Recycled Water in SF

DonRoss's picture

SFPUC is finally putting forward a modest proposal to begin using recycled water at Goldengate Park and a few golf courses. This idea has been years in the making as we use millions of gallons of water annually from the Tuolume River. This has decimated the wild salmon population there and hurt the environment.

With this new idea we will potentially divert 20 million gallons of water monthly. Once this takes shape we can expand this to all areas of park land that use and need water to save hundres of millions of gallons of water monthly. Orange County, yes, Orange County is already ahead of us.

gcotter's picture

Yes - should be mandated

Actually I thought we were already using waste water to a limited extent in GG park - I'm surprised to hear we aren't.  Was it perhaps done previously and later stopped?  Also, doesn't SF get its water from Hetch Hetchy?  I thought that was Sierra Snow melt.

In any case, I think that recycling water is an issue that is critical and has not been addressed adequately by anyone.  If we can make a dent in the use of fresh water from rivers, snow melt, etc., it helps not only SF but all of California.

I lived out in the Avenues - 48th and Great Highway - when the massive sewer line was put in back in the '70's.  They put in 25 foot diameter sewage pipes that could double as holding tanks during rain storms so that all water could be processed by the waste water management treatment.

At that time I was trying to get the city to separate run off water from raw sewage so that run off water (rain, gutters, storm drains, etc) could be diverted and recycled with a minimum amount of processing.  That is, rain water from storm drains would need to have street oil, debris, etc removed, but would have limited amount of fecal matter to be processed.  Ergo, the cost of processing rain water should be a fraction of the cost of processing raw sewage and the recycled water could be used for for everything from watering parks to cleaning streets to other industrial uses.  Check your water bill and compare the cost of the water to the cost of waste water treatment.

I fear that we (the world) are not recognizing the importance of water.  I find it scary that we are using fresh water to raise crops to use as biofuels for cars.  There are already shortages of sufficient water to raise the food we eat.  We should not be diverting water to plant crops for biofuel.  Any changes that cities can make to save water through recycling should be pursued.

SpencerSF's picture

Grey water usage...WHAT?

How can SF be a "leader" in the green and sustainability arena when we don't even use grey water to water our parks...grey water has been a practice of so many overseas countries for DECADES! And we are just now getting to it...UGH! MYOPIC.

I took my 5 minute shower today - I turned on the tap in the shower, put my 15 gallon rubbish bin under the faucet and when the water heated up (I am on the 15th floor of tower it takes time) all the water was captured.  As I showered my soapy water was collected in the bin and when I got done - it was not even half full.  I used that water to wash my shower curtain liner. I might use that water to mop the bathroom floor afterwards...

Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137