SAN FRANCISCO — Human excrement is gumming up the wheels and gears of some escalators servicing Bay Area Rapid Transit stations in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports (http://bit.ly/MHR6DK) that BART station stairwells have become a common place for homeless people to sleep overnight or relieve themselves.

When crews pulled out a broken escalator at the Civic Center station last month, they found such a high volume of feces they called a hazardous materials team.

BART officials recently spoke with San Francisco authorities about how to clean up the 16th Street plaza, and spokesman Jim Allison says that conversation also could encompass the downtown stairwells.

In addition to creating unpleasant smells, officials say waste can close escalators for extended repairs and increase station cleaning costs. There are many other reasons why escalators break down.

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Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com

Sonoma Profile

KATHLEEN POZZI

Profession: Sonoma County public defender. Became the county’s first woman public defender when she was appointed to the $182,000-a-year position in 2012 by the Board of Supervisors

Age: 55

Home: Lives in Santa Rosa. Married with an adult daughter

Influences: As a child of the 1960s, TV lawyer Perry Mason; the late Marteen Miller, “a bigger than life” public defender and her former boss; and Elliot Daum, a former deputy public defender and current Sonoma County Superior Court judge.

Quote: “I’m not going to save the world. But in the end, I want what everybody else wants and that’s a safe and healthy community.”