San Mateo County

San Mateo County Seeks Federal Aid For Storm Damage

Winter storms already have done tens of millions of dollars in damage around the Bay Area, and San Mateo County is no exception.

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors became the latest local government to declare a state of emergency in hopes of getting federal funds to help to pay for repairs along the Peninsula.

A mudslide near the Lower Crystal Springs Reservoir is one of the top priorities. While no homes were damaged in the slide, a sewer line was destroyed. Crews have already repaired the line twice before after mudslides.

The cost this time around is about $3 million, county officials said.

Tom Nelson, who lives and works up in the mountains near La Honda, said mudslides and downed trees are common around the area. He said he and his neighbors are preparing for more storm damage in the next few days.

"The people who live by the slide area, they’re getting their ducks in a row, ready to get out if they need to," he said.

Three homes in La Honda have been tagged in the past few weeks due to mudslides. The slide along Scenic Drive is one of 33 different storm-related issues outlined in the county's emergency declaration.

"The emergency declaration allows you to become eligible for state and hopefully federal funding," said Jim Porter, Public Works director for the county.

Porter said the county is paying thousands of dollars to truck fresh water up to customers in La Honda who usually get treated water from La Honda Creek.

"Unfortunately, the creek right now is full of sediment and cloudy," Porter said. "We can’t use that water and serve it up to the customers because of the amount of dirt and debris in the water."

With more rain in the forecast, Porter doesn't expect the creek to clear up for another few weeks, meaning about 300 households in the mountains will depend on trucks being able to safely travel along the two-lane mountain roads where crews have been working around the clock.

"We’re seeing erosion along the edge of roadways where the road literally goes away," Porter said.

If state and federal money doesn’t come through to pay for the storm damage, Porter expects the money will come out of the county’s road maintenance budget.

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