Friday, October 21, 2016

Photo Friday in Sunol Valley

This week we wanted to share a snapshot of construction underway at the
Fish Passage Facilities in Sunol Valley. The photo below shows the new intake structure and conveyance tunnels under construction upstream of the Alameda Creek Diversion Dam. The Fish Passage Facilities Project is located on SFPUC property adjacent to the Sunol Regional Wilderness. Completion of the project will support the restoration of steelhead trout to the Alameda Creek watershed. Happy Friday!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Remembering Loma Prieta – And Preparing for the Next Big One

Monday, October 17th is the 27th anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake. The 6.9 magnitude quake shook the earth for 15 seconds, took the lives of 67 people and injured almost 3,000 more. There was an estimated $6 billion in property losses. We here at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission have been preparing for the next big quake ever since.

As the owner and operator of the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System that serves water to 2.6 million people in four Bay Area counties, we have worked for more than 10 years to repair, replace, and seismically upgrade vulnerable portions of this system as part of the $4.8 billion Water System Improvement Program (WSIP). The program itself is more than 90% complete. Our water system is safer and more reliable today than it was 10 years ago, let alone 27 years ago. Our promise is that we can deliver minimum demand to our customers within 24 hours after a major earthquake. We can make good on that promise because of WSIP.

Here’s just a few reasons why:

* The Bay Tunnel is a seismic lifeline carrying water under San Francisco Bay. It was brought into service on time and under budget in October 2014.

* The New Irvington Tunnel carries water between our East Bay and Hetch Hetchy supplies and our Bay Area Customers. Located between the Calaveras and Hayward Earthquake faults, this seismically designed tunnel allows us to take the existing 88 year-old tunnel out of service for maintenance.

* A new Bay Division Pipeline #5 connects to both of these new tunnels in the East Bay and on the Peninsula to provide greater delivery reliability to our customers. It replaces two pipes that were constructed in 1926 and 1935.

Wait, that’s not all!

We upgraded our Sunol Valley Water Treatment Plant, which treats water from San Antonio and Calaveras Reservoirs. It can now treat enough water to support our entire service territory on its own (160 million gallons of water per day) for up to 60 days after a major earthquake.

Water treatment trains at our newly upgraded Sunol Valley Water Treatment Plant

Two major transmission lines sit on major traces of the Hayward Fault in Fremont. We used cutting-edge technology on our Bay Division Pipelines 3 and 4 to allow one of them to absorb up to 6.5 feet of horizontal displacement and 9 feet of compression while still remaining in service.   

A slip joint at the Seismic Upgrades to the Bay Division Pipelines 3 and 4 at the Hayward Fault Crossing allows the pipe to absorb up to 9 feet of compression during an earthquake.

This work is never done. We will continue to replace and upgrade our system pipelines, pump stations, and treatment plants even after the WSIP is complete. We’ll worry about your water so you won’t have to.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Mountain Lions at Calaveras Dam

Just this week at the Calaveras Dam Replacement Project, crews were able to install a special feature to the new Intake Tower roof.  The new intake tower is part of the outlet works that releases water from the reservoir. The special features are roof drain scuppers made of cast bronze in the shape of a mountain lion head designed by artist Manuel Palos and architect Andrew Maloney.

Why a Mountain Lion?
The lion head “grotesque” & “gargoyle” ornament has decorated buildings for thousands of years. In Greek and Roman classical architecture, the lion was a symbol of the fallen hero, guardian of gates, temples, and public buildings. The rain water from the roof is collected in the drain and exits the mouth of the mountain lion.    

Mountain lions are native to the Alameda Creek Watershed. Some construction workers have seen them on site and we even captured footage on our trail camera:

Friday, September 23, 2016

Sunol Glen School Walk-a-Thon

Well, now it is officially fall. Sure, the Autumnal Equinox was yesterday, but today, more importantly, is Sunol Glen School’s Annual Walk-a-thon!

It is the Sunol Glen Community Club’s largest fundraiser.

We at the SFPUC are pleased and proud to be out there again this year to provide drinking water and moral support to the amazing student participants.

How can you show your support, you ask? 

Visit to learn more!

 Go Eagles!!

