints and called begging for someone to check out the canal’s condition.
"It’s a trip to see cement bulge and crack on the very top of the wall," Krevocheza said. "I’m right next to where my neighbor’s complete disaster happened."
His neighbor lost his entire retaining wall, landscaping and decorative brickwork.
Documents show Alameda County was alerted many times. Reports from last summer confirm tilting and advised replacement and added bracing.
But so far, that hasn’t happened.
"We let them know. We advised them," Krevocheza said. "We just assumed it was going to be taken care of. Well, you know what they say about assume."
It’s not the first time walls have collapsed. In fact, this canal has had a history of it.
In October 2021, several sections of the wall on the other side failed. Neighbors on the next street over say it took more than a year to fix.
"I do wish they would be more timely," Eric Morris said. "Every time I hear the words atmospheric river, I get very concerned."
He said neighbors on his street warned county workers of the tilting walls on the other side of the canal. But nothing was done.
"You could see the tilt," Morris said. "It wasn’t working. It was on a cant."
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Alameda County Flood Control District said in an email Thursday its staff completed initial installation of erosion controls measures along the properties affected by the collapsed portions of the wall. Additionally, temporary bracing supports needed to be designed and a contractor retained to install them, weather permitting.
The district said it has been working on wall reconstruction design but permits must be approved and bids received before construction can begin.
"The Alameda County Flood Control District’s Maintenance & Operations conducted numerous actions to ensure safety," a spokesperson said. "This is an ongoing issues that we continue to address."
For now, neighbors are forced to wait as the rain falls.
"That water gets in there, I’m done," Krevocheza said. "We have to suffer for the ineptness."
Brooks Jarosz is an investigative reporter for KTVU. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter @BrooksKTVU