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Wastewater Treatment Plant Tours

Oceanside Treatment Plant Tour Group PhotoHave you ever wondered what happens to the dirty water from your shower, laundry and toilet after it goes down the drain? What about the runoff from lawns and gardens, and rainwater and car washing?

Find out by taking a free tour of one of San Francisco's Wastewater Treatment Plants. You'll learn about the history of wastewater treatment in San Francisco and plans to upgrade our aging sewer system, tips on preventing pollution of our Bay and Ocean, and best of all, you'll go behind the scenes to see (and smell!) how this vital infrastructure works.

Tours Fill Up Fast. Sign Up Now!

Tours take place at our Oceanside Wastewater Treatment Plant and Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant on Saturdays at 10 AM. Sign up here for the next tour!

Tour Specifics

  • Tours take approximately two hours to complete.
  • Attendees over 18 years of age must present a valid photo ID on the day of the tour.
  • Tours involve quite a bit of walking, stair climbing, and going underground in tight hallways; we can modify the route to accommodate wheelchairs, canes and walkers. We have no facilities for, and cannot accommodate, young children, infants, or strollers.
  • Treatment plants are functioning industrial sites that operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Hard hats are provided and must be worn at all times.

Dress Code

Sturdy closed shoes and socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts are required for your safety and comfort. NO flip-flops, sandals, clogs, open toed shoes, shorts, skirts, or tank tops.

Those not wearing the appropriate attire may be turned away from taking the tour.

Tours for Professional Groups

We also offer appointment-only tours of the Southeast Treatment Plant for professional groups and industry-specific visitors on a case-by-case basis. We do not offer professional tours of Oceanside Treatment Plant. To sign up, please submit a Tour Request Form three months to two weeks in advance (i.e. if you request a tour for April, please send us the tour request form no earlier than January.) 

Tours for School Groups

We offer free tours for San Francisco public and private school students in 6th grade and up and at least 11 years of age. School tours are offered on Wednesdays and Fridays at 10:00am or 1:00p.m at our Southeast Treatment Plant from April through October. Check out this cool video about our school tours to learn more.

For grades 6 and 7, we require chaperones at a 1:6 ratio. For grades 8 and up, we require chaperones at a 1:8 ratio. To sign up, please submit a School Tour Request Form three months to two weeks in advance (i.e. if you request a tour for April, please send us the tour request form no earlier than January.)

Image of Factsheet for Treatment Plants
Treatment Plants Factsheet
Oceanside Treatment Plant schematic
Oceanside Treatment Plant Schematic


tour group at the Oceanside Plant

Oceanside Treatment Plant

  • Located in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset District at 3500 Great Highway, 94132
  • digesters at the Southeast Plant

    Southeast Treatment Plant

  • Located in San Francisco’s Bayview District, 750 Phelps Street, 94124

  • Please be advised that due to security issues we reserve the right to refuse anyone from taking part in a tour and to cancel tours in the event of a Plant or City emergency.

    Contact Info:

    Phone: (415) 554-3289

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    Last updated: 12/8/2017 12:13:46 PM