EPA Puts San Francisco On Notice Over ‘Instances Of Sewage Flowing In The Streets’

From The Daily Caller

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Chris White Tech Reporter

October 03, 2019 10:30 AM ET

The Environmental Protection Agency issued a notice Wednesday accusing San Francisco of violating the Clean Water Act, a 1970s environmental regulation designed to protect the country’s waterways and tributaries.

San Francisco is struggling to maintain its sprawling sewage system, allowing “substantial volumes of raw and partially-treated sewage to flow across beaches and into the San Francisco Bay,” EPA spokeswoman Molly Block told reporters ahead of the notice. California and the administration have traded barbs over the issue recently.

EPA’s regional director representing San Francisco noted that sewage is overrunning the city in some areas. (RELATED: Trump Says He Will ‘Slap’ San Francisco With Environmental Violation Over Homelessness Problem)

“There have been instances of sewage flowing in the streets and entering people’s homes,” Michael Stoker, head of EPA’s Region 9 district, wrote to Harlan Kelly Jr., the general manager of San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. Data also show high concentrates of zinc and lead threaten the city’s beaches, he added.

“President Donald Trump criticised the city recently for the violations, telling reports aboard Air Force One on Sept. 19 that “we’re going to be giving San Francisco, they’re in total violation, we’re going to be giving them a notice very soon.” He added that “It’s a terrible situation.”

San Francisco has experienced an 18% rise in homelessness since 2015, and the issue is causing the streets to be littered with trash, feces, and used needles. An interactive map created in 2014 called “Human Wasteland” shows a heavy concentration of incidents of human excrement throughout the city.

EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler seized on the issue, writing a Sept. 26 letter to Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom citing multiple instances of California failing to meet federal water quality standards, noting that the problems are stemming from the state’s homeless population.

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81 thoughts on “EPA Puts San Francisco On Notice Over ‘Instances Of Sewage Flowing In The Streets’

  1. Nice to see the EPA doing what the EPA should be doing … keep our environment clean. PS … Co2 is NOT a pollutant.

    • Agreed…it just irks me that these yo yo’s failed 9th grade Earth Science and 10th grade biology!!

      • Yep, if they spent more time looking around them instead of looking up at the sky and trying to see invisible non toxic gases like St Greta can , they may do more to improve the environment.

        I know about the homeless defaction problem, I did not realise there was also large scale leaks of raw sewage. This is starting to sound like London in 1660s. So much for all the virtue signal liberal administration.

        • This is how progressive’s Utopia looks like. You want more of this then vote people like AOC into office.

        • The city by the Bay has become a city of shocking contrasts … a shiny new Salesforce Highrise with feces at its base from poor drug and alcohol addicted mental patients living a Medieval lifestyle on the streets. And the city, and Federal Judges have decreed these poor street urchins are “entitled” to “live” on the public streets … despite a city “homeless budget” of $250M/yr.

          Hmmmm? Where’s all that taxpayer money going? Joe Biden’s son getting a cut of the action?

      • Like you i also own a farm with creek land and the EPA is always in mind. Tremendous overreach onto the farmer in my opinion. We cannot use fertilizer within a zone along the creek.

        • And the penalty if one of your Mexican farmworkers “accidentally” sprays some Roundup on bramble lining the “waterway”?

  2. The governor and mayors of SF and LA have already gone full Medieval.

    But with taxpaying US citizens fleeing the state in droves, who will stop the insanity?

    Commies here in the PNW won’t stop selling the lunatics cheap hydropower, but maybe AZ could cut off the fossil fuel-generated electricity, forcing the CO2-goons in CA to face reality.

    • If people are leaving in droves it will eventually solve the problem for them. They will be able to surtax all those wonderful celebs at 99% of imposable revenus

      • The only problem is that people vote for this, say they don’t like then move and vote for the same thing again. Just look for the problem to move and not really get any better.

  3. That Democrats and Greens have dominated San Francisco’s politics for around forty years is no surprise.

    • One commentator thinks the problem is illegal immigration.

