San Francisco business wary of another wet winter flooding prepares for worst-case scenario

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As the rain poured down off the canopy protecting Rintaro’s outdoor seating area, chef and owner Sylvan Mishima Brackett couldn’t help but remember what this area looked like just about one year ago.

“All of those trees were floating and the tables were floating, and we were standing on them. And then I jumped off the table and ran over here, ripped the screen off, pushed the cart out of the way, opened the sliding door. The water was again up to here, so I opened it up, it was pouring in. We had about a foot inside already. Closed it behind me, got everyone lined up on the stools and literally pushed people out into the water and they waded out,” said Mishima Brackett.

Rintaro was flooded with over 2 feet of water during that New Year’s Eve storm. It took them 45 days to reopen.Sylvan said now that the rainy season is back, he’s not leaving anything to chance.

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“I’m kind of expecting it. So, we’ve done some upgrades to keep street water from coming in, and also, we put a back flow preventer,” said Mishima Brackett.

They also poured a new foundation to reinforce their outer fence and installed a track that can hold industrial strength panels to keep out street water. In all, the updates cost the business more than half a million dollars.

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“We have a generator … and some pumps if water does get in. So, we’ll see what happens,” said Mishima Brackett.

The city is also preparing for another potentially wet winter. SFPUC said its investing over $600 million on projects to help reduce flood risk including one that will upgrade the sewer pipes on a stretch of 14th street in front of Rintaro.

However, that portion of the project isn’t scheduled to begin until 2025.

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