Recycled water project could move out of park to Great Highway plant
A controversial recycled-water plant that had been proposed for Golden Gate Park would instead be built at the Oceanside Wastewater Treatment Plant between the Great Highway and Lake Merced, under a new plan the City announced Wednesday.
Opposition to the Westside Recycled Water Project from nearby residents and Golden Gate Park advocates prompted the City to look for alternative sites in late 2010.
According to a press release from the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, the new proposed location includes part of a California Army National Guard armory adjacent to the Oceanside plant. Moving the recycled-water plant there had been brought up earlier, but it wasn’t until recently that Rec-Park and the SF Public Utilities Commission reached a tentative agreement with the National Guard on the new location.
The project would produce recycled water — highly treated, but not clean enough for drinking-water standards — for use on landscaping in Golden Gate Park, Lincoln Park and the Lincoln Park Golf Course. Water for these uses is now drawn from an aquifer under the western part of San Francisco.
According to the press release:
The Westside Recycled Water Project is part of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s Local Water Supply Program, which is working to produce a reliable and sustainable local water supply through a combination of additional groundwater usage, more conservation, and increased water reuse. The project would include a new recycled water treatment plant that would provide 2 million gallons per day of advanced level treated water for non-potable purposes (e.g. non-drinking uses such as irrigation and toilet flushing) to a variety of customers on the west side of San Francisco.
Some neighborhood residents had been concerned that the earlier plan would have piped partly treated wastewater under the Great Highway for further processing at the Golden Gate Park facility. They questioned whether it was wise to place new infrastructure in an area already subject to coastal erosion. It’s not yet clear whether the water that would come out of the relocated recycled-water plant would also be transported to the park by pipes under the Great Highway.
The press release explained what factors were considered in choosing a location:
The SFPUC originally proposed a site at the western edge of Golden Gate Park because of its proximity to existing infrastructure and the Park itself, which would be a major customer of recycled water for irrigation purposes. Through a series of public meetings, the community expressed concerns over this proposed location. Staff began the search for viable alternatives, and eventually identified a potential site that would be located at the Oceanside Wastewater Treatment Plant and a portion of the nearby Armory. This option did not become viable until recently when a tentative agreement was reached with the California Army National Guard.
It’s not yet clear how the new location for the recycled-water plant would fit in with the Ocean Beach Master Plan, which has suggested using the roof of the Oceanside plant and a nearby service road as parking areas, in conjunction with removing some parking at Ocean Beach and the San Francisco Zoo.
The SFPUC expects to hold a public meeting explaining details of its project in coming months.