December 23, 2009
Well, here is your chance to be Santa, and give your used cooking oil as a gift to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC). What's best, your gift will have a dual benefit: help keep our sewers clean, and be converted to biofuel for use in vehicles, reducing our carbon footprint.
First, collect your used cooking oil, and then hurry up and drop it off at the following places on December 26 and 27, and also January 2 and 3:
* COSTCO WAREHOUSE - 450 10th St (at Bryant)
Saturday: 9:30am-7pm / Sunday: 10am-6pm
* Select WHOLE FOODS STORES
During store hours, 8am-10pm
-- FRANKLIN –1765 California St (at Franklin)
-- POTRERO HILL: 450 Rhode Island St. (at 17th St.)
-- SOMA – 399 4th Street (at Harrison)
* DOGPATCH BIOFUELS – 765 Pennsylvania Ave (between 22nd & 23rd St)
Saturday: 11am-4pm / closed on Friday and Sunday
* HAIGHT ASHBURY NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL RECYCLING CENTER (HANC) – 755 Frederick St (at Arguello.)
Saturday: 9am-4pm / Sunday: 12pm-4pm / closed on Friday
For more information, and to see the locations where you can drop off year-round, visit www.SFGreasecycle.org.
Happy OILLESSdays Everyone!
December 4, 2009
The SFPUC and DPW are hard at work trying to get catch basins cleaned before the rains start on Sunday. And if you live in a flood-prone area, DPW is providing San Franciscans (with proof of residency) up to 10 free filled or unfilled sandbags at the DPW Operations Yard, 2323 Cesar Chavez Blvd. (enter at Kansas and Marin Streets), Monday-Sunday, 7:00 am to 4:00 pm.
With 20,000 catch basins in the city we can't get to all of them so now is the time to help yourselves and your neighbors. If you see a lot of leaves and trash over a catch basin, give a helping hand and sweep it up. You can even compost the leaves! And if a catch basin starts flooding during the rains, oftentimes it is the result of a errant plastic bag or trash preventing the water from properly draining.
Just a little bit of elbow grease and VOILA... a free flowing catch basin that is no longer flooding a neighborhood. Of course, if moving the blockage doesn't work. Give us a call at 3-1-1 and we'll send a crew out there to investigate.
November 24, 2009
Thanksgiving is all about being with family, eating and having a good time. Come the next day, drop your used cooking oil at one of the following sites in San Francisco:
COSTCO WAREHOUSE - 450 10th St (at Bryant)
Friday: 9am-8:30pm / Saturday: 9:30am-7pm / Sunday: 10am-6pm
Select WHOLE FOODS STORES
* FRANKLIN –1765 California St (at Franklin)
* POTRERO HILL: 450 Rhode Island St. (at 17th St.).
* SOMA – 399 4th Street (at Harrison)
DOGPATCH BIOFUELS – 765 Pennsylvania Ave (between 22nd & 23rd St)
Friday: 11am-7pm / Saturday: 11am-4pm / closed on Sunday
HAIGHT ASHBURY NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL RECYCLING CENTER (HANC) – 755 Frederick St (at Arguello.)
Friday-Saturday: 9am-4pm / Sunday: 12pm- 4pm.
HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE DROP OFF CENTER –Recycle Rd (at 401 & 501 Tunnel)
Saturday: 8am-4pm / closed on Friday and Sunday
WALDEN HOUSE – Entrance for drop off on 330 Newhall St (at Evans)
ONLY on Friday, November 27: 11am-3pm
If you need more information, visit www.SFGreasecycle.org.
THANKS for GIVING your grease!
November 18, 2009
“Games?” you may ask, “When there’s so much stormwater management-related work to do in San Francisco? For shame!”
These were serious games undertaken during a five hour Urban Watershed Planning Charrette – the City’s second such event!
Charrette-goers broke into groups and poured over maps of the City’s western watersheds, placing “game pieces” on the best places to implement Low Impact Design technologies like bioretention, filtration, permeable paving, and rainwater harvesting. Wildly fun!
Top solutions from this green infrastructure “jam session” will be presented to SF communities and may be folded into San Francisco’s sewer system overhaul.
