If approved, San Francisco’s largest wastewater treatment facility, the Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant in northern Bayview, will be upgraded and expanded over the next five years.

The existing 40-acre plant, which roughly stretches from Evans to McKinnon and Phelps to Quint, treats 80 percent of San Francisco’s current waste/stormwater, and it does so with facilities for treating solids that rely on outdated technology, are prone to disrepair, and “negatively affect the community with respect to odors, noise, and visual quality.” Oh, and the current facilities are “not designed to withstand the maximum credible earthquake on local faults.”

If approved, the Biosolids Digester Facilities Project (BDFP) would expand the existing facility by 7-acres, west to the border of the freight rail spur/Caltrain right-of-way, up to Rankin.

The project would replace the plant’s existing solid waste digesters, which are the major facility used in the solids treatment process, to produce higher-quality biosolids, better capture and treat odors, and maximize digester gas utilization and energy recovery for the production of heat, steam and electrical power while minimizing flares of excess gas.

A total of 22 new structures would be built on the expanded site, with the tallest building rising up to 65 feet and the tallest new structure a 75-foot-tall exhaust stack.

Endorsed by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission back in 2012, an endorsement of the project’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR), which has just been released, is required for the project to proceed. A public hearing for the Draft EIR has been slated for June 1.

Assuming the project is approved as proposed, site prep could commence as early as July and the new facilities could be online by mid-2022.

And in 2024, once the 10 outdated digester tanks along Phelps are decommissioned, plant odors could be limited to within the plant’s fenceline, assuming everything performs as designed and intended.

A plan for demolishing the existing digesters and re-purposing the land has yet to be proposed nor authorized.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by jose

    Where is Bjarke Ingels when we need him: An incinerator with a view: Copenhagen waste plant gets ski slope and picnic area

  2. Posted by casaquesada

    As part of this project the SFPUC will be providing community benefits. The largest is a new community center facility at Third and Evans. The existing community facility at 1800 Oakdale will be renovated and used for SFPUC offices. This “swap” was voted for by the community. The SFPUC is also looking at ways to replace the existing greenhouses along Phelps, and expects the 7 billion dollar project to provide local jobs.

  3. Posted by steve

    They should wrap it with a facade of mirrored glass windows with a great logo and a cool-sounding name. Angel investors driving by on 280 could see it and invest millions for future facility upgrades without realizing it. The return on their investments could be the same as they got from the last several start-ups that went belly-up.

  4. Posted by E. Gonsalves

    Isn’t this less than 2 miles from the Warriors new arena site?

    • Posted by Jake

      yup, about the same distance as from Frank Ogawa Plaza to the big EBMUD facility in west Oakland. Prevailing winds are more favorable in Mission Bay though.

    • Posted by callerinse

      Also less than 2 miles from Dolores Park. Or how the EBMUD treatment plant off of I-80 is less than 2 miles from Lake Merritt. Your point?

      • Posted by Spencer

        Dolores park needs a waste treatment plant of its own

    • Posted by Notcom

      I think he was trying to point out what a shame it is that such prime SF real estate – now’s there’s a redundancy!! – has to be given over to such lowly purposes. Maybe the next Transbay tubes can be a pair of sewer pipes; that way all of the waste processing can be centralized in Oakland…a win-win, I’m sure many here would argue.

      • Posted by cfb

        Sewage treatment is a necessary utility, and that plant is located in one of SF’s industrial areas, exactly where it should be. I’m not sure why SF would demolish its main sewage treatment plant, even if it is on prime real estate (lol everything in SF is prime real estate), and I’m not sure why you think Oakland is fit for “lowly purposes” but SF isn’t. I’m also not sure why you think Oakland would agree to take SF’s sewage.

      • Posted by E. Gonsalves

        No thank you. SF sewage should remain in San Francisco.

      • Posted by E. Gonsalves

        Prime SF real estate? New construction in West Oakland along with restored victorians fetch more money than real estate in this part of San Francisco. The Warriors are actually closer to pollution in this area and poverty and crime not being much better. The W’s just traded a much more central location with better transportation access for a “San Francisco” location. Hopefully the odor won’t affect the Warrior fan SF experience. I know some here believe that SF’s Sh*t doesn’t stink, but it really does.

        • Posted by beachplease

          Except West Oakland is polluted by all the port activities – “activities in and around the port generate diesel emissions in West Oakland that are 90 times higher than the state average, resulting in frequent and severe respiratory and cardiovascular problems, strokes and a life expectancy nine years shorter than that in the rest of the city.”

          • Posted by E. Gonsalves

            Same thing with this Hunters Point location including all the pollutants in the former ship yards.

          • Posted by SocketSite

            And now back to the actual topic at hand, the wastewater treatment facility project and impacts…

          • Posted by beachplease

            Except that the SF Shipyards have been out of commission for decades, whereas the Oakland Port will continue polluting for decades to come.

          • Posted by Sabbie

            SF Biz Journal is reporting “At least six prospective buyers have cancelled contracts to buy homes at San Francisco’s Shipyard project over health concerns stemming from faked soil tests.”

  5. Posted by scott f

    Shame they couldn’t use land closer to the freeway and farther from 3rd St (and thus less suitable for housing). The northeast corner of that site, at Phelps and Evans, really is a prime location. It’s right next to 3rd and Evans, not only a T stop but where people will likely transfer to the BRT route to Hunters Point.

    That said, it’s nice to have the mystery solved as to why I’m greeted with such an unpleasant sulfur smell biking down Evans and to know the smell will be reduced.

    • Posted by sg

      The funk in that area is probably caused by the fat rendering plant nearby. “Darling International” I think its called

  6. Posted by Pero

    As more and more condos are coming to the Bayview, improving this neighborhood’s connections to other parts of the city should be improved. In particular, the corridors to the Mission (Evans and C. Chavez) and Bernal (Oakdale) are pretty inaccessible to pedestrians. IMO, the triangle Evans-Chavez-3rd Street should be converted to residential zoning. This would connect the Bayview to the Dogpatch and bring it closer to Potrero and the Mission.

    • Posted by scott f

      It’ll be tricky to ever make it feel connected to the Mission or Bernal since the 101 is such a barrier, but I agree the “PDR” stretch of 3rd Street, from 23rd to Jerrold, would make more sense zoned neighborhood commercial to connect Bayview and Dogpatch.

      • Posted by Pero

        I think there was a deal in the 1990s that will make it hard to convert any more PDR zoned parcels to residential in this part of town. In order to rezone Mission Bay from PDR to mixed used / residential, the city agreed to protect the PDR parcels in South Dogpatch and the Bayview.

        It’s all described in the Eastern Neighborhoods plan. I could imagine two more decades passing before they do something about it.

  7. Posted by John

    We make a lot of sh*t. We’ve got to deal with it somehow. Can’t send it all to South San Francisco…

  8. Posted by John

    …I mean, where are the YIMBYs now?

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