Bursting at the Seams: Expanded “Purple Pipe” Requirements

Existing on-site water recycling requirements for toilets, urinals and landscaping have applied to buildings of 250,000 gross square feet or larger in the Reclaimed Water Use Map (the “Map”) area since November 2015. The Map generally covers properties along large portions of the east-side and west-side of the City. The on-site water recycling requirements now apply Citywide due to the expiration of the November 2016 grandfathering deadline for projects outside the Map area. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed legislation yesterday that will expand the scope of existing requirements by applying them on a project-wide basis to any development of 250,000 gross square feet or larger, even if the development is located on separate parcels.

Limited exceptions were included in the new legislation for: (a) Hope SF projects, (b) projects with small domestic water meters, and (c) projects (or phases thereof) subject to a development agreement (or similar contractual agreement) with certain approvals in place before November 2015 (in the Map area) or November 2017 (outside the Map area). For other projects, some flexibility has been built in – the General Manager of the Public Utilities Commission will now have the authority to approve alternative district systems and water purchase agreements.

This is a very general summary. Please see the new legislation, which is expected to be effective next month, for detailed information.  See also the separate reclaimed water use requirements under Article 22 of the San Francisco Public Works Code, which apply to a broader range of projects in the Map area.