Water Distribution System

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The City Council unanimously adopted a Water Shortage Contingency Plan, in association with Ordinance 589, on September 2, 2014.

The City of Brisbane receives 100% of its water from San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) through five turnouts along the Crystal Springs pipeline. Under normal conditions, our water comes directly from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park. Occasionally the water may be supplemented or come directly from the East Bay or Peninsula reservoirs.

The City of Brisbane operates two separate water districts providing water to the local residents and businesses. The Brisbane Water District serves Central Brisbane, Sierra Point and the Baylands. The Guadalupe Valley Municipal Improvement District (GVMID) serves Crocker Park and the North East Ridge residential development. The water districts are interconnected and are operated together to maximize circulation and flow within the system.  The interconnection allows the City to move water freely across the districts to supplement higher than normal demands.

The Brisbane Water District consists of three turnouts, two booster pump stations and three storage tanks to supply water across three pressure zones. The GVMID Water District also consists of three turnouts, two booster pump stations and two storage tanks to supply water across three pressure zones. Nine pressure reducing stations are located throughout the two districts to allow water to move across different pressure zones. In addition, two interconnections with neighboring water districts give Brisbane the capability to utilize water in emergencies (if available). One interconnection is located in Sierra Point and is tied into the Cal Water South San Francisco water distribution system; an additional interconnection is located in Main Street and is tied into the Daly City water distribution system.

Water Quality

The City of Brisbane conducts a comprehensive water quality assurance program. Presently, over ten samples a month are collected throughout the two districts and monitored for Free and Total Chlorine and Free Ammonia and Total Coliform bacteria. The water storage tanks are routinely monitored for Free and Total Chlorine and Free Ammonia. The City collects samples for Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) and Total Haloacetic Acids (HAAs) on a quarterly basis in accordance with the California Department of Health Services (DHS) Disinfectants/Disinfection Byproducts Rule. Lead and copper are sampled in accordance with the California DHS Lead and Copper Requirements for Drinking Water. San Francisco PUC collects samples of the source water in accordance with the California DHS Source Water Quality Monitoring Requirements.

All the current water monitoring data is available in the Annual Water Quality Report distributed to the residents and businesses in Brisbane in July. Additional copies of the current Annual Water Quality Report are available at City Hall.

2013 Water Quality Report

Water Security

The City of Brisbane takes security of our water system seriously. We have added additional security measures at each of our existing facilities and are continuing to maintain the highest level of safety. A detailed inspection of each facility is conducted daily and any sign of unauthorized access is immediately reported and appropriate action is taken to ensure the distribution system remains secure.

Chloramine - A New Drinking Water Disinfectant

On February 2, 2004, the San Francisco Public Utilities (SFPUC) switched from chlorine to chloramine disinfection for our drinking water. Chloramine is a combination of chlorine and ammonia that is considered a better disinfectant than chlorine alone because it lasts longer in water to more effectively remove pathogens such as bacteria and viruses and produces lower levels of byproducts such as trihalomethanes (THMs). Chloraminated water is safe for general uses, however, as with chlorine, precautions must be taken to remove or neutralize chloramine for sensitive users. Sensitive users include three groups: (1) fish, amphibian, and reptile owners; (2) dialysis facilities and home dialysis patients; and (3) businesses requiring highly processed water. Please contact the Department of Public Works in Brisbane at 415-508-2130 for more information, or you can find further information on the SFPUC chloramine conversion website at sfwater.org.

Water Flushing

Routine flushing of our water distribution pipelines removes sediment from the water mains and helps deliver cleaner and clearer water to your home. The sediment, primarily sand, that settles out in the system water mains is typical for water distribution systems and does not present a health concern. It can become an aesthetic concern when turbid water reaches your faucets after the material in the main line has been agitated, normally from the operation of a fire hydrant.

The City annually performs the unidirectional flushing of the water mains. Unidirectional flushing cleans piping more efficiently than conventional flushing methods because it uses higher water velocity with less water. We achieve this by isolating flush runs, which increases water velocity. In addition, main-line valves are closed preventing re-fouling of the cleaned lines using a series of carefully planned sequential flushes.

Addresses along the streets affected by the weekly flushing activities will receive hand delivered notices (left at your door) notifying you that we are going to be working on your street. The flushing operation, lasting two to four hours, may result in reduced water pressure or discolored water. When the flushing operation is complete, the normal pressure and clear water should return.

In the following years, with the switch from chlorine to chloramine disinfectant, flushing will become increasingly important and the frequency of flushing will increase. The unidirectional flushing program will continue annually with an increase in flushing at the ends of the water mains.

Water Safety

The City of Brisbane drinking water supply is not affected by the recent news of trace pharmaceutical residues found in various water supplies.

The City of Brisbane receives 100 percent of its drinking water from high quality source waters in the protected watersheds of Hetch Hetchy system. The concern about pharmaceutical compounds reaching the Hetch Hetchy water supply is far lower than many other U.S. or California cities that have less protected or pristine source waters, and that may receive discharge from treated wastewater and stormwater runoff containing these compounds.

Please click on the following link to read the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission press release on this news item.

You may always contact the Public Works Department at 415-508-2130 if you have any water quality questions. We will continue to update the public on any new developments on this important issue.

Hetch Hetchy photo taken by Plutino and used under creative commons license