Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) for San Francisco

Nationwide, utilities are grappling with aging infrastructure, and San Francisco is no exception. More than 30% of the city’s sewer system is over 100 years old and city’s coastal location makes it particularly vulnerable to climate change. To combat this issue head on, San Francisco is embarking on a multi-billion-dollar citywide project to upgrade its sewer system—the Sewer System Improvement Program (SSIP). From the initial planning stages, straight through implementation, Woodard & Curran continues to develop, adjust and deliver sustainable stormwater solutions for the city. From city-wide analyses and tools to targeted neighborhood projects, Woodard & Curran continually uses its planning and engineering expertise to help guide the city along its ambitious plan.


The SSIP is the result of an eight-year community planning process called the Urban Watershed Assessment (UWA). During this process, Woodard & Curran assisted SFPUC with its “Urban Watershed Framework,” a guidance document describing new procedures for planning and implementing projects and programs to meet the City’s wastewater, stormwater, water supply and energy objectives in a manner that optimizes triple bottom line benefits.

Islais Creek Basin Urban Watershed Analysis
The Urban Watershed Framework effort followed on from Woodard & Curran’s previous work for SPFUC to identify opportunities to implement green infrastructure and other LID techniques within the Islais Creek Basin, one of the eastern (Bay-side) watersheds of San Francisco. Woodard & Curran analyzed the characteristics of the Basin, identified potential opportunities for coordination with other City programs, and developed conceptual designs at potential LID sites.

Cesar Chavez Street Conceptual LID
As a part of the UWA, Woodard & Curran conducted another conceptual design to evaluate performance, best practices and design standards for future green infrastructure projects, this time for the retrofit of LID techniques into the sub-watershed area surrounding San Fran-cisco’s Cesar Chavez Street. The firm analyzed the watershed characteristics and developed a conceptual design for the number, type, location, and size of LID features that could reasonably be implemented within the project area. In addition to the Conceptual LID design for this project, the firm also provided environmental documentation support for the project and helped to secure a $24 million state Prop 1E grant.


As a part of the SSIP, Woodard & Curran led a team in the development of a set of standard plans and specifications for green stormwater management infrastructure in San Francisco. These infrastructure facilities include permeable paving, bioretention planters, rain gardens, biofiltration swales, and others. Woodard & Curran also provided technical assistance in the analysis and optimization of the use of non-potable water through rainwater capture and water recycling. Woodard & Curran also provided technical support for the development of a framework document, San Francisco Green Infrastructure Typical Details and Specifications, that provides guidance on how to use these typical plans and specifications.

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC)

San Francisco, California


Areas of Focus

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