The City hopes to break ground on the project in 2022. This will cost-effectively modernize the plant to meet future water quality regulations, enhance habitat and provide a resource to the community.
What is the Project?
For decades, scientists have recognized San Francisco Bay as a nutrient-enriched estuary, largely due to heavy inputs of nitrogen from the 40 wastewater treatment plants that discharge over 400 million gallons of treated effluent to the Bay every day. Historically, the Bay has shown resistance to symptoms of nutrient over-enrichment because of its high turbidity, strong tidal mixing, and phytoplankton-eating clams. However, recent studies suggest the need to reduce nitrogen loading to protect the Bay to prevent potential effects of nutrient over-enrichment such as toxin-producing algal blooms. This project will not only reduce pollution to the Bay but also improve habitat and help demonstrate whether nature-based treatment strategies can cost-effectively rehabilitate damaged shorelines areas.
This project involves utilizing an underutilized wastewater storage basin and converting it to a treatment wetland. Current estimates indicate 10-20% of the City's treated effluent can be 'polished' in the pond, prior to direct discharge to the Bay. Using techniques developed by UC Berkeley researchers, the City hopes to nearly eliminate nitrogen and phosphorus (which are "nutrients" that can cause algae blooms and other problems in the Bay) and other contaminants from this portion of its wastewater stream.