Baykeeper Stops Bay Contamination from 26 Industrial Facilities

Oct 16, 2017

This coming rainy season, there will be less pollution in San Francisco Bay. Thanks to Baykeeper’s Bay-Safe Industry Campaign, 26 industrial facilities that used to contaminate San Francisco Bay in wet weather have now cleaned up their toxic runoff.

Baykeeper’s science and legal team initially investigated pollution runoff from more than 1,000 industrial facilities around the Bay Area. Then we identified the worst polluters and required cleanup under the federal Clean Water Act. For the last few years, these 26 sites have all taken action and significantly reduced their pollution, and most have successfully decreased the levels of toxins in their runoff to below the legal limits. 

The facilities that have cleaned up (shown in green in the map below) are located in cities all around the Bay—including San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Hayward, Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, and Benicia. Each company signed a legally-binding agreement with Baykeeper requiring them to improve their operations to protect the Bay from pollution.

Rain that falls on outdoor areas of industrial facilities can pick up pollutants that include dangerous levels of heavy metals, oil and grease, and other toxic substances. When this contamination washes into storm drains or creeks that flow to the Bay, it can harm wildlife and people who spend time on or near the water.

Some industrial facilities have even gone above and beyond what Baykeeper required them to do to stop their pollution. Two facilities, GreenWaste Recovery, a San Jose recycling facility, and McHugh Auto Wrecking, a Concord auto dismantler, have prevented all storm water from running off their sites, which completely eliminates industrial runoff pollution.

Five years ago, Baykeeper’s legal and science team identified ongoing toxic industrial runoff as a critical threat to the health of San Francisco Bay, and an area where local regulators weren’t doing enough to clean up the problem. We launched our Bay-Safe Industry Campaign as a targeted initiative to reduce this prevalent source of pollution.

And Baykeeper is not done yet. We are continuing to investigate other industrial sites, and another 13 Bay Area industrial facilities are in the process of implementing new pollution controls. At some, initial controls weren’t effective enough—so we keep working with them to achieve required improvements. Baykeeper will continue our investigation and oversight to stop industrial contamination of the Bay.

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