For more information on Low Impact Design (LID) technologies or previous urban watershed planning events visit: http://stormwater.sfwater.org/ (details from Friday’s charrette will be posted online in March, 2010).
Live to play. Play to live. Excelsior!
November 13, 2009
Don’t Let This Winter’s Rain Go to Waste! The SFPUC Continues its Popular Discounted Rain Barrel Program
Purchase your first barrel for $89 and each additional barrel for only $69 – that’s more than 40% off the regular retail price of $119!*
The re-purposed rain barrels, originally used for food storage, are available at The Urban Farmer Store (San Francisco location only): 2833 Vicente Street, at 40th Avenue. Please note that The Urban Farmer Store is closed on Sundays.
For details please visit: http://stormwater.sfwater.org/ (select “Rainwater Harvesting”), or write to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 10, 2009
Check out this informative page with pictures about former creeks in the Mission on Burrito Justice. It has maps dating back to 1859 and is followed by a great discussion by some pretty smart people. Click on the title or HERE!
The SFPUC and nifty engineers at the Dept. of Public Works also worked with the Oakland Museum of California to develop a cool map for download that highlights all the old San Francisco creeks and watersheds! It is called the Creek and Watershed Map of San Francisco.
November 5, 2009
The weather forecast is predicting rain in San Francisco tonight (Thursday, November 5) and Friday, November 6. Cleaning catch basins (storm drains) prior to a rain event is especially important. Leaves and street litter can clog the catch basins and may cause street flooding. We have already had two major rain events in mid-October in San Francisco where catch basins were clogged with debris, and rainwater couldn't flow through.
Put on your gloves, use a rake to remove debris above surface and place leaves in your green cart and the rest in garbage bins. Never attempt to remove debris below surface. To report sewer emergencies, clogged catch basins after you remove debris from above surface, call San Francisco’s 3-1-1 or visit the online self service portal at www.sfgov.org/311.
Your efforts for cleaning the catch basins will benefit your neighborhood and our City.
Wait! Read here to learn more about the do's and dont's before/during/after a storm.
October 30, 2009
If you are in the Bay Area you must have heard about the oil spill today. Well a lot of us in the SFPUC have been on standby just in case the oil made it's way to the S.F. shoreline. What does wastewater have to do with beach/shoreline cleanups? Well, it turns out that most of our wastewater personnel are HAZWOPER certified.(no it is not a Burger King burger!) Fortunately this spill is A LOT smaller in size. Still, bunker fuel can cause tar balls to form on the land so we want to be prepared just in case.
Remember back in 2007 when the Cosco Busan spilled more than 53,000 gallons of oil into the Bay? Guess who lead the clean-up effort at Ocean Beach! That's right... SFPUC Wastewater Enterprise.
Check out some pics from our cleanup efforts at the Ocean Beach. We helped over 1000 San Franciscans get trained and prepped for the beach cleaning. And you thought we only dealt with crap!
October 26, 2009
The Super Dooper Pooper Scooper Kiddies’ Goodie Scramble helped to instruct children and adults alike to pick up their pet’s waste and dispose of it properly.
PET WASTE DISPOSAL DOs
ALWAYS pick up after your dog and dispose of its contents into the trash! There are over 120,000 dogs in San Francisco, and each one poops once or twice a day... you do the math!
- Look for and use biodegradable pet waste bags available in dispensers at local parks.
- Carry extra biodegradable bags when walking your dog and encourage other dog owners to clean up after their pets, as well.
- Teach your children how to properly clean up and dispose of pet waste. Your actions set an example for others.
- Dispose of biodegradable pet waste bag in the BLACK trash bin.
- DO NOT put into BLUE recycling bin or GREEN compost bin.
- DO NOT flush into the toilet or drop into the stormdrain on on the corner (up to a $25,000 fine for dumping into stormdrain!)
When you pick up after your dog, you are helping the environment because...
“We all Live Downstream!”
October 22, 2009
Oct. 19 was such a crazy day for many people due to the storms. Mother Nature decided to not play nice and surprised everyone by unloading a lot of water from the sky in a short period of time. Manholes and side sewer vents overflowed, intersections flooded, and unfortunately some people's homes were damaged in the process.
