The SFPUC works hard everyday to provide fundamental environmental benefits through our water, power and sewer services. We recognize there are challenges to providing these services as some parts of our community face a greater burden than others due to the location of our facilities in their neighborhoods. We work with these communities to understand their needs and lessen the effects caused by our operations. At the SFPUC, we call this environmental justice. We’re proud to be the first public utility in the nation to develop an Environmental Justice Policy which guides our efforts to support environmentally healthy and safe communities where we live, work, learn and play.
As part of our mission, we also maintain and preserve more than 590,000 acres of land to protect our natural resources and critical infrastructure. Our Agency often has the opportunity to use our land for more than one purpose and when we can, we partner with local leaders to support innovative uses which benefit the environment and enhance the quality of life for our service area residents.
Creating Access to Green Spaces
The SFPUC is a long-time supporter of urban agriculture and community garden projects. We partner with community organizations through our Urban Agriculture Pilot Program to create gardens and sustainable food systems on SFPUC land. Through these projects, we’re increasing community access to green spaces, healthy foods and ecoliteracy learning opportunities.
Developed in partnership with the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), our College Hill Learning Garden, provides children in primary school with an interactive garden equipped with curriculum-based tools. The garden, open for class field trips, teaches children about San Francisco’s water, wastewater, renewable and energy efficiency systems and exposes them to growing healthy food and sustainable living. In 2016, hundreds of students, teachers and community members visited the College Hill Garden and we look forward to hosting more classrooms and families in years to come.
Growing Plants & Environmental Stewards
Our Agency empowers and supports our service area residents in their individual efforts to be good environmental stewards. We believe that community action can add up to big benefits for watersheds and sewer infrastructure. We offer a variety of programs and grants to help our communities save water and create green infrastructure projects.
Through our Urban Watershed Stewardship Program, we partner with the City’s Community Challenge Grant program to provide grants that support community projects that harvest and use rainwater, remove impervious surfaces, or implement green stormwater management facilities. With the help of a grant, Rosa Parks Elementary school was able to create a greenhouse and a water catchment system-- allowing the school to capture and use 3,000 gallons of stormwater per year.
Since the program’s inception in 2009, our Agency has removed more than 20,000 square feet of impervious concrete; planted more than 70 trees and 5,500 plants; installed cisterns capturing 25,000 gallons of rainwater; and engaged the community to provide more than 5,300 volunteer hours.
Through our Sidewalk Garden Project, we work with partners and service area residents to replace concrete sidewalks with plants and sidewalk gardens that beautify our neighborhoods while reducing the burden on our sewer system. Our Front Yard Ambassadors Program provides San Francisco’s Sunset District residents with grants to transform their front yards into vibrant, environmentally-friendly spaces that help to better manage stormwater. Through the Front Yard Ambassadors Program and Sidewalk Garden Project, we’ve removed more than 20,000 square feet of impervious concrete and replaced it with more than 200 gardens.
Biosolids Digester Facility Project (BDFP) Environmental Justice Analysis
The report presents existing conditions related to a broad selection of potential environmental justice indicators for the community of Bayview-Hunters Point, followed by analysis of the potential adverse or beneficial effects of the BDFP as well as of the potential beneficial effects of our Community Benefits Program on relevant indicators.