San Lorenzo, Calif. — Friends of the San Francisco Estuary honored Oro Loma Sanitary District for its work with the innovative experimental horizontal levee project. The award for Outstanding Environmental Project was presented at the 13th biennial State of the San Francisco Estuary Conference held earlier this month.

Construction of the Horizontal Levee project ( started in 2015 and was completed in April 2017.  It is a full-scale pilot of the leading alternative to sea rise response. It is located on the southern edge of the existing water pollution control facility jointly owned by Oro Loma and Castro Valley Sanitary Districts. Instead of a vertical wall to provide a sea barrier, a horizontal levee uses vegetation on a gentle slope to absorb wave and storm surges. The native plants and wildlife that live on horizontal levees can thrive while helping to further polish cleaned wastewater from treatment plants.

Oro Loma’s Horizontal Levee project was also recognized earlier this year by the California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA) for Outstanding Capital Project of 2017.

“We are pleased to be recognized for the Horizontal Levee project,” said Oro Loma General Manager Jason Warner. “This was a huge undertaking by staff, the project team, and volunteers, and we hope that our levee is a prototype for future large-scale projects that will help guard our shores against rising seas. Protecting the environment is one of our core values and this project will help advance the science of sea rise.”