The year was 1875. The Civil War ended about a decade ago. The outlaw Jessie James was robbing banks in the mid-west. And Spring Valley Water Works, the private water company in San Francisco, started buying farmland at the border of Alameda and Santa Clara Counties for a future reservoir site.
Spring Valley Water would later harness the water from the Sunol Valley to supply water for a young and growing San Francisco. The confluence of their three historic water sources became the location of a Greco-Roman Water Temple, walnut orchards, and the center of activity for the team that operates this water system. San Francisco would eventually purchase Spring Valley and its land holdings in the 1930’s.
The East Bay center of operations of our Water Supply and Treatment and Natural Resources teams had since become a hodgepodge of buildings constructed over the decades that were neither seismically reliable nor up to current building codes. Needless to say, it was overdue for an upgrade.
In 2019, the new Sunol Yard was completed. Located at the precise location as the previous yard, the construction project completely redesigned and reconstructed the majority of the yard to make our operations more efficient, environmentally sustainable, and seismically durable. Crews constructed a new administration building, new maintenance shops, fuel tanks, and new backup power generators, to name just a few of the upgrades.
The approximately 55 staff members who will be located here started moving into their new home at the end of September 2019. For many it would be the first time they were located under the same roof. Staff took time away from unpacking their boxes for a housewarming celebration on September 27.
Over coffee and treats, the teams were reminded as much about the long and storied history of the site as their bright future in their beautiful new buildings. Being prepared for emergencies is more than repairing infrastructure. It is also about making sure our workforce has an upgraded and efficient place from which to work.
Here’s to the next 144 years at the Sunol Yard.