San Francisco, CA— The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), San Francisco Planning Department, and Environmental Science Associates (ESA) received a California Association of Environmental Professional (AEP) award for the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Biosolids Digesters Facilities Project
(BDFP)—a project to improve wastewater services and enhance environmental and social well-being in the immediate Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood. The SFPUC and ESA also received an AEP award for the project’s groundbreaking Environmental Justice Analysis Report.
“When our agency embarks on new capital programs and projects, we deploy comprehensive environmental planning and community engagement to protect our natural environment and the quality of life for local residents,” said SFPUC General Manager Harlan L. Kelly, Jr. “Our recognition from AEP is a testament to our commitment to our service area communities and the highest quality of environmental management.”
The AEP granted the SFPUC and partners an Outstanding Environmental Analysis Document Award for the BDFP Environmental Impact Report and a Merit Award for project’s supporting
Environmental Justice Report. These statewide awards recognize this team for going beyond regulatory requirements to enhance and protect the quality of the natural and human environment.
To provide sustainable and reliable sewer system services for San Francisco, the SFPUC is replacing and improving its facilities through the Sewer System Improvement Program (SSIP), a multibillion-dollar program to upgrade and modernize the City’s 100-year old combined sewer system. The Southeast Treatment Plant which is over 60 years old treats 80 percent of the City’s wastewater and stormwater flows. The BDFP, as the centerpiece of the SSIP, will completely replace the old solids treatment equipment at the Southeast Plant with reliable, efficient, modern technologies that are earthquake resilient, feature advanced odor control and will produce sufficient electricity to power most of the plant. In addition, the BDFP will be located away from existing Bayview-Hunters Point homes and incorporate design and landscaping features to visually improve the new facilities and the streetscape.
“The environmental impact report once again demonstrates the Environmental Planning division’s excellence in conducting in-depth and complex analysis and ultimately delivering an essential component to the BDFP,” said John Rahaim, Director of San Francisco Planning. “We look forward to this modern resource recovery facility, City destination, neighborhood benefit, and attractive workplace.”
The BDFP’s environmental impact report provided a comprehensive analysis of 18 resource areas including air quality modeling, health risk analysis and odor modeling and analyzed all aspects of the project from construction through operation.
The San Francisco Planning Department conducted three public meetings as part of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process for the BDFP. The SFPUC also included the public throughout the process with more than 50 outreach efforts beginning in 2009 to ensure topics of concern were addressed. The Planning Commission certified the environmental impact report in 2018 and the SFPUC adopted mitigation measures that will be implemented as the project begins construction in 2019.
In addition, the SFPUC went beyond CEQA and federally mandated analyses to create an Environmental Justice Analysis Report, which evaluates socio-economic demographics, air quality and other environmental conditions as well as access to social and healthcare services to create an in-depth understanding of the Bayview neighborhood. This information was analyzed to see how the project could play a role in improving environmental and community conditions.
In the EJ report, the SFPUC’s Citizen’s Advisory Committee and neighborhood committees prioritized economic and educational opportunities as well as air and water quality. The SFPUC is committed to implementing the EJ analysis recommendations including expanded air quality monitoring, tree planting, bike and pedestrian improvements and electric vehicle charging stations, in addition to the project improvements and mitigation measures that are part of the environmental impact report.
This first-of-its-kind EJ Report is a groundbreaking example of a public utility living up to
its commitments to equity while evaluating the impacts of a major infrastructure project. The report was made possible by the SFPUC’s Environmental Justice Policy. Established in 2009, the policy requires the agency to prevent, mitigate, and lessen disproportionate environmental impacts of its activities on communities in all SFPUC service areas and to ensure that public benefits are shared across all communities.
“I want to stress the importance of the environmental justice analysis recommendations and providing healthier, cleaner and safer outcomes for the southeast community,” said LaVaughn King, Southeast Community Facility Commissioner. “As a Bayview resident for over 50 years, I have seen the impact of the Southeast Treatment Plant’s operations and the digesters facilities project provides a new opportunity to make things right.”
More information about the SFPUC’s Biosolids Digesters Facilities Project
can be found on the project landing page. Visit the Environmental Justice and Land Use page
to learn more about the agency’s efforts to support environmentally healthy communities.