The city under The City
Our Wastewater Enterprise operates and maintains the City’s combined sewer system which collects and treats both sewage and stormwater. This system consists of 1,000 miles of pipes which collect sanitary sewage from homes, businesses, and stormwater runoff; large transport storage box facilities; 27 pump stations that transport the wastewater; three treatment plants and 8 deep water outfalls that discharge the treated water into the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean. These miles of pipes and facilities create a “city under the City” for the City’s sewage and stormwater to journey through as it is pumped, treated, and discharged 365 days a year.
Many parts of this system are aging and in need of upgrades. San Francisco is in dire need of fixing our 100-year old sewer system because vital infrastructure is failing and beyond repair, threatening public health. After eight years of public input and feedback along with in-depth analysis of long-term sewer capital projects, we are now moving forward with a plan to upgrade, replace, and seismically retrofit this aging system. This plan is the Sewer System Improvement Program (SSIP) a citywide investment to upgrade failing infrastructure and ensure the reliability and performance of our sewer system, now and in the future.
San Francisco’s Award-Winning Sewer Programs
San Francisco is the only major coastal city in California that operates a city-wide combined sewer system that collects and treats both sewage and stormwater. Our Water Pollution Program works to keep pollutants from entering the City’s sewer system and ultimately the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean. Some of the award-winning programs are “Only Rain Down the Drain” a curbside public education placard, Dental Mercury Reduction that reduces dental amalgam waste and implementation of Pollution Prevention Guidelines for homes and businesses in the City. Our facilities and many programs have received both state and national recognition from agencies like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Association of Clean Water Agencies and California Water Environment Association.
Learn about the sewer system collection and treatment process here.