Skip to code content (skip section selection)
Purpose and Findings.
Development Project Requirements.
Regulation of Alternate Water Sources.
Project Applicant and/or Permittee Design and Construction Requirements.
Non-potable Water Use Audits.
Sale or Transfer.
Inspection and Notices of Violation.
Violation and Penalties.
Revocation and Suspension of Permit.
The sections of this Article are numbered out of sequence with the other articles of this Code.
The sections of this Article are numbered out of sequence with the other articles of this Code.
The Board of Supervisors finds that:
(a) All California water users are responsible for making effective use of the available water resources.
(b) The development of alternate water source systems will assist in meeting future water requirements of the City and lessen the impacts of new developments on the City's sewer system.
(c) Establishing a regulatory structure that provides administrative efficiency and a streamlined project approval process will assist developers who opt to design, install, operate, and maintain alternate water source systems.
(d) Adoption of Article 12C by the Board of Supervisors and adoption of rules and regulations by the Department of Public Health will help achieve the City's goals for water supply use and preservation by:
(1) Promoting the values and benefits of non-potable water use while recognizing the need to invest water and other resources as efficiently as possible;
(2) Encouraging the use of non-potable water for non-potable applications; and
(3) Replacing potable water use for toilet and urinal flushing and irrigation to the maximum extent possible with alternative water sources.
(e) It shall be City policy that within five years of the effective date of Ordinance No. 109-15,1 adding this subsection (e) to Article 12C, the City shall use only non-potable water for the purpose of irrigating and cleaning parks, streets and other public spaces. Within two years of the effective date of that ordinance, the City Administrator, in consultation as appropriate with other City departments, boards, and commissions, including, among others, the Recreation and Park Department, Department of Public Works, Port of San Francisco, San Francisco International Airport, Department of Real Estate, and Capital Planning Committee, shall study what will be required to accomplish this policy, including associated costs, and report the results of the study to the Mayor and Board of Supervisors. Upon receiving this study, the Board of Supervisors intends to evaluate any changes to the law and Capital Plan needed to implement this policy.
The terms used in this Article 12C have the meaning set forth below:
Alternate Water Source: a source of non-potable water that includes Graywater, on-site treated non-potable water, Rainwater, Blackwater, and any other source approved by the Director.
Alternate Water Source System: The system of facilities necessary for providing Non-potable Water for use in a Development Project, including but not limited to all collection, treatment, storage, and distribution facilities. Non-potable Water System shall have the same meaning.
Blackwater: wastewater containing bodily or other biological wastes, as from toilets, dishwashers, kitchen sinks, and utility sinks.
City: the City and County of San Francisco.
Development Project: Construction of new buildings. Development Projects are Large Development Projects and Small Development Projects. Development Project does not include rehabilitation of buildings constructed prior to the effective date of this Article 12C. Development Project does not include (1) any housing project funded or constructed pursuant to the HOPE SF Program sponsored and developed by the San Francisco Housing Authority and either the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development or the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure; (2) construction of a new building that will receive water service from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission through no larger than a 5/8" domestic water meter or a 5/8" recycled water domestic meter, as determined in accordance with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s rules for water service; 3) for District projects located within the boundaries of the Reclaimed Water Use Map, construction of new buildings subject to a disposition and development agreement or similar contractual agreement approved before November 1, 2015, that includes in its applicable infrastructure plan the construction and operations of water treatment facilities within the project boundaries that would provide recycled water to the project; 4) for District projects located within the boundaries of the Reclaimed Water Use Map, construction of new buildings subject to a development agreement or similar contractual agreement, within a development phase or subphase, a street improvement plan, or a tentative map or vesting tentative map approved before November 1, 2015; or 5) for District projects located outside the boundaries of the Reclaimed Water Use Map, construction of new buildings subject to a development agreement or similar contractual agreement, within a development phase or subphase, a street improvement plan, or a tentative map or vesting tentative map approved before November 1, 2017.
Director: the Director of Health or any individual designated by the Director to act on his or her behalf.
