Friday, February 5, 2016

Exploring the Watershed: Endless Opportunities for Volunteer Trail Leaders

Any day is a good day to walk, cycle or ride your horse along the Peninsula Watershed’s Fifield-Cahill Ridge Trail—a 10-mile stretch through old-growth conifer forest, fragrant coastal scrub, and grassy meadows. Ridge Trail events are available by reservation on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays. A wide variety of Ridge trail event itineraries are scheduled year round and are led Ridge Trail Leader Volunteers.



There are openings now to join our diverse corps of approximately 150 trail leaders, whose interests range from fitness to art, gardening, nature interpretation, and more. “The opportunities are endless, and the experience is unique,” said Watershed Natural Resources Manager Joe Naras. “The place gives you the impression that no one else is there.”

For an application to become a trail leader, go here, and scroll to the bottom of the page. For more information, contact our Coordinator John Fournet at jfournet@sfwater.org.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What’s On Tap in the Peninsula for 2016?

Our SFPUC teams in the Peninsula are looking forward to a busy 2016! The $4.8 billion Water System Improvement Program (WSIP) might be more than 90 percent complete, but there’s still a lot of work left to complete. We look forward to continuing to share information about our current projects and starting new ones in the New Year. Here are a few highlights of what to expect in 2016.

Regional Groundwater Construction Continues to Charge Forward
The Regional Groundwater Storage & Recovery project charges forward to complete well drilling this year, and then the focus will shift to building well facilities at 13 separate sites in 2016. .


Project team directing concrete pour in South San Francisco

The Regional Groundwater and Storage Recovery project is constructing up to 16 new groundwater wells and associated pipelines and equipment to allow us to store groundwater in wet years for use in times of drought. Learn more about the project here: www.sfwater.org/gsr. Construction started in April 2015 and is estimated to be complete in March 2018?


Seismic Upgrade Success in the Peninsula
The Peninsula Pipeline Seismic Upgrade Project (PPSU) project is wrapping up restoration activities. We anticipate the project to be complete in winter 2016. The construction team is working to ensure that the project’s sites are returned to the same condition before our pipeline replacement work started in summer 2014.

The PPSU project consisted of seismic upgrades to three Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System delivery pipelines located in Millbrae, San Bruno, South San Francisco and Colma. These upgrades make the water system more reliable after an earthquake.

Clearing the Way for New Native Habitat on Watershed Lands
Coming up on the Peninsula Watershed this spring, watershed crews will begin hand-removing pampas grass, periwinkle and other non-native, invasive vegetation from several acres along and near the east side of Lower Crystal Springs Reservoir. Over the years the invasive species have gradually but consistently overcome and displaced the area’s original native grasses and other plants.

This initial brush clearing will be the first step in a long-term comprehensive Bioregional Habitat Program to restore about 150 acres of native grasses and oak woodlands within the 26,000-acre watershed. The program is designed to compensate for impacts to habitat resulting from seismic reconstruction of major drinking water facilities within the watershed.


Crews hand-remove non-native, invasive vegetation to make way for the restoration of our historic native habitats.

Hike, Bike, or Ride the Fifield Cahill Ridge Trail
In case you were not aware, members of the public can hike, mountain bike, or ride their horses through the Peninsula Watershed on the Fifield-Cahill Ridge Trail. Access to the trail is by guided groups by reservation only. Those wanting to experience pristine old-growth forests, grassy meadows and ridgetop vistas should make a reservation on line: here.

Make a reservation to hike, bike, or ride on the Fifield Cahill Ridge Trail.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Hetchy System Temporarily Out--But High-Quality Water Still Coming In


A couple of weeks ago we reported on the high reservoir water levels on the Peninsula, and how that’s due to the way we manage and adjust them during the rainy months.We maximize our storage here in the Bay Area for later use when we need it, particularly in January when we take the Hetch Hetchy System offline for a few weeks for routine maintenance.



That time is upon us. Now our Crystal Springs Reservoir System goes into high gear, serving all Peninsula and San Francisco consumers with a continuing high-quality supply of stored Hetch Hetchy water plus a small amount of local watershed rainfall.

In short, Hetch Hetchy water enters the watershed through Pulgas Tunnel, and surplus water is released into Crystal Springs Reservoir, where it mixes with
rainfall and local runoff.

The Crystal Springs/San Andreas Pipeline System and the Crystal Springs Pump Station move water north from Crystal Springs to San Andreas Reservoir. From there, the San Andreas Pump Station pumps it on up to Harry Tracy Water Treatment Plant for disinfection and filtration before it is conveyed onward to approximately one million people.  
                                                                  
                                             

         Surplus Hetchy water flowing into Crystal Springs.                                          

At Harry Tracy all hands are on board, according to senior water treatment plant operator Justine James. “We’re operating all our chemical feed systems, pumps and other equipment to produce the higher capacity,” she said.  During the shutdown the plant is currently producing about 80 million gallons per day instead of the usual 35 million per day.   
                                 
