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SFPUC Ready for Rainy Season

SFPUC Crews Prepare SF for Rain

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 3, 2022

SFPUC Ready for Rainy Season

Agency’s Floodwater Grant program is reimbursing eligible San Francisco property owners up to $100,000 for stormwater resiliency improvements

SAN FRANCISCO — With the start of the rainy season, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is reminding residents and businesses of the many resources the agency offers to plan and prepare for the much awaited wet-weather. The SFPUC’s Floodwater Grant program is a critical resource that allows property owners to implement projects on their properties to minimize risk of damage due to heavy rains.

“With both droughts and intense storms becoming more frequent, we need to adapt to our changing environment,” said SFPUC General Manager Dennis Herrera. “None of us can do it alone. With your partnership, we can work towards a more resilient San Francisco in the face of these intensifying storms. I strongly encourage our residents and businesses to take advantage of our resources to prepare for the rainy season.”

The SFPUC urges property owners who have previously incurred damage on their properties due to heavy rains to take advantage of the Floodwater Grant program, which reimburses eligible residential and commercial property owners up to $100,000 for implementing flood resiliency projects on their properties. Projects supported under the grant program include installing backwater valves, flood barriers on doorsteps or driveways, water-resistant seals, sump pumps, or other property-specific improvements to reduce the risk of damage from flooding. Backwater valves are highly-effective, low-maintenance property improvements to help prevent or minimize sewage backups inside properties during rain events. 

While the grants fund eligible property improvements, SFPUC manages the combined sewer and stormwater collection system.  Crews clean, inspect, repair and replace storm drains and sewer mains throughout the year. These efforts are coupled with short- and long-term capital improvement projects and flood resilience resources to prepare for the rains.

When large storms hit heavily paved San Francisco, all of that water has few places to go, causing runoff that can overwhelm our combined sewer and stormwater system. The SFPUC’s efforts work towards a goal of diverting 1 billion gallons of stormwater annually by 2050 using green infrastructure, like rain gardens, permeable pavement, rainwater harvesting systems and green roofs. This effort will transform the storm by directing the runoff from the City's impervious surfaces, like rooftops, landscapes, school grounds, and traffic medians, to porous surfaces or storage devices through green infrastructure projects, the SFPUC’s innovative Stormwater Management Ordinance, and grants for the public to do the same. Just this October, the Stormwater Management Ordinance, a groundbreaking initiative to more efficiently capture and store the City’s rainwater through green infrastructure projects, has reached a milestone in the twelfth year of its existence with its 400th project. These 400 projects will manage some 232 million gallons of stormwater – enough to fill more than 350 Olympic-size swimming pools – and will collectively remove 85 million gallons of stormwater runoff from the combined sewer system annually. Developed in accordance with the federal Clean Water Act and enacted into law by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom on May 22, 2010, the Stormwater Management Ordinance requires that all new developments capture stormwater onsite using green infrastructure designs.

The SFPUC is also investing in capital collection system capacity projects in three key low-lying neighborhoods to help reduce the risk of flooding.

  • 15th and Wawona neighborhood: The project started in fall 2021, with estimated completion in late 2023/early 2024. 
  • 17th and Folsom neighborhood: The project is expected to begin construction in mid-2023, with completion estimated by 2027.
  • Lower Alemany: The project is in the planning phase.

The SFPUC conducts outreach to San Francisco residents and businesses to encourage them to take advantage of resources such as the Floodwater Grant, flood insurance, and more, to prepare for the rains.

The agency reminds everyone to contact 311 at www.sf311.org, or by calling 3-1-1 to report issues such as localized flooding, sewage backup, or clogged storm drains.