District: a group of two or more parcels that share Alternate Water Sources.
District System: An Alternate Water Source System serving a District Development Project.
Foundation Drainage: nuisance groundwater that is extracted to maintain a building's or facility's structural integrity and would otherwise be discharged to the City's sewer system. Foundation Drainage does not include non-potable groundwater extracted for a beneficial use that is subject to City groundwater well regulations.
General Manager: the General Manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, or any individual designated by the General Manager to act on his or her behalf.
Graywater: untreated wastewater that has not been contaminated by any toilet discharge, has not been affected by infectious, contaminated, or unhealthy bodily wastes, and does not present a threat from contamination by unhealthful processing, manufacturing, or operating wastes. "Graywater" includes, but is not limited to, wastewater from bathtubs, showers, bathroom sinks, lavatories, clothes washing machines, and laundry tubs, but does not include wastewater from kitchen sinks or dishwashers.
Gross Floor Area: The floor area of a Development Project as defined in Planning Code Section 102.
Large Development Project: Construction of a single building, or construction of multiple buildings on one or more parcels in accordance with a phased plan or approval, with a total gross floor area for the single building or the multiple buildings of 250,000 square feet or more:
Large Development Projects are not limited to buildings constructed by individuals or non-governmental entities but, to the extent allowed by law, also include buildings constructed and operated by any local, state, or federal government entity, including the City and County of San Francisco.
Large Development Project Applicant: The person or entity applying for authorization to construct and operate a Large Development Project.
Multi-Family Residential Building: A building that contains three or more dwelling units.
Non-potable Water: Non-potable water collected from alternate water sources, treated, and intended to be used on the Project Applicant's site or District parcels and is suitable for direct beneficial use.
Non-potable Water Engineering Report: Report submitted by Project Applicant to the Director describing the Alternate Water Source system in accordance with the rules and regulations adopted by the Department of Health.
Nonpotable Water System: The same meaning as Alternate Water Source System.
Non-residential: A building that contains occupancies other than dwelling units.
NSF 350 System: Any treatment system certified by NSF International to meet NSF/ANSI Standard 350 for Onsite Residential and Commercial Reuse Treatment Systems, as amended from time to time.
Permittee: The operator of an Alternate Water Source System under this Article 12C, including, but not limited to, a third - party contractor obtained for the purpose of operating and maintaining all or any portion of the Alternate Water Source System.
Project Applicant: the person or entity applying for authorization to install and use an Alternate Water Source project.
Rainwater: precipitation collected from roof surfaces or other manmade, aboveground collection surfaces.
Responsible Party: The Project Applicant, or any subsequent owners, assignees, successors in interest or any other transferees responsible for compliance with this Article 12C. Responsible Party includes, but is not limited to, the owner of the common areas within a District Development Project and any homeowners association or similar entity that maintains the common areas within a District Development Project. Responsible Party does not include the Project Applicant, subsequent owners, assignees, successors in interests, transferees, owners of common area, homeowners associations, or any other person or entity associated with a Development Project serviced by an Alternative District System as described in Section 12C.4(d).
Small Development Project: Construction of a single building, or construction of multiple buildings on one or more parcels in accordance with a phased plan or approval, with a total gross floor area for the single building or the multiple buildings of 40,000 square feet or more, but less than 250,000 square feet. Small Development Projects are not limited to buildings constructed by individuals or non-governmental entities but, to the extent allowed by law, also include buildings constructed and operated by any local, state, or federal government entity, including the City and County of San Francisco.
Small Development Project Applicant: The person or entity applying for authorization to construct and operate a Small Development Project.
Small Residential Building: A building that contains no more than two dwelling units.
Stormwater: Precipitation collected from at-grade or below grade surfaces.
Water Budget: The calculation of the potential volume of onsite alternate water supplies and demands of a Development Project and any other building subject to this Article 12C.
Water Budget Calculator: The water use calculation application approved by the General Manager that provides for the assessment of a proposed onsite water system, alternate water sources, and the end uses of the Alternate Water Source.
