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SFPUC Celebrates Completion of the Force Main Rehabilitation at Embarcadero and Jackson Improvements

Slip lining a 28-inch diameter pipe underneath the Embarcadero to connect newly constructed structures
  • Vince Mazzaferro

Congratulations to the Force Main Rehabilitation at Embarcadero and Jackson Improvements Project team for completing their project in early 2022! Upgrades to the North Shore Force Main marks the final step in providing redundant, reliable sewer services to more than 350,000 residents and businesses in the northeastern part of San Francisco. 

Upgrades in 2014 during the North Shore to Channel Force Main Sewer Improvement Project
Upgrades in 2014 during the North Shore to Channel Force Main Sewer Improvement Project

The Final Step of Many
The North Shore Force Main is a pressurized sewer pipeline that transports wastewater (sanitary sewage and stormwater) in northern San Francisco to the Southeast Treatment Plant in the Bayview. This critical part of the city’s sewer infrastructure was nearing the end of its useful life and had already required multiple emergency repairs in 2008 and 2012.

The pipeline is almost always in service to meet regulatory requirements, making full repairs and upgrades not possible without a redundant pipe in place. A new redundant pipeline (or force main) was constructed in 2015, which allowed crews to assess, plan and do repairs and upgrades. 
 
“This project is one of multiple citywide efforts to upgrade our vital wastewater infrastructure that will ensure our system continues daily function and in the event of an emergency,” said General Manager Dennis Herrera. “We can now ensure the main has complete redundancy to protect against disruption of service and sewage overflows to the Bay, offering protection to both public health and the environment, while employing San Francisco residents during a time of employment uncertainty during the COVD-19 pandemic.”

Crews welding sheet piles adjacent to traffic lanes along the Embarcadero
Crews welding sheet piles adjacent to traffic lanes along the Embarcadero

The Challenges of Work During COVID and in the Public Right of Way
The construction phase occurred during the extremely challenging onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The SFPUC Health and Safety team partnered with the project team to ensure crew members kept up with the constantly changing local, state, and federal COVID-19 guidelines to stay as safe as possible.

Much of the project was in the travel lanes of the Embarcadero between Washington Street and Broadway, impacting a highly traveled commuter route and tourist attraction area. The SFPUC collaborated and worked closely with other City departments and the community to implement partial vehicular traffic lane closures, and pedestrian and bicycle detours for safety and access during construction.

Completing concrete pour for walls of underground valve-vault
Completing concrete pour for walls of underground valve-vault

Investments in Our Infrastructure and Community
Improvements to wastewater infrastructure in the area included construction of new sewer junction structures along the Embarcadero, rehabilitation of approximately 190 linear feet of the North Shore Force Main via slip lining a 28-inch diameter pipe underneath the Embarcadero to newly constructed structures, and rehabilitation of an additional 50 linear feet of sewer underneath the Jackson Street combined sewer discharge structure. Construction of a new valve and controls vault will enable wastewater management staff to improved ability to direct combine sewage flows.

The SFPUC’s Capital Improvement programs provide economic opportunities through their project labor agreements (PLAs), formal agreements with local labor unions that ensure that local workers and residents impacted by these capital projects have access to construction training and job opportunities. With over 16,700 work hours on this project completed, the SFPUC is proud to share that 43.75% of those worker hours were performed by local San Francisco residents. This exceeds the mandatory local participation level of 30% as set forth in local hire policies. 

Installing 36-inch dismantling joint, the final tie-in within the Jackson Street box sewer
Installing 36-inch dismantling joint, the final tie-in within the Jackson Street box sewer

Citywide the SFPUC is upgrading your vital wastewater infrastructure via the Sewer System Improvement Program, a multi-billion-dollar citywide investment to ensure San Francisco’s sewer system continues to reliably serve customers while protecting the health and safety of the surrounding community. These upgrades include a mix of green and grey infrastructure. Green infrastructure includes projects that take advantage of the natural processes of soils and plants to slow down and filter stormwater to keep it from overwhelming our sewer system. Grey infrastructure projects, like the Force Main Rehabilitation at Embarcadero and Jackson Improvements Project, are replacing or upgrading the sewer pipes, pump stations, and treatment plants that work 24/7 to provide reliable sewer service.

We’d like to thank the various individuals and teams that worked together to make these vital upgrades happen: the SFPUC project team, Anvil Builders Inc., SFMTA, SF Port, District Supervisor Aaron Peskin, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, and the various residents and businesses in the vicinity of our project sites.
 

Vince Mazzaferro