SFPUC Kicks Off Pollution Prevention Week

This week we are celebrating National Pollution Prevention Week. Here in San Francisco we are highlighting the role of the SFPUC’s Pollution Prevention Program in ensuring we continue to protect public health and the environment.

So many of us enjoy outdoor recreation activities and making the most of the beautiful sights and sounds that San Francisco has to offer. The widespread popularity of our local parks and beaches combined with our historically mild weather means residents and visitors alike are regularly making the most of the outdoors year-round. We benefit from a local culture of environmental awareness and a collective commitment to protecting our natural resources. The SFPUC’s Pollution Prevention Program offers useful resources for residents to continue and expand their environmentally conscious habits.

“This program has had a huge impact on how many pollutants we can detect contaminating the bodies of water surrounding us. We are preventing pollution and irreversible damage to our environment. You can’t put a price on that. Once our natural resources are gone, there’s no replacing them which is why we implore people to care about what they put down their pipes and release into the environment,” explained Autumn Cleave, Pollution Prevention Specialist for the SFPUC. 

Perhaps the message we should hear and be reminded of yet again during Pollution Prevention Week is that this is not just one person’s job but our collective responsibility to do what we can to preserve our natural resources for future generations to enjoy. 

The Pollution Prevention Program aims to help reduce the amount of pollutants entering our combined sewer system and surrounding waterways by controlling the source of the pollutants. Giving resident the tools to properly dispose of medication, used cooking oils, and household materials like paint and batteries can go a long way towards protecting our local watersheds and sewer infrastructure.

“We need to stay ahead of pollution and control it at the source, meaning, we need to prevent pollution from entering our sewer system as much as possible. San Francisco is served by a combined sewer system – where sanitary sewage from homes and businesses (toilet flushing, bathroom and kitchen sinks, showers), as well as stormwater (runoff that carries debris and pollutants from streets, sidewalks and rooftops), is combined and transported to wastewater treatment plants. Removing pollutants during the treatment process isn’t always possible,” said Autumn.

From September 21st to the 27th, we will be highlighting the various ways residents and business owners can get involved. Join us for a virtual tour on September 23, 12-1pm where we will explore pollution prevention practices; register at sfwater.org/VirtualExplorations. Follow us @sfwater on social media to keep up with our Pollution Prevention Week education and daily tips.