July 30, 2009

P2 Tip of the Week : Yuck! Clean that toilet!

P2 Weekly Tip: Do you want to find a way to clean your home in an environmentally-friendly manner? Even the simplest ingredients such as baking soda or borax are great cleaning agents. For example, clean your toilet with baking soda and/or liquid soap. To remove toilet stains, pour ¼-cup of borax into bowl and let sit for 30 minutes. Scrub bowl well and flush.

July 27, 2009

All We Need is a Drawbridge

Have you seen San Francisco’s moat?

You probably haven’t (because it’s underground) – and it’s not filled with alligators; it’s filled with sewage and stormwater runoff from City streets. But it’s a fabulous moat, nonetheless, comprising networks of large boxes that run beneath the Embarcdero and the Great Highway, literally encircling much of the City.

Keeping these boxes from “overfilling” during large storm events is key to the health of San Francisco’s waterways and combined sewer system (so named because the system treats a combination of both sewage and stormwater runoff). But we can’t stop the rain – even if we wanted to (which we don’t).

So what can we do?

We can capture rainwater from our roofs in rain barrels and cisterns, thereby employing an “old world” technology to maintain our City’s new-fangled moat. We can also continue to invest in Low Impact Design (or LID) technologies, which are cutting-edge building methods that create places for stormwater to infiltrate the ground, replenishing groundwater and streams.

In coming weeks we’ll post more information on these hi-falutin’ LID technologies (as well as information on soon-to-be-announced discounted rain barrels and hands-on rain barrel installation workshops – stay tuned!) For now, please bask in your special knowledge of San Francisco’s underground moat, and all the responsibilities and possibilities that lie therein…

For more information on the SFPUC’s rainwater harvesting and LID programs, please visit: http://stormwater.sfwater.org/.

Building a rain barrel system at San Francisco's Cesar Chavez Elementary School

An eight-unit rain barrel system at the City's Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant

July 23, 2009

From cooking oil to biofuel

Pouring oil down the drain clogs our sewers, just like our arteries get clogged. You better seek medical help for your clogged arteries, but the SFPUC has a solution for our sewers. We have been collecting used cooking oil from restaurants since 2007 and converting into biofuel for use in vehicles -so far, close to 650 restaurants signed up with the program!

Now it’s time for us, residents, to do the same. Collect it and drop it off at one of our SFGreasecycle locations in San Francisco and see it used to power vehicles!

Check the websites for locations and hours:
* Whole Foods (WF) Fridays, 11am to 3pm - www.wholefoodsmarket.com/. 1st Fridays at WF Franklin (1765 California) / 2nd Fridays coming up soon at the new Noe Valley location / STARTING THIS FRIDAY, JULY 24: 3rd Fridays at WF SOMA (399 4th St.) / 4th Fridays at WF Potrero Hill (450 Rhode Island St.)
* Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council Recycling Center (HANC) - http://www.hanc-sf.org/recycling-center/
* Dogpatch Biofuels - http://www.dogpatchbiofuels.com/
* Household Hazardous Waste Facility - http://www.sfrecycling.com/sfhhw/index.php?t=d

To learn more how you can help keep grease out of our sewers, visit SFGreasecycle.org.

Remember: every drop counts!

July 20, 2009

Looking for summer vacation ideas? Tour a treatment plant!

Are you thinking of how to get away this summer without spending tons of dough? Well, check out our feature on Fox News! You can take your family and friends on a FREE tour of an award-winning sewage treatment plant. Haven't you always wondered what happens when you flush the toilet and all that water runs into a drain? Learn first-hand where we make the magic happen...

And did I mention the tours are FREE? Of course I did... I'm the S.F. Sewer Guru. Space is limited so reserve your space today at http://www.sfwater.org/tour.

Fox News video

July 16, 2009

Engaging SubSewer Engines for Pollution Prevention Thursdays

Every Thursday on our blog, you can now learn helpful tidbits about what you can do in your home, business and garden to conserve resources and keep pollutants out of the environment. This is part of our SFPUC’s Water Pollution Prevention Program. If you haven’t already, subscribe our blog and you’ll get these weekly tips beamed to your email address.

Here is our first tip for all you sewer cadets:

Put that bug spray down!

Butterflies and ladybugs are beneficial insects that feed on a variety of garden pests. You can attract beneficial insects by growing certain plants in your garden. Try planting plants such as parsley, sunflower, native buckwheat, and/or baby blue eyes. And get ready to share your stories and pictures when these helpful critters start flying in!
See you next week! For more information, visit our website: http://pollutionprevention.sfwater.org/

July 13, 2009

A trip down the SF sewers...

We all know that San Francisco is unique: the hills, the fog, the people, and last, but not least, its combined sewer system. What that means, everything that flushes down the toilet, flows through a drain or runs off the streets is collected and treated. See for yourself:

Have you ever taken a walk by the Great Highway or the Embarcadero? Check this short clip to see what's hidden underneath both of these and their role on our sewer system.

Throughout the month of July we will show you how our actions impact our sewer system and community. Next week: What can go down the drain and what shouldn't?