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Published on February 26, 2024
Mayor London Breed Announces Completion of $29M Stormwater Project in San FranciscoSource: Google Street View

San Francisco's Mayor London Breed celebrated the completion of a key project aimed at bolstering the city's defenses against stormwater flooding, a statement on Monday revealed. In a long-awaited upgrade to the city's infrastructure, the Wawona Area Stormwater Improvement and Vicente Street Water Main Replacement Project will help to shield businesses and homes in low-lying areas from the upheaval of storm-related flooding.

As reported by sf.gov, the project includes a new large-diameter sewer system, upgrades to drinking water pipelines, and an enhancement of the Emergency Firefighting Water System. The initiative has a price tag of $29 million and spans 25 city blocks, where it has already proven effective — no flooding occurred in these areas during the historic storms of January 2023. According to Mayor Breed, "This project to support resilience on the west side of San Francisco represents just one part of the work we are doing to make the necessary investments in our neighborhoods to protect them from flooding and other storm impacts."

Dennis Herrera, the SFPUC General Manager, emphasized the project's multifaceted approach: "We upgraded three different systems at once. We made a better sewer system, better drinking water system, and better emergency firefighting system – all at the same time." There was praise for the innovative engineering and cooperation between agencies that made the project a success. Indeed, the new infrastructure includes 54-inch, 48-inch, and 36-inch diameter sewer pipes that replaced the previous system over a 25-block area. Upgrades were made to 22 blocks of drinking water pipelines and six blocks of essential firefighting infrastructure.

The Wawona project is only the first of three neighborhood-centric infrastructure improvements in San Francisco. It marks the city's commitment to combating flooding risks, with a $634 million capital investment waiting in the wings for two additional neighborhoods, as detailed on sf.gov. Celebrating the technical achievements and the social impact, the project exceeded the city's local hire requirements. San Francisco residents clocked in 88.6% of total working hours on the project, with apprentices fulfilling nearly 100% of their allocated hours, thereby exceeding the expectations set by city mandates for local employment.

Plans for a greener infrastructure are also on the horizon, with San Francisco advocating for property owners to participate in the fight against heavier rains and severe weather conditions. Among the efforts is the Green Infrastructure Grant Program, which has granted $20 million to various properties, including schools and parks, aiming to divert millions of gallons from the stormwater system each year. As the threat of more extreme weather looms over San Francisco, these infrastructure improvements, alongside community partnerships, represent a proactive stride toward a more resilient future for all San Franciscans.