The good thing is that in most instances City departments came together to help those areas in need. This came in the form of pumping out water, cleaning debris, or sanitizing homes and businesses so people weren't displaced. Still, there was a lot of damage done.
What happened? Well, San Francisco's combined sewer system is designed to carry around 0.8 inches/hour of flow. This is based on historical weather models... and most of the time it's enough. For example, during the Oct 13 storm or any of the rainstorms over the past two years (albeit there weren't enough) you didn't hear reports of whole neighborhoods flooding.
Clogged catch basins and intersections yes, but not rivers of water and manhole geysers.
On Monday, some of our gauges showed that nature dropped a whopping 0.71 inches of rain in 20 MINUTES in many areas. Even in areas previously prone to flooding (where we subsequently upgraded our system), the storm intensity thrown our way was too much, too fast. Of course, the upgrades helped, and some areas could have fared far worse, but that's understandably little consolation to those who had their homes, businesses, and lives affected.
Rather than blab on about the system... I'll direct you to a a very informative web post written by San Franciscan Jeff Diehl (WARNING: some expletives are used in the page).
More to come about our combined sewer system in coming weeks. We'll be reevaluating where our system goes from here as we move forward with plans to rebuild it -- and we'll be incorporating a lot of different strategies, like Low Impact Design (which is mentioned in Jeff's post).
JEFF DIEHL'S WEB POSTING
Were you affected on Monday? Post your story in the comments section.
October 20, 2009
Last week was our first big rainstorm of the season in San Francisco. In the wastewater business the "first flush" refers to the initial rainwater that runs off the street into a storm drain (or San Francisco's case a catch basin!). While the rainwater itself is clean, the stuff it picks up off the street is not. Think of the motor oil, brake dust, garden chemicals, paint, etc., that end up washing into the system.
That's where the beauty of San Francisco's combined sewer system comes into play. Since we have one sewer pipe for both our sewage and stormwater that connects to our treatment plants. Our system provides full treatment for "first flush" pollutants.
Fancy that! So why do you think San Francisco is the one of only two places in California that has a combined sewer system? Can you guess where the other combined sewer system is located. (HINT: It is Old......)
Stay tuned for the answer.
October 19, 2009
Want to “Follow-the-Flow” to find out more about wastewater treatment and just what does happen when it goes down the drain; join us for one of the regularly scheduled Saturday tours of the SFPUC Wastewater Treatment Plant. For more information visit http://sfwater.org/tour or call 415-695-7341.
October 16, 2009
11 year old Chloe of San Leandro asked Channel 5 KPIX reporter Ken Bastida "What happens if I flush an object down the toliet?" Check out what a fun time one SF Sewer Guru had responding to this question at the Oceanside Treatment Plant near the SF Zoo.
Take a guess before you view and see if you get the answer right. The answer may surprise you... or maybe not since you are all such educated sewer fans!
LINK TO VIDEO
October 8, 2009
SFPUC Announces Whole Foods SOMA and Franklin Stores in SF as the Two New Permanent “Waste Cooking Oil to Biofuel” Residential Collection Sites
The Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council Recycling Center (HANC) and Dogpatch Biofuels in the Potrero Hill neighborhood, as well as the Household Drop-off Waste Center are also collecting residential waste cooking oil year-round.
Launched in 2007, SFGreasecycle is a citywide effort by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) to divert fats, oil and grease away from the sewers and recycle them into biodiesel. Used cooking oils are a serious problem for San Francisco’s wastewater system, clogging the sewers and costing more than $3.5 million each year to unclog the pipes.
Recycled oil from restaurants is estimated to generate 1.5 million gallons of low-emission biofuel each year. SFPUC has been collecting cooked oil from restaurants and food service establishments at no cost. So far, close to 800 restaurants signed up with the program, with more than 280,000 gallons of used cooking oil collected.
The past two years, the SFPUC has also organized two Thanksgiving and Christmas residential collection events and a used cooking oil drop off opportunity at the Big Blue Bucket Eco-Fair, where more than 3,000 gallons of used cooking oil were collected.