      Thanks to illegal immigration … thanks to the joys of diversity … thanks to liberal politicians and voters … California is a hellhole. link

      It’s a zillion years since I have been in any part of California so I certainly don’t have first hand experience. I’m also skeptical of what I read. Everyone twists the story to match their own political bias. What everyone does agree on is that California has a big problem. Not many people are willing to come out and blame the problem on illegal immigration.

      The author of the above linked article comes down hard on ‘diversity’. Likewise, Thomas Sowell points out that there is not a lot of evidence supporting diversity as a societal good. There is evidence of plenty of problems caused by the diversity at all costs mantra. link

      An oft cited definition of insanity is to continue doing something that obviously isn’t working. Sowell has pointed out for years that liberals are incapable of seeing the failure of their sacred cows. Their supposedly superior education is actually indoctrination or even inculcation. Anyway, it makes them crazy, in the pathological sense of the word.

      • The problem with “diversity” as practiced by most liberals is that it isn’t about diversity. Rather it is all about suppressing any culture that liberals disapprove of. Which usually works out to white male heterosexuals not welcome.

        • Right. And it’s always leftists who make up the rules for reapportioning society, so-called “affirmative action” quotas, which always requires an army of (leftist) bureaucrats to administer the prescription for “change,” because “change” is always good (for leftists). And where does all the money come from? The money for (leftist) bureaucrat salaries, computers, printers, desks, cushy chairs, desk lamps, kureig coffee maker for the lounge, microwave, toaster oven, framed motivational posters, iPads, pencils, pens, paper tablets, whiteboards, smart boards, smartphones, flatscreen TV for the reception area (and another for the lounge), several Ford Suburbans (for the Director, Assistant Director, and Director’s current paramour), smart refrigerator, Tesla solar panels and batteries, windmill, 3-story brick building to accommodate the hundreds of (leftist) bureaucrats, a platoon of custodians, mops, buckets, brooms, uniforms, groundskeepers, lawn mowers, shovels, clippers, recreational area with Olympic style swimming pool, tennis court, racquetball court, gym, coaches, health insurance for everyone . . . Well, taxes will have to go up, of course. And the (leftist) politicians who dream this all up have a ready-made constituency who will reliably vote for their own self-interest. It’s vote-buying, job security.

          • maybe they could build some public toilets and keep the crap off the streets?
            or would that be cheaper and more effective than paying to powerwash streets and therefore not acceptable to councils?

          • Building and operating public toilets comes with its own set of concerns: maintenance, cleaning, supplying toilet paper, and ensuring that people are not using it for drugs, sex, sleeping, living, cooking, crime, etc. In some places it requires a full time watcher.

      • “An oft cited definition of insanity is to continue doing something that obviously isn’t working.”

        I always disagree with that definition. It’s stupidity. Insanity is something else entirely.

        • Stupidity is continuing to do something that hasn’t worked, in the hope that it will work THIS time…

          Insanity is continuing to do something that hasn’t worked, and convincing yourself that it has….

    • Chris,
      The same liberal slime have controlled Seattle….. and human feces, urine and needles are flowing in the streets here as well.

      There’s a trend apparent…. If you prefer 3rd world lack of sanitation, vote democrat.

  4. A city run by Evil Conservative Republicans, right?

    A “Red” city throughout. A bastion of the “right wing extremists”.

    No, wait, am I confused here?

  5. Trump supporter though I am, this adds nothing to the actual environmental complaint.

    Give the technical permit violations or go away.

    • The violation notice came in the form of a letter to Harlan Kelly, Jr., general manager of the city’s Public Utilities Commission.

      That’s from the LA Times and the SFGATE.

      I can’t find the text of the letter but we do have:

      It said the EPA had identified violations in the city and county wastewater treatment and sewer system, including lack of proper operation and maintenance that has allowed raw and partially-treated sewage to flow onto beaches into the ocean and sometimes into streets and homes.

      The letter alleged that some discharges contained heavy metals and bacteria and said the city hasn’t kept up proper cleaning, inspection and repair schedules for the system nor properly reported or issued public warnings for sewage diversions.

      Those seem to be the accusations. The mayor of SF disagrees.

      Mayor London Breed said the violation notice contains “mischaracterizations, inaccuracies and falsehoods” and the city’s sewer system is one of the most effective in the country.

