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Major earthquake retrofit work completed at Lake Merced – CBS San Francisco pumping station

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SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – It all began with a 2002 state law requiring earthquake-resistant water delivery. After nearly $ 5 billion, San Francisco has modified the system from Hetch Hetchy to the city, now bypassing the finish line on the shore of Merced Lake.

“We are taking water from a height here of about 30 feet, and boosting it to a height of 385 feet for the Sunset Tank and 495.5 feet for the Twin Peaks tank,” said Brahman Kunsi, Operations Supervisor at Lake Merced.

Seventy million gallons a day can move through these pumps. Now, the station that houses them looks like a bunker, complete with a high-pressure epoxy injection base.

Lake Merced pumping station in San Francisco following an earthquake retrofit project. (CBS)

“So this facility has been rebuilt,” Kunsi said. It was seismically hardened.

“Hence, the facilities themselves are generally designed to withstand a 7.0 magnitude earthquake,” Kunsi said.

And for everything, there’s a surplus, from the pumps to power, with two 2-megawatt generators used to power the pumps when we run out of utility power. The facility can also manage all of the city’s water systems including high-pressure tanks used during major fires like the one in Van Ness in July.

“We used our Jones Street reservoir, went up to Ashbury Street reservoir, and now we are pouring water all the way from Twin Peaks, all the way down here,” said VP of Operations at the Social Fund for Development, Victor Wersch, of the same day. City emergency.

If needed, the pumping station itself could become redundant for firefighters, with the ability to draw 2.2 billion gallons of water into Lake Merced.

“We will start one of these pumps and allow us to pump the lake water into the sunset reservoir or the Sutro reservoir to put out the fires,” Kunsi said of the emergency scenario. “If we do that, this is a non-potable source and you have now put it in a potable source, so it will change drinkability. We will have to order boiling water.”

Consi described it as the “nuclear option”.

As for the tanks, they have also been rebuilt over the past 20 years. The city says its water system is now ready for whatever comes next.

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