And, thanks to recent seismic upgrades, the Crystal Springs Reservoir System is more dependable than ever, with the strength and resilience to withstand the next major earthquake or other natural disaster. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   


Friday, January 8, 2016

Tree Removal along El Camino Real between Southwood Drive and Orange Avenue

Beginning in late January, the Regional Groundwater Storage & Recovery (GSR) Project will begin removing approximately 26 trees on the SFPUC’s right of way to prepare for pipe installation along El Camino Real between Southwood Drive and Orange Avenue.

Along El Camino Real, the Project will install an eight inch diameter pipeline Real to connect our regional water customers with emergency water supply wells nearby. Our biologists carefully evaluated these trees, and determined the trees would suffer more damage to their roots and foundation if we were to leave them, causing a safety hazard. Due these factors, their age and health they cannot be saved and need to be removed prior to pipeline construction.

The SFPUC is working closely with the City of South San Francisco’s Park and Recreation Department to replace the trees with new vegetation along the right of way in accordance with the SFPUC’s vegetation management policy. The project team has marked the trees to be removed with ribbons.
Above are examples of the trees to be removed.

During tree removal and pipeline construction, the sidewalk and parking lane along southbound El Camino Real between Southwood Drive and W Orange Avenue will be closed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Indicated above are the locations of the trees to be removed, the sidewalk detour route and parking lane closure details.


Monday, January 4, 2016

Reservoirs are Full--Is the Drought Over?


People have been asking:  Why are the Crystal Springs and San Andreas reservoirs so full in the wake of such a long, continuing drought? That’s because we are constantly managing and adjusting the water levels in our local reservoirs--with some help from local rain runoff.  




Hetch Hetchy water enters the Peninsula segment of the regional water system through Pulgas Tunnel, and surplus is released into the reservoir near Pulgas Water Temple. 

The guiding philosophy is to fill our reservoirs during the rainy season for use in the high-demand summer months—or in case of emergency. For example, if a natural disaster or something else unforeseen should disrupt our Hetch Hetchy supply, we have enough locally stored water to keep serving our customers.

 Also the scenic stockpile allows us to perform regular maintenance on our regional system. For the past several years, we’ve been taking the Hetch Hetchy system offline in January for this routine but critical work. We start keeping the local reservoirs at higher levels during late fall in readiness for having to draw on them in January to supply customer demand.  

In short, the year-round management gives us operational flexibility at all times, and a reliable store of emergency source water.  Normally, about 85% of our tap water comes from Hetch Hetchy, with the rest provided by local rainfall and runoff. 

That said, remember: our statewide drought is still in effect, even in winter. Keep up your good work, and continue reducing your water use by 10%.   

   

Monday, December 21, 2015

Holiday Watch


It was Thanksgiving Day, and Harry Tracy Water Treatment Plant Superintendent Dee Cutino was home enjoying turkey and the trimmings like most people.  But he took time out to pick up the phone and say Happy Thanksgiving to two of his staff—water treatment operators Mike Evans and James Sparks, on duty for the day by themselves at the plant.  “I think these guys would jump through a fire for us if they had to,” he said.


The two-man team will be there on Christmas Eve too, and again on Christmas night, constantly monitoring the treatment processes that are going on throughout the plant—from coagulation through filtration, disinfection and corrosion control. Throughout the shift they’ll keep making necessary adjustments, and checking the water quality regularly in the lab next door.
                                                                                
At least two operators are always on duty at Harry Tracy— including nights and holidays. And even on a quiet holiday night, the high-pitched beeps routinely come in every few minutes. They are notifications about levels and conditions throughout the plant—ozone residual, the pH level, turbidity, and any number of others.

A key part of the job is knowing what action to take, according to senior operator Mike Evans. He and the other nine plant operators are trained to recognize and deal with the many different issues that could come up, including an earthquake or other natural disaster.  

In short, says Mike, “You have to be ready for anything.  It’s all about protecting the public with safe water 24/7.”
 
Mike’s teammate, operator James Sparks, is just as committed. As someone born, raised and living in San Francisco, he takes the promise of safe tap water personally. "It’s for my own family," he says, " my neighbors, and the other million and a half people we serve.”


Thumbs up to Mike, James, and the other men and women who keep watch throughout our water system—24/7, including the Holidays.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Happy Holidays from Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System!

Thank you for being wonderful customers and neighbors throughout construction in 2015. It has been a busy year on the Peninsula, the SFPUC’s Water System Improvement Program (WSIP) celebrated the completion of the Harry Tracy Water Treatment Plant in San Bruno and the last major water transmission pipeline in the Peninsula region coming into service.

While the Water System Improvement Program overall is now 90 percent complete, we still have a long way to go and our crews are hard at work this holiday season. Below are the construction schedules for the Peninsula Pipeline Seismic Upgrade, Regional Groundwater Storage & Recovery Projects and the San Andreas Pipeline #2 at Junipero Serra Park.
  • Construction will be suspended Thursday, December 24 through Sunday, December 27.
  • Construction will be suspended Thursday, December 31 through Sunday, January 3.
  • Regular construction schedules will resume Monday, January 4.