Water Budget Documentation: An in-depth assessment of the Project Applicant’s non-potable water use, including survey information, water meter readings, water service billing information, Alternate Water Source schematic drawings, or any other information deemed necessary by the General Manager. For proposed District Systems, Water Budget Documentation shall include implementation information that, at a minimum, shall address potential infrastructure and public right of way conflicts, demonstrate compliance with all applicable requirements, and establish the capabilities of the Development Project Applicant to effectively operate the District System.
(Added as Sec. 851 by Ord. 195-12, File No. 120717, App. 9/17/2012, Eff. 10/17/2012; amended by Ord. 208-13 , File No. 130765, App. 10/11/2013, Eff. 11/10/2013; redesignated and amended by Ord. 109-15 , File No. 150350, App. 7/2/2015, Eff. 8/1/2015; amended by Ord. 246-16, File No. 161069, App. 12/16/2016, Eff. 1/15/2017)
This Article 12C shall apply to the installation and operation of the Alternate Water Source systems at Large Development Projects, and to the voluntary installation and operation of the Alternate Water Source systems at sites containing multi-family and non-residential buildings. This Article does not apply to:
(a) Systems at small residential occupancies.
(b) Graywater systems where Graywater is collected solely for subsurface irrigation and does not require disinfection, as determined by the Director.
(c) Rainwater systems where Rainwater is collected solely for subsurface irrigation, drip irrigation, or non-sprinkled surface applications and does not require disinfection, as determined by the Director.
(a) Large Development Projects shall be constructed, operated, and maintained in compliance with the following:
(1) All toilet and urinal flushing and irrigation demands shall be met through the collection and reuse of available onsite Rainwater, Graywater, and Foundation Drainage, to the extent required by application of the Water Budget Documentation developed for each Development Project.
(2) A Large Development Project Applicant shall use the Water Budget Calculator, as provided by the General Manager's rules, to prepare a Water Budget assessing the amount of Rainwater, Graywater, and Foundation Drainage produced on site, and the planned toilet and urinal flushing and irrigation demands.
(3) If, based on the Water Budget Documentation, the available supply from onsite sources exceeds the demands for toilet and urinal flushing and irrigation, 100% of those demands shall be met by using the available onsite sources. If, based on the Water Budget Documentation, the available supply from onsite sources is less than the demands for toilet and urinal flushing and irrigation, 100% of the available onsite supply shall be used to meet the demands for toilet and urinal flushing and irrigation. Available Blackwater or Stormwater supplies may be used instead of, or in addition to Rainwater, Graywater, and Foundation Drainage to meet the available onsite supply requirements calculated in accordance with the Water Budget Documentation requirements of this section 12C.4(a).
(b) Small Development Project Applicants shall use the Water Budget Calculator, as provided by the General Manager's rules, to prepare a Water Budget assessing the amount of Rainwater, Graywater and Foundation Drainage produced on site, and the planned toilet and urinal flushing and irrigation demands.
(c) Additional Requirements for District Systems. All District Systems shall conform to the following requirements, subject to the General Manager’s determination, in his or her sole discretion, that an exception to any of such requirements will fulfill the purposes and objectives of this Article 12C.
(1) In addition to preparation of the Water Budget, Development Project Applicants for District Systems shall submit implementation plans to the General Manager for review and approval, in accordance with guidelines and rules established by the General Manager.
(2) District Systems shall be operated by a single Permittee having sole control of operations of all of its facilities, including but not limited to treatment and distribution facilities. District Systems shall be constructed in accordance with all applicable City utility standards and specifications.
(3) District Systems and Development Projects shall not provide Non-potable Water to water users or for purposes located outside the boundaries of the District or approved Development Project, except when the water users or other purposes are located on property contiguous to, or across a public right of way from the boundaries of the District or approved Development Project, and the total amount of Nonpotable Water produced by the Alternate Water Source System will not exceed 125% of the District System’s or approved Development Project’s Non-potable Water demands for toilet and urinal flushing and irrigation, as determined by the approved Water Budget Documentation.
