Wednesday, August 14, 2013

PUC reps visit Quesada Gardens

Sam Murray, seated center, and Leamon Abrams, standing center at Quesada Gardens.
Sam Murray and Leamon Abrams represented the SF Public Utilities Commission at the August meeting of the Quesada Gardens Initiative as part of their outreach to the Bayview community.  Major changes in how the City manages water and sewage are underway, and the impact on the southeast neighborhoods will remain significant.

One thing that is not likely to change is the fact that the Southeast Sewage Treatment Facility processes 80 percent of the City's sewage.  The way that sewage is processed will be changing quite a lot as part of a nearly $7 billion upgrade that will be phased in over the next decade.

Change is good when it comes to a system of over 1,000 antiquated pipes and a processing facility that was built in 1952.

"What are you using in your homes that was made in 1952?" Leamon asked the group.  "Technology has come a long way since then."

Sam organized a task force of citizens to advise about the overall project, and encouraged residents at the Quesada Gardens meeting to get involved.

"We truly want to improve the processing facility," Sam said.  "But we need your help to do it right."

The Sewer System Improvement Project Plan includes a more decentralized system of waste processors, called "digesters."  Look for construction to begin in about three years, and the digesters to be changed in eight to ten years.

Bayview residents who participated in the discussion expressed a range of concerns, including the unequal burden of sewage processing on the southeast part of the city, and the need for the public sector to financially mitigate that inequality.

Useful tip:  If you notice that a street catch basin smells bad, call 311.  The "bell," or the mechanism that keeps the smelly stuff where it should be, may be broken.  Because there are 26,000 basins, the PUC isn't likely to know which ones need work without assistance from the public.

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