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Another thing to remember with San Francisco is the loss of watershed. You already have a situation where there is limited planted areas to allow rainwater to percolate into the aquifer. Now they take all of their rainwater and process it with sewage. The rainwater is then discharge it into the ocean (salt water) without any consideration for it to percolate into the aquifer. California is an arid State which gets a lot of their water by draining rural areas dry or from other States. So while San Francisco is relying on other areas to supply their water and on mandatory water rationing they are losing most of the benefit of their rainwater. That does not seem very "Green" to me.
Thank's Mark,You make some very valid points! Why haven't We heard this before ?
I feel dumb, not to have given this thought.
I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .
Here's a link for underground storage. I found it pretty interesting how they do it.
We had a vote on how to deal with the water brought in from the Colorado River. Some people wanted a recreational lake reservoir. The recharge seemed the most logical way to keep it. Surface water doesn't last too long in 110 degrees and 10% humidity.
The decision to make San Francisco's sewer infrastructure a dual system handling both sewage and storm water was made long before treatment plants were built. The untreated effluent was originally just piped into the bay. From their perspective, those in power back then saw no benefit in the redundancy of separate systems for storm and sewer. And to modify the whole system when the plants were built was considered prohibitively expensive. As for watershed replenishment, I doubt if they even considered it. San Francisco's environmental awareness is a relatively new phenomenon. Ironically, the modern 1993 sewer plant and it's deep ocean outfall was not a product of good intentions. It was mandated by the EPA, cost the city a fortune and did not totally cure SF's sewer problems (witness the continued use of the bay side plant and discharge).
To be factual, San Francisco and the other cities supplied by the Hetch Hetchy system are not as yet on mandatory water rationing. And, unlike some of the other water districts in Northern CA, I doubt they will be this dry season.
As a child living within smelling distance of the shallow southern end of San Francisco Bay in the '50's, I remember being able to tell when the tide was out just by the aural bouquet. I actual liked the smell (destined to be a plumber, I guess).
The East River, the Chicago River and many other waterways in close proximity to urban areas were equally polluted at that time.
In GrandRapids they have been seperating the sewer from storm through the years. During a big rain storm the waste treatment plant dumps tons of raw sewage into the Grand River and into Lake Michigan. Seems like seperating the systems has been helping.