(4) For District Systems, the ongoing operation and maintenance responsibilities of the Responsible Party shall be held by the owner of the common areas within the District Development Project, and may be transferred to a homeowners association or similar entity that maintains the common areas within the District Development Project.
Where a District System complies with the requirements in subsections 1 through 4 of this subsection 12C.4(c), including any exceptions approved by the General Manager, individual Development Projects with the District shall not be required to demonstrate compliance as long as the individual Development Projects are provided service by the approved District System.
(d) The General Manager may approve alternative District Systems that will achieve compliance with the purposes and objectives of this Article 12C, in accordance with guidelines and rules established by the General Manager. Alternative District Systems may include, but are not limited to, water purchase agreements.
(e) City departments shall not issue an encroachment permit, a site permit, or plumbing permit for a Large Development Project or a Small Development Project, or approve a Non-potable Water Engineering Report, prior to the General Manager's determination that the Water Budget Documentation has been prepared in accordance with the General Manager's rules for Water Budget calculations.
(f) Subdivision Approvals.
(1) Parcel Map or Tentative Subdivision Map Conditions. The Director of Public Works shall not approve a tentative subdivision map or a parcel map for any property unless a condition is imposed requiring compliance with this Article 12C to serve the potential uses of the property covered by the parcel map or tentative subdivision map, as specified in the provisions of this Article.
(2) Subdivision Regulations. The Director of Public Works shall adopt regulations consistent with, and in furtherance of this Article 12C.
(3) Final Maps. The Director of Public Works shall not endorse and file a final map for property within the boundaries of the City without first determining that:
(A) The subdivider has complied with the conditions imposed on the tentative subdivision map or parcel map, pursuant to this Article 12C; and
(B) For any such conditions not fully satisfied prior to the recordation of the final map, the subdivider has signed a certificate of agreement and/or improvement agreement, to ensure compliance with such conditions.
(4) This Subsection (f) shall not apply to tentative subdivision maps or parcel maps submitted solely for the purposes of condominium conversion, as defined in Subdivision Code Section 1308(d).
(g) In the event that a privately owned Alternate Water Supply System approved by the General Manager is subsequently determined by the California Public Utilities Commission to be subject to that agency’s jurisdiction and regulation, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission may, with the consent of the affected owner, acquire and operate the facilities.
(a) Any person or entity who installs and operates an Alternate Water Source system shall comply with this Article 12C, the rules and regulations adopted by the Department of Public Health, and all applicable local, state, and federal laws.
(b) Within 90 days after passage of this ordinance, the Director shall issue rules and regulations regarding the operation of Alternate Water Source systems necessary to effectuate the purposes of the Article and to protect public health and safety. These regulations shall address, at a minimum:
(1) Water quality criteria;
(2) Monitoring and reporting content and frequencies; and
(3) Operation and maintenance requirements.
(c) The Director shall review applications for Alternative Water Sources systems and may issue or deny such applications, in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.
(d) The Department of Building Inspection shall review plans and issue or deny plumbing permits for the construction, installation, or modification of Alternate Water Source systems, in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.
(a) Prior to initiating installation of any Alternate Water Source project, Project Applicants shall submit to the Director an application for permits to operate Alternate Water Source systems. Such applications shall comply with the requirements of this Article 12C and any regulations the Director has issued. Project Applicants shall pay a non-refundable permit application fee to cover the costs of investigation and processing the application and issuing the permit. Each project application submitted to the Director shall include a Non-potable Water Engineering Report that provides project information the Director determines to be necessary for complete review of the proposed project. City departments may not approve or issue permits for any site installing an Alternate Water Source system unless and until the Director has approved the Non-potable Water Engineering Report.
The Non-potable Water Engineering Report for District systems must include information on the permanent legal agreements between property owners, and provide documentation that each party is a willing and responsible participant in the District Non-potable Water use.