      “No debris flow out into the (San Francisco) Bay or the ocean,” Breed said in a statement, adding that San Francisco has a multibillion-dollar program to upgrade its sewage treatment system.

      Somebody seems to be misstating the truth.

      • A multibillion Dollar program doesn’t necessarily mean that it works and delivery results as expected.

  6. This is a good start in bringing the idiocy of California’s liberal political process into the light.

  7. EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler seized on the issue, writing a Sept. 26 letter to Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom citing multiple instances of California failing to meet federal water quality standards, noting that the problems are stemming from the state’s homeless population. – Article.

    Good. Maybe the governor could get out of his office, too, and start pushing a broom and swinging a mop. Turn a beautiful city like that into a sewer? You get whatever bad stuff comes your way, you turkey.

    • https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/09/27/trumps-epa-tells-california-gov-newsom-his-states-homeless-population-is-destroying-the-environment/#comment-2807556

      I was on the Board of Directors (an unpaid volunteer) for sixteen years at the largest homeless shelter in Canada. During my tenure, we doubled from 600 beds per night to more than 1200, and we served over 1.2 million free meals per year.

      We live in a much colder climate than California – street people here lose fingers and toes, or freeze to death.

      Our shelter housed ~6 times the numbers of the next-largest shelter, because we were the only large shelter that housed inebriates and the mentally ill, comprising ~70% of our clients. Those are the two biggest causes of homelessness, and those populations are the most intractable and unlikely to improve their lives, despite well-structured rehab programs. The remaining ~30% of the homeless population are people with temporary problems, who quickly rejoin the workforce.

      Professionals in the social sciences, typically of the political left, tend to make homelessness very complicated, such that only they can suggest solutions. They have also proposed false “solutions” that failed catastrophically, foolish idealistic concepts that reflected no intellectual ability or common sense.

      Those of the extreme right often view the shelters as enablers, who encourage the indolent to life free off the work of others. That is perhaps true, but the alternative is to let the homeless live via urban crime, an extremely costly and harmful alternative, or freeze to death.

      We attempted a middle approach, to keep the homeless from dying and to discourage them from urban crime. This is not an idealistic solution, it is neither right or left – it is pragmatic, humane and very cost-effective. We housed about 0.1% pf Calgary’s total population, which is about half of Calgary’s singles homeless population. The rest reside in other shelters or on the street.

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/09/27/trumps-epa-tells-california-gov-newsom-his-states-homeless-population-is-destroying-the-environment/#comment-2807636

      Thank you Dave. It’s about harm reduction.

      One further point that you mentioned – the cost of housing homeless people in our shelters is approx. one-tenth to one-20th the cost of imprisoning them – and that does not include the cost to society of their crimes, police enforcement, court time, EMS, etc.

      Given the depressed market for stolen goods, the erosion of value in a simple theft-of-property crime is typically about 90%, plus the repair cost of breaking into a car, home or business. Crimes of violence are much more costly.

      • Yes, Allan MacRae -you are on to it. 60 percent of our single homeless population are insane, suffering from human madness, namely the illness of schizophrenia which one percent of all of us must come down with. The problem is that when tranquilizing medication appeared in the 1950s we mistakenly thought that insane people no longer needed institutional care. And true, very many now manage reasonably well just on medication and social welfare benefits. But very many do not – and as a society we should be ashamed that it is not officially recognised that this illness is never cured by medication. In the old days, if you came down with schizophrenia (and one percent of our young people will) you had a legal right to asylum for life. And the only thing these sufferers will never in their lives be able to do, is to look after themselves, to plan their lives, to get an ordinary job, to function as a normal spouse and parent, etc., etc. And yet, we just leave them to fend for themselves as best they can in spite of their crippling handicap.

        As societies (I am here specifically thinking of “new” world of the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand), we should be ashamed.

        • Yes Andy – Schizophrenia and depression were the two most common illnesses of our homeless clients, as I recall from talking to our clinical experts.

          In Canada most of the mental hospital spaces were closed circa the late 1970’s. There was this idea that the mentally ill would be cared for in the community, in group homes – that were never created – so the homeless drifted to the homeless shelters, which experienced huge growth.

          One cynical observer noted that the homeless do not vote.