The success of the collection events prompted the SFPUC to secure permanent locations for residents to drop off their used oil.
Residents who want to participate should start saving up their used cooking oil now. Here are some easy tips to avoid spilling oil:
1. Cool down used cooking oil in the pan
2. Pour used oil into a clean, non-breakable, leak-proof container with a tight lid. Consider using old containers, such as mayonnaise jars or the original container.
3. Make sure oil is free of water, soapsuds, and food scraps.
4. Drop-off your leak-proof container at HANC, Dogpatch Biofuels or one of the Whole Foods markets in San Francisco.
Here is where residents can drop off their used cooking oil in San Francisco:
* Whole Foods SOMA – every day during store hours, 8am to 10pm: 399 4th Street (at Harrison Street).
* Whole Foods Franklin – every day during store hours, 8am to 10pm: 1765 California Street (at Franklin Street).
* Whole Foods Potrero Hill – only on the 4th Friday of the month, from 11am to 3pm: 450 Rhode Island Street (at 17th Street).
* Dogpatch Biofuels: 765 Pennsylvania Avenue (between 22nd & 23rd Streets), Tuesday to Friday 11am to 7pm, Saturday 11am to 4pm, closed on Sunday and Monday.
* Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council Recycling Center (HANC): 755 Frederick Street (at Arguello Boulevard), Monday to Saturday 9am to 4pm, Sunday 12pm (Noon) to 4pm. Phone: 415-753-2971
* Household Drop-off Waste Center: Recycle Road (between 401 and 501 Tunnel Avenue), Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 8am to 4pm.
For more information or to sign up for the SFPUC’s SFGreasecycle’s free restaurant used oil collection service, visit www.SFGreasecycle.org.
Gardening is fun and helps children as young as three and four years of age to appreciate the natural world by learning the principles of environmental stewardship and understanding where their food comes from. To get your child or family involved, visit http://www.kidsgardening.org/ or http://www.sfgreenschools.org/ for more information.
October 1, 2009
Hear Two SFPUC presentations on stormwater management practices and policies this Friday at West Coast Green!
September 30, 2009
Over 700 San Francisco residents attended the Big Blue Bucket Eco-Fair to learn new and innovative ways to live green. Residents also had a chance to visit different City agencies and non-profit booths to see how the SFPUC is leading change for our city, San Francisco, to become more energy independent and environmentally efficient.
Here are some highlights from the event:
· 10 FREE rain barrels raffled away to harvest rain water
· FREE rakes given to the first 50 catch basin adopters
· 2 high-efficiency toilets raffled away
· FREE locally grown vegetables for everyone
· FREE SF Water tote bags for everyone
· FREE water conservation devices provided to everyone
· Over 20 tons of compost given away for FREE
· Numerous I Love SF Water t-shirts and water bottles
We thank you San Franciscans for taking an active stance during Pollution Prevention (P2) Week to make strides in decreasing pharmaceutical pollution by dropping off and recycling expired medication and decreasing the City’s reliance on imported fossil fuels by recycling used cooking oil and grease. The used cooking oil dropped off at the event will be turned into biofuel to run City vehicles (like MUNI busses).
We would like to give special thanks to all of those who went paperless and “jumped into the bucket” by pre-registering for the event online. We would like to continue our GREEN efforts for next year’s event - so lets double or triple that number next year and save more trees!
We are proud to have partnered with residents, City agencies and many organizations in an effort to encourage a greener and cleaner San Francisco!
September 24, 2009
Celebrate with the SFPUC and visit our Pollution Prevention booth at the 2nd annual BIG Blue Bucket Eco-Fair on Saturday, September 26th @ Jerrold Ave. & Phelps St. from 10AM – 2PM. Do your part and bring old or expired medications and used cooking oil - safely contained - to the event so they can be properly disposed of.
The BIG Blue Bucket will also showcase different environmental programs, such as rainwater harvesting, water conservation, SFGreasecycle, GoSolarSF, composting - as well as the importance of emergency preparedness. For more information or to pre-register, log onto BigBlueBucket.org.