(b) System Design. All buildings using Non-potable Water from Alternate Water Source systems shall include:
(1) A flow meter on the non-potable distribution system to account for Non-potable Water use;
(2) A reduced pressure backflow assembly (RP) within 25 feet of the downstream side of the point of connection or meter to protect the City's public water and/or recycled water system;
(3) Signage that state law and the Department of Public Health's rules and regulations require;
(4) Cross connection control in accordance with California Code of Regulations Titles 17 and 22 and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission's Cross Connection Control Program;
(5) Any other requirements the Director determines are necessary to protect public health.
(c) Plumbing Permit. A Project Applicant shall obtain from the Department of Building Inspection an appropriate plumbing permit and any other building or installation permit required to construct, install, alter, an Alternate Water Source system. Each parcel within a District shall obtain appropriate plumbing and any other building or installation permits required.
(d) Encroachment Permit. A Project Applicant shall obtain from the Department of Public Works appropriate authorization for placement of any pipelines or other portions of an Alternate Water Source system within the public right-of-way.
(e) Construction Certification Letter. Project Applicants shall certify to the Director that Alternate Water Source system construction is complete and consistent with the approved Non-potable Water Engineering Report in accordance with the provisions of this Article 12C and any implementing rules and regulations. City departments may not approve or issue a First Certificate of Occupancy or approval for any Alternate Water Source system until the Director has reviewed and verified the Construction Certification Letter.
(a) The non-refundable application fees for alternative source water system permits are:
NSF 350 systems
Transfer of any permit
District Scale, the applicable amount above, plus
$191.00 per hour for plan review and/or on site inspection.
(b) The fees set forth in this Section 12C.7 may be adjusted each year, without further action by the Board of Supervisors.
Not later than April 1, the Director shall report to the Controller the revenues generated by the fees for the prior fiscal year and the prior fiscal year's costs of operation, as well as any other information that the Controller determines appropriate to the performance of the duties set forth in this Section.
Not later than May 15, the Controller shall determine whether the current fees produce, or are projected to produce, revenues sufficient to support the costs of providing the services for which the fees are assessed and that the fees will not produce revenue that significantly exceed more than the costs of providing the services for which the fees are assessed.
The Controller shall if necessary, adjust the fees upward or downward for the upcoming fiscal year as appropriate to ensure that the program recovers the costs of operation without producing revenue which is significantly more than such costs. The adjusted rates shall become operative on July 1.
(c) Every permit holder shall also pay an annual license fee as provided in the Business and Tax Regulations Code Section 249.24.
When the Director determines the applicant has satisfied all the requirements of this Article 12C, the Director may issue an operations permit for an Alternative Water Source system. Permittees shall timely submit all water quality monitoring information required by the provisions of this Article and the Department of Public Health's rules and regulations. Permittees shall conduct ongoing backflow prevention and cross connection testing in accordance with this Article, the rules and regulations of the Department of Public Health, and all applicable local, state, and federal laws.
When required by the General Manager, the Permittee or property owner, shall conduct a Non-potable Water use audit describing the extent of Non-potable Water use in accordance with requirements provided by the General Manager.
Permittees shall notify the Director of any intent to sell or transfer the building or facility containing an Alternate Water Source system within 30 days following the sale or transfer of property, in accordance with regulations adopted by the Director.
The Director may inspect any Alternate Water Source system subject to the requirements of this Article 12C to determine compliance with the provisions of this Article and applicable regulations.
The Director may impose administrative penalties on any Permittee, or person otherwise subject to the requirements of this Article 12C, who violates any provision of this Article or any applicable rule or regulation shall be subject to enforcement in accordance with Chapter 100 of the San Francisco Administrative Code with respect to administrative penalties, and may pursue any other available legal remedies for such violations.
The Director may order a Permittee to cease operation of an Alternate Water Source system, or may revoke or suspend the permit to operate if the Director determines that:
(a) The manager, operator or any employee has violated any provision of this Article 12C or any regulation issued pursuant to this Article;
(b) The Alternate Water Source system is being operated or maintained in a manner threatening the public health or health of patrons and/or residents; or
(c) The owner or operator has refused to allow any duly authorized City official to inspect the premises or the operations of the Alternate Water Source system.