Drained water from a popular transit hub can now be used as a resource.
The SFPUC, Clearway Energy, Inc.’s Energy Center San Francisco (ECSF) and State Senator Scott Wiener celebrated the launch of the City’s largest onsite water reuse project. The initiative will divert foundation drainage at the Powell Street BART station and redirect it to ECSF’s District Energy Plant for use in their district steam loop, resulting in 30 million gallons of drinking water saved annually.
As part of the SFPUC’s ongoing commitment to sustainability and leadership in developing community partnerships, the agency has collaborated with ECSF to reclaim foundation drainage at the Powell Street BART Station. Identifying foundation drainage as a resource rather than a nuisance, the water will be diverted away from the SFPUC’s wastewater system and redirected to ECSF’s District Energy Plant for use in their steam loop, providing heating, hot water and process steam to hotels and buildings in downtown San Francisco.
Supported in part by a $500,000 grant from the SFPUC, ECSF worked with BART to replace and upgrade aging sump pumps, and construct a 1,000-foot pipeline, which transports the foundation drainage from Powell Street Station to the District Energy Plant, located on Jessie Street. At the plant, ECSF installed an onsite water treatment system to treat the foundation drainage to a quality suitable for use in a district steam heating system. The water is treated through a coarse strainer, microfiltration and closed circuit reverse osmosis.
ECSF will reduce its overall water consumption by 30 percent, helping to save 30 million gallons of water each that would normally be used for drinking purposes, making it the largest project funded by the SFPUC’s Onsite Water Reuse Grant Program.
The SFPUC is committed to exploring innovative practices to conserve water and diversify its sources, as part of the City’s OneWaterSF approach. San Francisco is the first municipality to adopt groundbreaking legislation that allows buildings to install onsite water reuse systems to meet demands such as toilet flushing and irrigation.
Additionally, in 2018, the SFPUC worked with State Senator Wiener on state legislation that will expand water recycling efforts by developing statewide water quality standards for onsite water systems.
According to the SFPUC’s annual water resources report, conservation programs and services offered last fiscal year by the SFPUC will result in savings of more than 500 million gallons of water over the next 30 years. The ECSF project, which came online this fiscal year, will save 900 million gallons of water over the next 30 years.