Wendie and Carlos (at right) and Maria and Dylan (below) show their true blue Eagles Spirit! 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Work on the Drainage System for Calaveras Dam

This week our crews started installation of two drainage pipes which are 100 feet long and 18 inches in diameter. Why are these important?

A major component of earthen fill dams is to control water seepage. Seepage occurs with the continuous movement of water around and through the dam. Earthen fill dams are designed with filter drain materials. The new Calaveras Dam will have filter drains composed of sands and gravel materials, which are being imported to the project site. The filter drains collect the seepage. The water goes into the drainage pipes shown below and flows to a weir building, where it is measured continuously to ensure water is passing safely. Eventually the water will flow downstream to the nearby creeks. The completion of the Calaveras Dam is critical to restore the Calaveras Reservoir to its historic storage capacity of 31 billion gallons of water storage for the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System.

Perforated Pipes being installed adjacent to the inspection well for the new Calaveras Dam

Installation of drainage pipes below the new spillway for the Calaveras Dam Replacement Project

Friday, September 2, 2016

Successful Celebration of Sunol Ag Park’s 10th Anniversary at the Sunol Water Temple

On Saturday August 13th, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAGE) celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the Sunol Agricultural Park (AgPark) in the East Bay. Located on approximately 18 acres owned by the SFPUC, the Sunol AgPark is a collaborative farm that promotes sustainable agricultural practices, supports beginning and diverse farmers, fosters public education and protects natural resources in the Alameda Creek Watershed.
“Ten years ago, SAGE approached the SFPUC with a novel idea,” said Harlan L. Kelly, Jr. General Manager of the SFPUC. “Create an urban farm on our land between the Sunol Water Temple and our corporation yard. The farm would promote sustainable farming and educate the public about watershed stewardship. This was an entirely new concept to us years ago, and now we support urban agricultural programs throughout the Bay Area.”
The event took place on a very warm summer afternoon in the Sunol Valley, but that didn’t stop attendees from enjoying themselves with the Sunol Water Temple as the back drop. Guests included Norma Camacho the interim GM for Santa Clara Valley Water District, Sunol CAC members, SAGE Board members and staff, farmers from the Ag Park, Sunol neighbors and SFPUC staff who all came together to celebrate this milestone.
During the event, guests had the unique opportunity to tour the working Ag Park discovering the many vegetables, herbs, fruit and flowers grown on the property. All guests enjoyed delicious dishes prepared by local chefs using fruit and vegetables grown at and gathered from the Ag Park. These chefs all come from prominent eateries in the Bay Area including Bar Agricole and Standard Fare among others and donated their time for the event.  The event also received some media coverage from The Independent, a local newspaper serving Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton and Sunol.
The SFPUC and SAGE commemorated this occasion by unveiling a bronze plaque that will be installed near the Sunol Water Temple to acknowledge SAGE’s hard work and Sibella Kraus’ integral role in the creation and long-term success of the AgPark. The SFPUC’s Commission recognized Sibella Krauss, for her hard work and dedication to this project, with a heartfelt acknowledgement and resolution at their Aug. 9 meeting. In 2017, SAGE will move on to other opportunities and the management of the AgPark will be taken over by the Alameda County Resource Conservation District. However, the farm will continue as it has- providing land for sustainable farming and education.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Safety Milestone for the Fish Passage Facilities Project

Since construction began in April 2016, the Fish Passage Facilities Project within the Alameda Creek Watershed celebrated an important safety milestone this month.  As of August 6th, the construction crews have worked a total of 24,447 hours with no recordable injuries, modified duty or days away from work and the injury rate is well below the national average. 

Major work has included concrete demolition, excavation and drilling work at the site. The Alameda Creek Diversion Dam is located on SFPUC lands adjacent to the Sunol Regional Wilderness Park in Sunol. The project will allow the SFPUC to improve the current facility and to develop fish passage facilities within the Alameda Creek Watershed. This important work will support restoration of steelhead trout to the Alameda Creek watershed. As we continue work to complete the project in late 2018, we applaud Shimmick Construction for making safety a priority every day.

Early morning safety tailgate with the crews 

Work underway at the Fish Passage Facilities Project