Regional Water Board Approves Weak Pollution and Trash Rules for Urban Stormwater

May 11, 2022

Baykeeper to Ask State to Intervene

Today, the SF Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board approved its Municipal Regional Stormwater Permit, which is supposed to reduce the trash, metals, and bacteria that Bay Area cities discharge into the Bay from city streets every time it rains. Unfortunately, the agency's plan is deeply flawed and is not going to solve the Bay’s serious stormwater pollution problems.  


SF Baykeeper Executive Director Sejal Choksi-Chugh issued the following statement:


"The Water Board’s new permit doesn’t require cities to monitor the contaminated stormwater that they discharge directly into local creeks and the Bay, which effectively serves as a free pass to pollute. By adopting this flawed permit, the Board has decided that it doesn't matter where the pollution is coming from or who the most problematic polluters are. The Board is forcing our communities to live around a polluted Bay when instead they could have taken meaningful action to improve water quality.


"The Water Board's zero trash goal is meaningless. According to the permit’s terms, 'zero trash' means no trash in excess of the levels set before 2014, which is obviously not 'zero.' The permit allows so many credits and exemptions that most cities around the Bay will be able to say they're already meeting the Board's zero trash target—but we can all clearly see that the Bay’s shorelines and waters are trashier than ever. 


"Now that the Regional Water Board has adopted this embarrassingly inadequate permit, Baykeeper will ask Governor Newsom's State Water Board to intervene. Our Bay needs real pollution protections, not partial measures and word games. Our Bay Area stormwater regulations should be at least as comprehensive as the standards set for Los Angeles and Southern California’s coastal urban areas."


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