Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Rim Fire in Yosemite and a Sunol Valley Update

The Rim Fire, which started in the Stanislaus National Forest on Saturday, August 17th, has been widely reported during the past week. The fire has spread to 179,481 acres as of this writing, and more than 3,000 personnel have been dispatched to combat the fire. As of this writing, the fire is 20% contained.

The fire has since spread into the Tuolumne Watershed, and the environs of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, which is the source of 85% of the drinking water we provide our 2.6 million customers. There continues to be no change or impact to water quality or delivery from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. We continue serving high quality water to our customers.

The water delivery system and the recent upgrades completed in the Sunol Valley as part of our multi-billion dollar Water System Improvement Program have increased our ability to continue to serve our customers even during such an event as this. Why?
  • Hetch Hetchy water is being pumped to San Antonio Reservoir in the Sunol Valley as we speak to ensure we have as much water here in the Bay Area as possible, in case Hetchy supplies should become unavailable to us.
  • The pumps that send Hetchy water to San Antonio and to the Sunol Valley Water Treatment Plant were recently upgraded as part of the San Antonio Pump Station Upgrade.
  • The Sunol Valley Water Treatment Plant Expansion and Treated Water Reservoir upgraded filters and outlet works at the plant, and recently finished construction of a new treatment basin.
In short, should Hetchy supplies become unavailable to us because of the Rim Fire, or need to be treated, we have completed enough infrastructure upgrades in the Sunol Valley to filter and provide 160 million gallons of water a day to our Bay Area Customers for up to 2 months.

This incident underscores the urgency to complete the remaining water system upgrades in the Valley: New Irvington Tunnel, San Antonio Backup Pipeline, and a replacement Calaveras Dam.

So, when the next large incident occurs -- we will still be ready!

For up to date information on the rim fire, please visit sfwater.org/RimFire.

San Antonio Pump Station

Water being filtered at the Sunol Valley Water Treatment Plant

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Less than 1,000 feet to go!

It’s an exciting time here for the New Irvington Tunnel Project team.  As of August 14th, we have 886 feet of mining left to go!  The hole-through of the entire 18,860 ft tunnel is expected sometime this Fall 2013.  After we hole-through, construction is not quite done yet.  Miners will start preparing the tunnel for the installation of 8.5 ft diameter steel pipe, installed in 50-foot sections and welded together inside of the tunnel. We anticipate final completion of the New Irvington Tunnel at the end of 2014. Upon completion of the seismically-upgraded New Irvington Tunnel, the SFPUC will take the existing tunnel out of service for an inspection to assess the need for future maintenance and repairs.

We plan on hosting an Open House for the project on September 25, 2013.  All are invited to see our tunnel progress and project updates. Stay tuned for the invite!

For more information on the New Irvington Tunnel Project, subscribe to our blog, or call our 24 hour answer line at 866-973-1476 or email mle@sfwater.org

Tunnel workers pouring invert concrete

Vargas East Final Steel Liner looking west