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Commitment to Safety Highlighted in SFPUC’s 2020 Water Quality Report

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Latest annual report details that more than 95,000 water tests were conducted throughout the system, in addition to rigorous daily monitoring practices

San Francisco, CA – Despite the global pandemic, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) conducted more than 95,000 water tests throughout its system in 2020 to ensure healthy and safe drinking water for its 2.7 million customers. These tests were conducted in addition to the rigorous treatment processes carried out daily by the SFPUC’s certified operators and online tools and instruments.

The SFPUC’s commitment to providing drinking water that meets or exceeds all water quality standards is highlighted in the agency’s annual Water Quality Report, which was released this week. The SFPUC produces this annual report to provide information on where the agency’s water comes from, how it is treated, and its overall chemical composition.

“We are incredibly proud of the product that we deliver to our customers and that pride comes from our painstaking commitment to water quality standards and testing,” said SFPUC Acting General Manager Michael Carlin. “Our latest Water Quality Report reflects those ideals and shows how we work every day to ensure that our customers can enjoy the best possible drinking water.” 

The SFPUC provides drinking water to 2.7 million customers in four Bay Area counties comes from a variety of protected and carefully managed sources. Those sources include:

  • Surface water from creeks and rivers stored in reservoirs located in the Sierra Nevada, Alameda County and San Mateo County.
  • Groundwater supplies stored in a deep aquifer located in San Francisco and San Mateo counties.

Although the majority of the water comes from Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in the Sierra Nevada, an important part of that supply comes from rainfall collected in East Bay and Peninsula reservoirs and filtering into the groundwater aquifer. The SFPUC serves an ever-changing blend of these different sources to its customers.

By relying on multiple sources of water supply, the SFPUC helps protect customers from potential disruptions in water supply from emergencies or natural disasters.  A diverse mix of water sources also helps the agency be more resilient to long-term water vulnerabilities, such as global climate change, regulatory changes and population growth.

To meet drinking water standards for consumption, water from all of the SFPUC’s surface water sources undergoes treatment before it is delivered to our customers.

Water from Hetch Hetchy Reservoir is exempt from state and federal filtration requirements but receives ultraviolet light and chlorine disinfection, pH adjustment for optimum corrosion control, fluoridation for dental health protection, and chloramination for maintaining disinfectant residual.

The SFPUC routinely carries out lead and copper sampling studies, to ensure that the systems delivering its water are safe. The SFPUC has assisted nearly 200 public and private schools for lead monitoring in tap water and the agency is currently working with San Francisco Unified School District to develop a voluntary, 5-year recurring monitoring program to provide continued support to local schools in addressing lead in their tap water.

Additionally, as part of its water quality efforts, the agency conducts studies for man-made chemicals known as Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and found that none of those materials were detected in SFPUC water sources.

For more information about the SFPUC’s commitment to safe practices, visit www.sfpuc.org/waterquality.

About the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is a department of the City and County of San Francisco. It delivers drinking water to 2.7 million people in the San Francisco Bay Area, collects and treats wastewater for the City and County of San Francisco, and generates and delivers clean power for municipal buildings, residential customers, and businesses. Our mission is to provide our customers with high quality, efficient and reliable water, power, and sewer services in a manner that values environmental and community interests and sustains the resources entrusted to our care. Learn more at www.sfpuc.org.