September 22, 2009
The system will collect rainwater from the roof of an historic 1906 earthquake shack in the Zoo’s new Greenie’s Conservation Corner.
Learn more about the SFPUC’s rainwater harvesting program at: http://stormwater.sfwater.org/.
September 17, 2009
Join the SFPUC at the 2nd annual BIG Blue Bucket Eco-Fair and properly dispose of all unwanted used cooking oil. If you start saving now, you will have plenty to dispose! Here are some tips to make used cooking oil collection easier:
- ALWAYS cool down used cooking oil in the pan.
- Pour used oil into a clean, non-breakable, leak-proof container with a tight lid. Consider using old containers, such as a mayonnaise jar for easy collection on storage.
- Make sure oil is free of water, soapsuds, and food scraps.
- Then, drop-off your oil at the BIG Blue Bucket Eco-Fair on Saturday, September 26th @ Jerrold Ave. & Phelps St. from 10AM – 2PM.
Remember, NEVER pour used cooking oil down the drain! There are numerous donation and collection sites available throughout the City, making used cooking oil easy to dispose of. Log onto http://www.sfgreasecycle.org/ to find a collection site near you.
September 15, 2009
After this past weekend’s surprise rain showers you should have plenty of rainwater stored in your system. Now it’s time to think about efficient ways to get your water out of storage and into your garden.
Lucky you! On Saturday, September 26, at the SFPUC’s second annual Big Blue Bucket Eco-Fair, irrigation experts will be on-hand to discuss and answer questions about drip irrigation, low pressure valves, booster pump systems and other topics of interest to rainwater harvesting, well… nerds.
When you get to the fair, sign up for one of four rainwater harvesting workshops offered throughout the day. You’ll learn about rainwater harvesting. You’ll learn about rainwater irrigation. You’ll be happy.
September 11, 2009
The two-hour workshop will be led by SF Zoo and SFPUC staff on Monday morning, September 21. Pre-registration is required and space is available on a first come first served basis. To pre-register or learn more about the rain barrel building workshop, email email@example.com or call 415-554-0715.
September 10, 2009
If you flush them down the toilet or drain they may pollute our Bay and Pacific Ocean, harming aquatic life. If you throw them in the garbage they can eventually seep back into the ground, harming the environment. Or worst, if they are kept unlocked in a medicine cabinet or drawer they could harm your family and home. Instead, recycle old or expired medications regularly. Better yet, visit the SFPUC’s BIG Blue Bucket Eco-Fair on Saturday, September 26th @ Jerrold Ave. & Phelps St. from 10AM – 2PM to dispose of old or expired medications properly.
September 8, 2009
To learn more about the event and to pre-register online, go to www.BigBlueBucket.org! Just so you know: only three bags of compost per person while supplies last. So, hurry up and register now!
September 3, 2009
Try planting sweet pea, parsley, sunflower, native buckwheat, and/or baby blue eyes, just to name a few. Ask your local nursery to assist you when choosing the right flower to attract the right beneficial to your garden!
September 1, 2009
How? By keeping them clean, of course:
Catch basins (storm drains) are the entryway from our streets to our sewer system. They can get clogged with litter and leaves, which may cause neighborhood flooding. Adopt a catch basin and help keep minimize potential flooding. You can even get FREE rakes if you are one of the first 50 adopters at our second Big Blue Bucket Eco-Fair on September 26. For more information on how you can get free rakes, and also free compost, a chance to win rain barrels, learn about water conservation, solar incentive program, SFGreasecycle and more, visit www.BigBlueBucket.org.
August 27, 2009
Did you know that most commercial car washes are required to treat their wash water and often recycle their water for multiple washes? Ultimately saving water!
August 20, 2009
Do you flush sanitary or baby wipes down the toilet?
Flushing wipes can cause major problems in the City’s sewer system. The extra wastes (such as sanitary wipes, household cleaning wipes, baby wipes, etc.) that are labeled “flushable" clog the sewer system, contributing to costly cleanups and even flooding. Please, ONLY flush toilet paper and throw wipes and similar items in the trash.
Visit: http://pollutionprevention.sfwater.org/ for more toilet safe information!