    • Institutional living in my state ended in the 1980s, maybe earlier because I didn’t take the bus to work in the 1970s. That left those with real mental issues unattended, unable – literally – to care for themselves, ending up on the street on a bench, talking to air. They’d get on the bus to keep warm, and sit near the back, talking to air. Most of them died and their relatives had no idea what had happened to them. Now we have charity-supported shelters for the homeless who are allowed to stay overnight, but have to be gone by end of breakfast. We also have groups that live under bridges, in abandoned buildings, and in open fields that held now-demolished housing but now are full of weeds.

      The mentally ill are nearly gone now. It is now mostly people who can find work but it doesn’t pay much, and they don’t want to live in shelters. But these people don’t leave the disgusting messes behind that are destroying L.A. and San Fran. They clean up after themselves.

      There is no excuse for what is going on out there. Put the politicians in the middle of that disgusting mess and make them live with it.

      I know – impossible, they’re too important. Uh, no – they aren’t a bit important. A computer could do a better job.

      • Sara- what on earth makes you say that “the mentally ill are nearly gone now”??? One percent of all our young people get schizophrenia as they always did in all human societies for 100,000 years. Only in primitive agrarian societies and tribes is it not a social problem -because here family live together and prepare their meals together. Here, therefore, a schizophrenic sufferer finds food provided. And here he/she also naturally finds some useful occupation doing some necessary work helping their tribe or family. It is only in our industrialised societies we have a social (and criminal) problem – because here we expect each individual to look after him/herself.

        The mentally ill are still very much with us. All 75,000,000 little individual fellow human beings on the globe.

      • I was referring to the 1970s – 1980s when the state-supported homes that they lived in (locally) were shut down and they had no place to go to.

        I was not promoting the notion that the mental health problem is dead and gone. I know it is not. Sorry, but you misunderstood me.

        • Sara (and Allan) – one of our problems is that “mental illness” now is such a vague, all-inclusive term – whereas traditionally there was only one mental illness, namely lunacy. From Bleuler’s time this was called schizophrenia. In the 19th century even depression was not thought of as a mental illness. Depressed patients would then never remain in a mental asylum – whereas in the late 20th century it was very common indeed that depressed people admitted themselves to acute mental hospital wards.

          But really, the incidence of lunacy has not changed one iota – and it remains as incurable as always – and its sufferers are just as terribly handicapped.

  8. They’ve spent so much money on welfare for the middle class and power systems that don’t work, that they no longer have any money for basic things like infrastructure.

    • That and their idiotic “sanctuary city” status, where illegal aliens have more rights than citizens.

  9. BCBill’s theorem: The more poorly managed a jurisdiction is, particularly in environmental matters, the stronger their vocal support of the war on the essential nutrient, CO2.

  10. Liberals abandoned normal human sanity and decency from the start.

    In the administration of EXTREMELY WEALTHY CITIES (not States…let alone Nations) they cannot stoop to be bothered to prioritize carrying out the most basic civic functions of civilized urban regions.

    You see, advancing the agenda (i.e. the Deconstruction of Oppressive Western Civilization) supersedes intelligently directing resources to take care of the most obvious city functions…things obvious to a child. Those things…like removing excrement from city sidewalks (let alone preventing such)…aren’t on the list of items that advance the agenda which leads towards Utopia. The utopia that they imagine results from their social theories.

    But instead of generating any nearly self administering utopian vision of a city…they inevitably create hell on earth.

    Oh, Yes…in their minds, the world under their control would be bereft of all conflict and suffering. In reality, conflict and suffering is all they ever create…while wasting other people’s money.

    Trump is fairly good at painting the picture (at rallies) of the misery wrought by liberal failures wherever liberals have the power to subject the local population to even a smidgen of their Socialism.

    Socialists really do need to produce AT LEAST ONE working commune that produces wealth and prosperity without subsidy for longer than 3 years.

    History is full of failed Socialist experiments (they end tragically). I don’t see even the remnants of any successful communes.

    Any REAL successes would necessarily have grown and grown and flourished and shined so brightly….until the whole world was finally ALLOWED TO JOIN IN ON THE WONDERS AND PERFECTION of that Socialist Utopia.

