Photographs from the Oceanside and Southeast Treatment Facilities: San Francisco, CA

As global environmental conditions demand greater environmental awareness and populations become larger and more dense water becomes more and more fraught an issue at the local level. One typically overlooked aspect of water use is wastewater treatment—a complex issue of infrastructure, ecology, and recycling.

San Francisco faces unusual wastewater challenges; its system combines sanitary sewers and storm sewers in one piping and treatment system (it is an old system with components and piping dating back more than 100 years). As the city grows and pushes against its peninsular boundaries the treatment facilities in these photographs are aging and overburdened.

Repair is not a glamor political issue and consequently wastewater management struggles for funding even as the City's waste system constitutes a critical public health bulwark against communicable disease. The SFPUC is making headway though and is today underway with several significant renovation projects.
Separated wastewater stream, Southeast facility
Monitoring stations, Southeast facility
Southeast facility piping, I
Digester controls, Southeast facility
Activated carbon odor control tanks, Oceanside facility
Home shown to be most impacted year-round by waste treatment odors, Southeast facility
Oceanside facility managers
Southeast facility piping, II
Robotic testing station, Oceanside facility
Biological samples taken at underwater outlet pipe terminus, Oceanside facility
Machine controls, Oceanside facility
Solids rake separator warning sign, Oceanside facility
Spraying solids conveyor, Oceanside facility
Plant maintenance technician, Oceanside facility
Solids separation hopper, Oceanside facility
Grit Slurry Piping
Keep door closed, Oceanside facility
Oceanside facility control room
Solids conveyor, Oceanside facility
Solids separation unit, Oceanside facility
Grit slurry transport piping, Oceanside facility
Installing vinyl splash curtains, Oceanside facility
Natural gas reclamation piping, Oceanside facility
Digester elevation drawing, Oceanside facility
Sludge digester outlet, Oceanside facility
Digester tank, Southeast facility
Digested sludge piping, Oceanside facility
Processed wastewater prior to pumping offshore, Oceanside facility