Harding Park links in line to begin using recycled water

Gil Riego Jr./Special to the S.F. ExaminerSecondhand water: Color-coded pipes and a new 700

The greens at TPC Harding Park are about to become a little more environmentally friendly.

On Friday, the state gave final approval for a project to use recycled water at the course, the latest in a string of golf links in The City that will forgo using potable water on lawns.

The North San Mateo County Sanitation District in 2003 built a new facility to produce recycled water. Since then, the water has been used to irrigate the Olympic, San Francisco and Lake Merced golf club sites in San Francisco and Daly City, according to San Francisco Public Utilities Commission documents. The plant can produce 2.8 million gallons of recycled water each day, but current customers use less than 1 million gallons of that, leaving more available for other sites.

Now that the state agency in charge of signing off on the project, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, has approved the Harding Park work, the switch to recycled water can begin. The 175-acre course is currently irrigated with water from the Hetch Hetchy system — the same water that is delivered to households and businesses for consumption by people.

As part of the project, the SFPUC built an underground storage tank at Harding Park that can hold 700,000 gallons of recycled water, a new pump station at Lake Merced and thousands of feet of pipeline along Lake Merced Boulevard, documents show.

SFPUC spokesman Tyrone Jue said the recycled water project at Harding Park shows the necessity of thinking about water beyond the borders of The City. The water might come from Daly City, but Jue pointed out that the regional water table extends from here to Monterey.

“This is a case in point that it is a regional water system,” he said of using water recycled in Daly City.

The SFPUC also is in the planning stages of other recycled water projects, including a wastewater recycling facility near Ocean Beach at the Oceanside Wastewater Treatment Plant and another on the east side of The City at a location that has yet to be determined.

“It is the first in a long line of recycled water projects in The City,” Jue said of the Harding Park project.

According to an SFPUC document about the Harding Park project, “California has been safely using treated recycled water since 1929. There has not been one confirmed case of anyone becoming ill from the proper use of recycled water for landscape irrigation, commercial, municipal or industrial uses.”

mbillings@sfexaminer.com

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