    Wake me up when you can show me one. Don’t bother pointing out Sweeden or Denmark. They are living off the residual wealth of very old and very productive monocultures, plus they are subsidized by not having to spend 7% of GDP on their own defenses.

      • Don’t stop with straws, ban plastic completely! That’s what I call divestment.
        Think of how clean the place would look without any plastic floating on the sewage.

        I think they should be quite thankful that there are no level streets for it to collect on.
        BTW, there’s lots of other wild crap “flowing” around the streets of Frisco anyway.

      • Meant to post this the other day but life got in the way.

        I discussed the article with my wife and she made the comment that “the feces are now being seen in California city streets is a result of the ban on single use plastic bags”. It made sense to me and I did a quick look and found the link below. As a friend says “a good deed never goes unpunished” and it looks as if the good deed of banning plastic bags is resulting in lots of diseases and water quality problems. This winters rainy season will be fun.

        https://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2017/sep/08/stringers-plastic-bag-ban-led-hep-health-crisis/#

    • “Socialists really do need to produce AT LEAST ONE working commune that produces wealth and prosperity without subsidy for longer than 3 years.

      History is full of failed Socialist experiments (they end tragically). I don’t see even the remnants of any successful communes.”

      There has been, and still is, a working commune. Within the group it is indeed “From each according to his abilities; to each according to his needs.” The group itself deals with the outside world as a single economic entity. The group buys and sells with the outside world. The Benedictine monasteries. They got rich (enough) selling Benedictine liqueur.

      Communes do work as long as everyone in the commune knows each other so that there are no bureaucratic sharing rules. Each individual knows who, if any, are slacking and those are shamed into contributing (or kicked out).

      Another commune we will find is family. Again, all family members are given, free, sufficient food, clothing and shelter, but each is expected to contribute too.

      Communes work only in the small. In the large a huge bureaucracy is built to enforce fairness rules. The US is already halfway to a communist dictatorship. There is, for example, the “welfare cliff.” There is a point where getting employment reduces benefits more than staying on welfare. Food Stamps — the modern breadline — (now a credit card) do not detect slackers who don’t even try to get a job.

      As long as a commune is under 400 people it may well accomplish its goal of Marxist philosophy.

  11. Not only San Francisco, but the California Department of Corrections, the prison system, simply dumps their cross-contaminated sewage into our local creeks in the rural areas and has for years. The state water agencies will go after the local city sewer systems for minor infractions and rake in fines by the truckload while simply ignoring their sister agencies dumping with little concern to local communities nor the environment. It’s been rampant near where I live, an hour from Sacramento, for decades.

    They keep on promising they’ll figure it out and mitigate, but they continue to stonewall and lie to the public.

    San Francisco is just the tip of the iceberg here in this socialist utopia…

  12. It doesn’t matter to the Democrats and Leftists controlling San Francisco if the streets are running with raw sewage which is going into people’s houses and down to the Bay. As long as the serfs profess the correct creed and believe in ‘Climate Change” the Elite are well satisfied with the situation. The Elites may soon declare parts of the City a re-creation of Mediaeval Europe as a tourist attraction.

  13. Well I am sure that all the homeless related problems in California will be solves as soon as the high speed rail between Fresno and Bakersfield has been completed. That is where the money is being spent.

  14. Ironically, every side agrees that Infrastructure is a key issue, unfortunately the Left will have no part about it. Trump initially wanted to spend 15 Trillion dollars on improving our crumbling Infrastructure, but the Dems balked even though it is their own districts that are in the crosshairs of failure.
    The mayor of SF obviously doesn’t understand that his own city has been investing in separating sewerage from storm water for a number of years to help combat combined sewer over flows (CSO’s) and helping protect the environment. However, if you have people pooping into storm drains, that water does not get treated like a sewer plant and most likely directly into the receiving waters which violates federal and state water quality standards. Bad, mayor, bad!!

    • Hi Spuds,

      As you say, it is essential to separate sanitary and storm sewers with different, segregated piping systems.

      The sanitary sewers go to a treatment plant before discharging; the storm sewers typically discharge untreated storm water directly into local watercourses.

      If people are crapping in the streets, that goes directly into local streams via the storm water sewers.

