California

‘Lord help us all.’ Critics dump on poop patrol plans in San Francisco

A San Francisco city worker uses a power washer to clean the sidewalk by a tent city in 2016. San Francisco plans to deploy a six-person poop patrol to clean up city streets and sidewalks after an avalanche of complaints about human waste.
A San Francisco city worker uses a power washer to clean the sidewalk by a tent city in 2016. San Francisco plans to deploy a six-person poop patrol to clean up city streets and sidewalks after an avalanche of complaints about human waste. The Associated Press file

Awash in real estate money, San Francisco’s also flush with potty problems — the city has received 14,597 complaints about feces on its sidewalks since January, reported KGO.

Now city leaders have unveiled plans for a six-person poop patrol to try to address the issue, chiefly attributed to the city’s large population of homeless people, according to KNTV.

In September, two city crews will start patrolling San Francisco streets in search of human waste to clean up, targeting neighborhoods with the most complaints, the station reported. The project will cost about $1 million.

“We’re trying to be proactive,” Public Works director Mohammed Nuru told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We’re actually out there looking for it.”

But the very concept of a poop patrol inspired skepticism, mockery and, yes, poop emojis aplenty on Twitter.

“San Francisco is both a city where you need a $350,000 income to afford a median priced home, and a city that just announced a “Poop Patrol” to clean up the streets,” read one comment.

“Instead of telling people to USE A BATHROOM!! San Francisco is going to send out a pooper scooper Patrol to pick it up,” wrote one person. “Lord help us all.”

“Oh good grief,” read one comment. “The idea the poop patrol is necessary.”

Others posting to Twitter had questions.

“Will the poop patrol get hazardous duty pay?” asked one person, while another wanted to know, “how much would you have to make to do this job?”

Human waste on sidewalks has long been a headache in San Francisco. In July, newly elected Mayor London Breed declared the problem was worse than ever, according to The Sacramento Bee.

“I will say there is more feces on the sidewalks than I’ve ever seen growing up here,” Breed said. “That is a huge problem and we are not just talking about from dogs — we’re talking about from humans.”

Other San Francisco residents seemed to agree, although the Chronicle reported the city does operate 22 “Pit Stop” toilets open to the public, with plans to extend hours and add five more.

“I even see people pooping next to my car when I’m in the car parking,” Dawa Sherpa told KNTV.

“They run into places like public places, and people tell them, ‘Well we don’t have a restroom for you,’ and then they just dump on the street,” Rose Smith told the station.

Many sites on the American River exceeded the EPA’s limit for safe levels of E. coli bacteria in 2015 and 2016. The bacteria comes from human and animal waste, and its presence indicates an increased likelihood of disease-causing organisms.

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