September 30, 2009

A huge splash at the 2nd annual BIG Blue Bucket Eco-Fair!

Thanks to all the attendees who made
BIG Blue Bucket a successful event!

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

P2 Weekly Tip: National Pollution Prevention Week!

Proclaim P2 - Reduce Pollution!
September 21st- 27th is National Pollution Prevention Week!

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

September 22, 2009

SFPUC’s Compost at Big Blue Bucket and Community/School Gardens in San Francisco

The Big Blue Bucket is almost here and as always, the Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant (SEP) staff outdid themselves again by filling close to 2,000 bags of compost!

In an effort lead by Steve Jones, Johnny Johnson and Armin (Turk) Borick and other heroes of the SEP, the work was completed without a hitch. Some of the SEP staff who filled the bags and helped community gardeners load their trucks with compost, from left to right, Back Row: Liam Fitzpatrick, Turk Borick, Johnny Johnson, Brett Watson, George Pelayo, Front Row William Huang, Howard Conroy, Jalanda Griffin, Alex Corbilla, Art Gutierrez. Not pictured above are Jose Limon, Troy Determan, Patrick Flaherty, Nadine Boyd, and John Bender.

Thanks everyone for your help!

In between filling the bags, staff also helped community and school gardens fill up their trucks with compost. As part of a new effort of the Wastewater Enterprise, community gardens and schools in San Francisco will be using SFPUC’s biosolids compost to grow plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables. In the next few months, watch for SFPUC’s lawn signs around the City.

More than 20 tons of compost will be given away at the Big Blue Bucket Eco-Fair this coming Saturday, September 26th, from 10AM to 2PM, at the Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant. The entrance to the event will be on Jerrold Ave. @ Phelps St.

Spread the word and come and join us at the Big Blue Bucket and learn about SFPUC’s environmental programs and more. For more information, visit

Fun with Rain Barrels… at the Zoo!

As monkeys and peacocks looked on (literally), a group of about 20 local volunteers helped to construct a new 8-unit rain barrel system at the San Francisco Zoo.

The system will collect rainwater from the roof of an historic 1906 earthquake shack in the Zoo’s new Greenie’s Conservation Corner.

District Supervisor Carmen Chu and several SFPUC team members provided encouragement and moral support for the volunteers who “learned as they built” the 360-gallon system.

Stay tuned to the SFSewers Blog for notices on future rain barrel building workshops that you can participate in (monkeys and peacocks notwithstanding…)

Learn more about the SFPUC’s rainwater harvesting program at:

September 17, 2009

P2 Weekly Tip: Recycle used cooking oil!

Want to dispose of used cooking oil, but don’t know what to do with it?

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:

  1. ALWAYS 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 a mayonnaise jar for easy collection on storage.
  3. Make sure oil is free of water, soapsuds, and food scraps.

  4. 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 to find a collection site near you.

September 15, 2009

Come to the Big Blue Bucket Eco-Fair to Learn How to Irrigate Your Garden With Captured Rainwater!

Okay, you’ve taken the plunge and purchased (or built) a rain barrel or cistern system for your garden. Congratulations! You are now officially a rainwater harvesting enthusiast! (Isn’t it fun?)

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.

For more information on the Big Blue Bucket Eco-Fair, please visit Check out our rainwater harvesting web site:

September 11, 2009

SFPUC to Host Free “Build-It-Yourself” Rain Barrel Workshop at the Zoo

Learn how to construct your own multi-unit rain barrel system using recycled food drums! The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the San Francisco Zoo are partnering to construct two multi-unit rain barrel systems in the Zoo’s newest conservation area. Come help build the Zoo’s rain barrel system and receive instruction on how to construct a similar system in your own back yard!

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 or call 415-554-0715.

September 10, 2009

P2 Weekly Tip: Recycle old & expired medications!

How do you dispose of old or expired medications?

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

Free food for your plants at Big Blue Bucket!

Humans are not the only ones that need food; plants need nutrition too, as well as sun and water. What's more, healthy plants absorb CO2 from the atmosphere reducing greenhouse gases. Give your plants a boost and pick up FREE compost at our Big Blue Bucket Eco-Fair on September 26. Check out our video to see how you will help complete the "lifecycle" by picking compost.

To learn more about the event and to pre-register online, go to! Just so you know: only three bags of compost per person while supplies last. So, hurry up and register now!

September 3, 2009

P2 Weekly Tip: Bring beauty to your garden!

Do you want to see more
butterflies, hummingbirds & ladybugs
in your garden?

Not only do they bring beauty to your garden, they are also beneficial insects that feed on a variety of pest insects. You can attract these and other beneficials by growing certain plants in your garden - keep in mind that hummingbirds are attracted to flower colors and nectar, not fragrance.

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!

Have a GREAT gardening Day!

September 1, 2009

Keep Your Catch Basin Happy

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