Stopping Compost Pollution in Suisun Marsh

Jun 28, 2019

More than 1,600 industrial facilities operate in the San Francisco Bay watershed. Many handle toxic materials like heavy metals and industrial chemicals. If they don’t take steps to contain waste and runoff, these facilities release harmful pollution into the Bay. 

Baykeeper keeps a close eye on them. Every spring, our scientists review the latest water quality data from hundreds of industrial facilities across the Bay Area. We rank polluting facilities and then investigate the ones that are causing the biggest harm to the Bay’s health. 

When Baykeeper attorneys compared this year’s worst ranked polluters to the legal standards, we determined that Vision Recycling was one of the facilities that was significantly—and illegally—polluting the Bay.

Vision Recycling stores compost at its facility. High levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, iron, and other contaminants were running off its Benicia facility into Suisun Marsh.

The marsh provides important habitat for many native fish, birds, and plants in the northern part of San Francisco Bay. Excessive phosphorus and nitrogen can deplete oxygen from water, suffocating aquatic animals and spurring the growth of toxic algae blooms that hurt wildlife and further diminish water quality.

Baykeeper filed a lawsuit under the Clean Water Act. After a site visit and many months of technical discussions, Vision Recycling agreed to adopt our recommendation to contain all of the facility's runoff, so no pollutants enter Suisun Marsh.

To help compensate for the pollution that the facility had already released into the Bay, Vision Recycling will also give $15,000 in mitigation funds to the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment. The Foundation will direct the funds to other nonprofits’ environmental restoration and protection projects benefiting the Bay-Delta estuary. 

And in coming years, Baykeeper will continue to monitor Vision Recycling’s operations to make sure their new pollution controls are working effectively to protect Suisun Marsh and the Bay.














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