August 27, 2009

P2 Weekly Tip: Don't Waste Water Washing Your Car!

When you wash your car at home dirt, oil, and grease gets washed away with the detergent. This polluted water then flows from the street and into nearby storm drains. Car washing detergents are rich in pollutants, such as nutrients, metals and hydrocarbons that need to be treated at our wastewater treatment facilities.

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!

Next time your car needs a wash; think about taking it to a commercial car wash instead of washing pollutants down the drain. This will help conserve water, wastewater run-off, and divert the harmful effects untreated wastewater has on the environment.

August 20, 2009

P2 Weekly Tip: Think Before You Flush!

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: for more toilet safe information!

August 18, 2009

Out With the Old

Undoing what’s been done might seem like a funny way to approach stormwater management – let’s face it, most of us think about progress in terms of what we build, not what we dismantle. But mitigating urbanization’s impacts on stormwater runoff requires a different type of strategy – it requires Low Impact Design.

Low Impact Design (or LID for you hipsters) is a suite of technologies that replace impervious surfaces like paved streets and driveways with porous ones, like rainwater gardens, green roofs and swales (swales are low tracts of land used as open drain systems).


When these technologies are applied to urban designs such as street medians, parks and schools, rainwater penetrates the earth, reinvigorating groundwater tables and streams.

Mission Bay Swale installation, Channel Pump Station, San Francisco

And there’s more (wait for it…) As rainwater percolates through layers of soil, street pollutants like car oil, animal waste and heavy metals are filtered out – a natural, ancient and very efficient process.

So when you next watch as oily rainwater pours from your driveway into a gutter, and you think to yourself, “there must be a better way…”

You’re right. There is.

For more information on the SFPUC’s LID and stormwater management programs, please visit:

August 13, 2009

P2 WeeklyTip: Non-Toxic Pesticides

Keep Pests Out Of The Garden &
Toxins Away From Your Family and Home

Do you use any pesticides or herbicides to control pests? When it starts to rain, the pesticides often end up in storm water runoff, eventually finding their way into the environment. Pesticides are hazardous to both land life and aquatic life. Instead, use less-toxic products or alternative methods to keep your family, your pets, and your planet safe!

Visit “Our Water Our World” website at: to find a store near you that carry non-toxic products and can provide helpful tips on keeping pests out of your garden!

August 11, 2009

Cleaning: The solids journey – a lifecycle

If you ever did some house cleaning, you’ll know how labor-intensive it is. It’s even harder when it comes to wastewater and it doesn’t end with just cleaning the liquids.

In San Francisco, not only do we clean our solid waste, we treat them well and re-use them! How? See for yourself:

Now you know, it’s an ongoing lifecycle, and the fruits and vegetables in your backyard might get something out of it. Visit to learn where you can get some food for your plants.

August 6, 2009

P2 Weekly Tip: Stop & Scoop!

Are you a dog owner or dog walker? Do you pick up after your dog? If you don’t, you should consider the consequences. Unscooped dog droppings have been linked to highly elevated levels of bacterial pollution in storm water runoff. Left behind feces can become a health hazard as well as a nuisance in your own yard and in neighborhood parks.

Don’t leave your pet's mess…stop and scoop! Picking up after your dog makes you a good neighbor and it helps reduce water pollution after it rains.

Visit: for more information.

August 4, 2009

Cleaning: The liquids journey - from toilets & streets, to pipes. Where next?

OK, now you know, “what goes down the toilet and runs off the street, goes to pipes”. But, what’s next? Wastewater treatment plants of course!

Take a peek to a film screening on screening at our plants:

That's just the beginning. A lot more happens, to make dirty water clean again.

Curious to know? Just email or go to to sign up for a FREE tour. I am sure this will entice you to come out and see:

Next week: The solids journey – a lifecycle