San Francisco developers are being encouraged to start putting shower water or rainwater to better use in their new large developments.
Calling on developers to reach new heights in green building, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu has introduced legislation that will create new and clear regulations for developers opting to incorporate advanced water-recycling systems.
“I think it’s important for developers to continue to pursue the highest level of green building and sustainable practices in the country to save the environment and money, and to set up a model for green living and working in our city,” Chiu said.
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s new building at 525 Golden Gate Ave. is one example of this kind of water reuse. All the water for the building’s toilets and irrigation will come from recycled water. The system is expected to recycle 5,000 gallons of wastewater daily and store 25,000 gallons of rainwater, saving nearly 800,000 gallons of drinking water annually.
Supporters hope the days of using pristine drinking water for toilet bowls or landscape watering are quickly coming to an end.
“We really believe that we should be moving away from using our wonderful Hetch Hetchy water for these types of uses,” said Laura Tam, a policy director for the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association. “We could be doing a lot more with on-site treatment.”
The legislation was approved Monday by the board’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee and will be voted on by the full board Sept. 4 when it returns from summer recess.
The legislation establishes permitting and application fees and lays out an application and approval process, which includes oversight by the Public Health Department, Department of Building Inspection and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.