BAE Systems San Francisco Ship Repair, Inc., a ship yard servicing large vessels that include cruise liners and oil tankers, has agreed to curb its pollution of San Francisco Bay. Baykeeper filed suit against BAE after documenting polluted runoff that far exceeded legal limits for toxic heavy metals. BAE will now make significant improvements to its operations and on-site controls to reduce pollution to the Bay.
Baykeeper documented toxic rainy-season runoff from BAE over the last five years. We obtained 113 samples of runoff that exceeded legal limits for copper, nickel, lead, zinc and other toxic substances. Many exceeded legal limits by hundreds of times.
Baykeeper staff on boat patrol also took water samples that were nearly 20,000 times the legal pollution standard, and witnessed giant red clouds drifting from BAE onto Bay waters.
BAE’s 12-acre facility at the foot of 20th Street in southeast San Francisco offers the largest floating dry dock on the U.S. West Coast. The facility provides a variety of services, including abrasive blasting, hydroblasting and pressure washing of boat surfaces.
The ship yard’s pollution controls will include using vertical and horizontal shrouding to keep dust and particles from escaping the dry dock. BAE will also close nearly 100 unnecessary storm drains that discharge directly to the Bay. Remaining storm drains will be fit with filtration systems designed to capture contaminants before storm water discharges from the site.
To ensure that these upgrades work, BAE will increase its storm water monitoring for industrial contaminants and submit the results to Baykeeper for evaluation.
The new pollution controls should not be too difficult or overly expensive for BAE to implement. BAE has quickly and effectively worked with Baykeeper to begin correcting the failing pollution controls on site, leading to a successful legal agreement to end BAE’s Bay pollution.
Photo by Dave R (Flickr/CC)