City Crews Repair Stubborn South Shore Flooding Spots

A city work crew has been working to improve drainage along Shore Line Drive. Longtime residents know that among the first places to flood in Alameda are low spots along the south shore.
Photo & story by Eric J. Kos

City Crews Repair Stubborn South Shore Flooding Spots

The City of Alameda has been at work addressing the fact that Shore Line Drive regularly floods when it rains since last November. The city website explains, “surface runoff from the streets and other impervious surfaces enter drainage inlets on Shore Line and side streets. This runoff is conveyed through storm pipes -- ‘outfalls’ -- that discharge to the Bay.”

From time to time, these outfalls become clogged with sand causing stormwater to back up onto the closest low-lying areas through inlets usually meant to accept excess water. The city acknowledges the flooding is a safety hazard and has been occurring for quite some time.

The city has worked to prevent this ongoing problem with the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC). Improvements to the Park Street and Kitty Hawk Road outfalls include new grated junction boxes and inline check valves to serve as points of overflow if the outfalls are unable to discharge. The outlet valve is designed to “cut” through sand that may build up in the pipe.

Rip rap has been placed around the grated box structures. City crews have also repaired the two outfall pipes to ensure sand is not entering the system from cracks and eroded joints.

The fenced area pictured above shows the construction zone to install the box structures and check valves. According to the city’s website, “the outfalls are fairly deep and this requires heavy equipment and shoring for the excavation. The city provides inspection oversight to ensure all construction operations are performed in strict compliance with issued permits, the contractor’s approved Water Pollution Control Plan and other relevant regulation.”

The work is being completed with sensitivity toward the environment. Pipe repairs use a trenchless method to minimize impact to the beach. In addition, the city consulted with BCDC and EBRPD to schedule this work to prevent any significant adverse impact to sensitive Bay resources.

Work began the week of Nov. 30, 2020, recent rains delayed completion of the project. Learn more at