      When I was in East Berlin in July of 1989, just before the fall of the Berlin Wall, a walk down Unter den Linden, the main street, was instructive. We passed a storm sewer grate and the smell almost knocked us down.

      It was clear that the East Germans had combined storm and sanitary sewers. That meant all sewage was discharged untreated into local rivers and streams, because it is not practical to treat the huge volumes of the combined flows.

      That’s Communism for you – environmental degradation AND human degradation. Thank you Bernie and AOC.

        • The City of Victoria BC still discharges its UNsanitary sewers (their feces) into the ocean via a long pipeline.

          Then they run out and demonstrate against oil pipelines that keep them alive and thriving, and which are NO significant threat to their orcas or any other marine life.

          The Green Party gets a lot of votes in BC, typically from dope-smoking “hevon paska” hypocrites who talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.

  15. If this is unlawful migration then why don’t the Govt. agencies go to the known places and pick them up and get them across the border ?

    If its homeless then we may have to consider a modern version of the workhouse.

    Perhaps a sort of “”Dirty Dozen”. A bit of discipline should work wonders.

    I thought that sewage in the streets went about 100 years ago.

    MJE VK5ELL

  16. “Data also show high concentrates of zinc and lead threaten the city’s beaches, he added.”

    No they don’t. They’ve probably just exceeded the EPA’s unnecessarily strict levels, primarily designed for the purposes of destroying industry and not for actually protecting human health or the rest of the environment.

    Guys, it’s the sewage that matters. People had almost figured that one out before the Great Fire of London in 1666. Three hundred and fifty years later, and we still have government agents who can’t, or won’t, keep their eye on the ball.

  17. Maybe they should put some of warning labels CA is famous for on SF and LA “Welcome to …” signs?
    “The USEPA has determined that the streets of (plug in the sanctuary city’s name) are full of ….. And that’s no Bull!”

  18. Oh, so SF the SNIP, the sanctuary of criminals, illegal aliens and sidewalk defecators is now dumping feces in the bay where people swim, boat and fish. Comeuppance is so apropos. And now the people are being taxed (looted) to finance the poop patrols. This is just too sweet. Comeuppance is best served to the voters sitting on shit filled sidewalks. The old saying is that people get exactly what is coming to them and for sure the commie/socialist, hate mongering, immoral, duplicitous, prejudiced, economics dishonest and ignorant Democrats have got their just desserts. Yes Dorothy, you are not in Kansas any longer; you are in the shitybythebay, San Francisco. Might I have more TP, please? And to think some damned fool woman bureaucrat thought she could end poverty by canceling overdue library fees. Insanity, lunacy, reigns in the SNIP.

  19. How many people remember that beautiful hit – San Fransisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers in Your Hair) – written by John Phillips and sung by Scott McKenzie?

    I wonder… if John Phillips had the opportunity to write the lyrics today, what he would have written?

    • If you’re going to San Francisco
      Be sure to wear some boots while you are there
      If you’re going to San Francisco
      You’re gonna meet lots’a homeless people there

      For those who come to San Francisco
      Summertime will be a stinkin’ there
      In the streets of San Francisco
      Homeless people dumping from their rears …..

  20. It is a real problem for us here in SF. The homeless come here for two reasons, 1) The “virtuous” communities critiquing us, give their difficult people one way bus tickets to SF. (My wife works in Social Services, can attest to the high number coming here every day, free on a bus, courtesy of these self righteous moral communities). Police in these places give their derelicts tickets to SF, force them on buses, and no local judges intervene…There is then the 2nd reason, SF has no ice or blizzards, and the climate is mild for 9 months. What this points out is that (moral self righteousness aside), this is a nationwide problem. We don’t think we in SF should be held responsible for what is occurring in every state, while their “solution” is to dump their problems on us. So, please get off your “It’s a SF problem, not ours, ha, ha.” No it isn’t. We need a nationwide approach to solve our homeless problem.

  21. I live in Victoria, British Columbia. The city is full of Eco loons, and we dump all our raw sewage directly into the Ocean. As usual they have the wrong set of priorities.
    I also used to have a perfectly adequate septic tank and septic Field. Now, as housing density increased I had to hook up to sewer, for ‘sanitation’ reasons. So now my sewer joins the rest going directly into the Ocean.

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