Residents concerned over safety of seniors during SAWS project construction on NW Side

SAWS: Relief should be in sight early next week

By Jessie Degollado - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - As part of a citywide effort to replace aging infrastructure, the replacement of a sewer main has torn up Senisa Drive on the near Northwest Side, which has some neighbors concerned for the safety of senior residents in the area.

A San Antonio Water System spokesperson said late Friday afternoon that Senisa Drive “should be paved and accessible by early next week.”

That should be welcome news for Kasandra Sandoval who lives with her grandparents. She said she’s been concerned about the safety of seniors in the area, many in their 70s and 80s like her grandparents. 

“There’s senior citizens here, and they need to accommodate them in some way,” Sandoval said.

Anne Hayden, a SAWS spokesperson, said the agency and its contractor are trying on a case-by-case basis to address their needs and concerns. However, Sandoval said that recently her grandparents — who have medical issues — were left without any water, and it’s not the first time.

Other than an unexpected water main break, Hayden said SAWS notifies residents 48 hours in advance so they can be prepared. She said there were only two scheduled interruptions of service, yet Sandoval said she and her grandparents didn’t get the word. 

Sandoval also said the condition of the street in front of her home has been unsafe for seniors, who risk falling or worse. Ongoing construction in the 300 block of Senisa has made it difficult for people to leave their homes, she said.

Sandoval said since they’re unable to get in and out of their driveways, vehicles must be parked on the other side of St. Cloud Road.

“St. Cloud is a very busy intersection,” she said.  

She said the intersection is dangerous to walk across, especially for seniors.

Sandoval said it’s difficult for seniors like her grandparents to attend the community meetings held by SAWS to let residents know what to expect. She said even so, she was unaware of the meetings.

She said SAWS should have done a better job in communicating with the neighborhood. Hayden said SAWS was methodical in its outreach.

SAWS sent KSAT 12 News this statement:

“We are sensitive to potential difficulties construction may pose for our customers. Regarding this project, to date, SAWS has held three community meetings, mailed postcards, posted information online and distributed notices on customers’ doors explaining expected project impacts. We have even conducted Block Walks to visit with residents face to face and we provide them direct contact information so they can reach out to us with questions or concerns. These efforts will continue throughout the project. We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we continue to improve our sewer infrastructure for the future.”

“We received a door hanger when they first started construction, indicating the work was going to be done three to four months ago. That was it,” Sandoval said.

Hayden said Sandoval and other residents were given direct contact information if they had questions or concerns.

During the week, residents there can call 210-233-3750; the SAWS 24-hour hotline at 210-704-7297; or visit the project website.

The work on Senisa Drive involves replacing about 2 miles of an aging sewer line. Hayden said the overall $6.8 million project is part an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to rehabilitate sewer infrastructure across the city. Completion is expected next April.

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